dineL.A. celebrates their 10th anniversary from January 12 – 26, 2018, featuring over 375 options for lunch and dinner. American Express is sponsoring an Exclusive Series of restaurants starring deluxe menus that start at $95. You’ve only got 30 meals to work with. Discover my recommendations for 10 lunches and all 15 dinners, not including Hall of Fame choices like Craft, Fogo de Chao and Lawry’s The Prime Rib, which still warrant consideration. Make your calendar count.
Numbers on the map correspond to listings below and appear in alphabetical order instead of order of preference.
1. Chao Krung Thai ($15)
Chao Krung is so old school that the owners still call their food “Siamese.” Thailand hasn’t been called Siam since 1949. This restaurant isn’t quite that old – 1978 – and has a strong legacy, but it took a trusted friend’s recent recommendation to put them on my radar. dineL.A. sure seems like a good time to visit.
Must Order Dishes (aka what I’d order): Isaan Sausage (“Sister A’s Homemade Thai Sour Sausage”) • Khao Mok-Kai (“Thai Chicken Biryani”) • Sticky Rice w/Coconut Custard
2. Baldoria ($15)
David King, a Mozza alumni, hosts an “over the top party” (baldoria) at the base of a mixed-use development in Little Tokyo. He and executive chef Duke Gervais have constructed an enticing Italian lunch menu for dineL.A.
Must Order Dishes (aka what I’d order): House Caesar Side Salad • Choice of One Signature Pizza • Fresh Ricotta Cheesecake
3. Chang’an ($20)
Minda Zhang and her husband Nick both hail from Beijing, traveled the globe, and settled in L.A. In 2016, they opened Chang’an, a modern Chinese restaurant and bar with brick, grey, and wood color scheme on the third floor of San Gabriel's Hilton Plaza.
Must Order Dishes (aka what I’d order): Shou-si Chicken • Pork Ribs • Xian-Ji-Tang
4. Cosa Buona ($20)
Zach Pollack follows up Alimento’s success with a neighborhood Italian-American restaurant in Echo Park featuring a wood-burning oven, pizzas better than any local spot needs to serve, and some fun plays on other classics.
Must Order Dishes (aka what I’d order): Marinated Olives • Pasta Salad • Sausage Pizza
5. Fishing With Dynamite ($25)
Chef David LeFevre and the Simms family, who own M.B. Post and The Arthur J in Manhattan Beach, also run this airy seafood spot. LeFevre divides his menu into Old School, New School, and After School. Indulge in all three categories for dineL.A.
Must Order Dishes (aka what I’d order): Rockfish and Shrimp Ceviche • Maryland Blue Crab Cake • Pretzel & Chocolate Bread Pudding
6. HiHo Cheeseburger ($15)
Sugarfish co-founder Jerry Greenberg teamed with Lowell Sharon, Matt Levin, and Ajay Sahgal on HiHo Cheeseburger, a more urban version of a retro burger concept that started in Ojai. The Santa Monica menu specializes in simple double cheeseburger with grass-fed Wagyu beef, great French fries, shakes, and pie.
Must Order Dishes (aka what I’d order): HiHo Double Cheeseburger with Hand Cut Fries • Organic Iceberg Side Salad • Slice of House-Made Pie
7. Officine BRERA ($25)
Chef Angelo Auriana and front of house partner Matteo Ferdinandi already served some of L.A.'s best Italian food at The Factory Kitchen in downtown’s Arts District. The duo further enhances their reputation with nearby Officine BRERA, named for a neighborhood in Milan.
Must Order Dishes (aka what I’d order): Crochette di Pollo • Cinghiale • Arancia Rossa
8. Redbird ($25)
Chef Neal Fraser and Amy Knoll Fraser have created a grand dining experience in the former Vibiana Cathedral rectory. The structure dates to 1933, but the food is modern and seasonal. Redbird’s not serving dineL.A. lunch, but are offering a killer weekend brunch menu on Saturdays and Sundays throughout the event.
Must Order Dishes (aka what I’d order): Salmon Pastrami • Bacon Wrapped Trout
9. Spice Affair ($20)
Dr. Puneet Chandak and wife Sonia Batra created L.A.'s fanciest Indian restaurant by opening Spice Affair on La Cienega's Restaurant Row in 2014. Despite flashy design flourishes, the food is pretty classic, often incorporating higher end ingredients and refined presentation.
Must Order Dishes (aka what I’d order): Scrumptious Mr. Chicken Tikka • Seekh: King of Kebabs • Ras Malai
10. Suburbia ($15)
Blackhouse Hospitality partners Jed Sanford and chef Tin Vuong combine aspects of their other South Bay concepts with unique flourishes at Suburbia in Redondo Beach. They’ve got creations for pretty much every palate. Their Asian dishes intrigue me most for dineL.A.
Must Order Dishes (aka what I’d order): Dumplings • Malaysian Cashew Curry Prawns