dineL.A. returns from July 12 – 26, featuring over 400 high-value, prix fixe options for lunch and dinner. Read my recommendations for 10 lunches and 15 dinners, not including Hall of Fame choices like Craft, Fogo de Chao and Lawry’s The Prime Rib, which still warrant consideration. You’ve only got 30 possible meals. Make your calendar count.
Numbers on the map correspond to listings below and appear in alphabetical order instead of order of preference.
1. a.o.c. ($59)
Chef Suzanne Goin and Caroline Styne feature four choices (and courses) for dineL.A. dinner. Their signature focaccia hosts blistered tomato, mozzarella, oil-cured olives and Meyer lemon. Next, consider Spanish fried chicken with romesco aioli and chile-cumin butter. From “fish, meat and more,” consider summery market fish with radishes, avocado, tomatillo and mojo verde. Indulge in a choice of desserts. I suggest butterscotch pot de crème with fleur de sel and a salted cashew cookie. They also offer a dineL.A. cocktail for $10, the Green Goddess with green tea-infused vodka, cucumber, arugula, jalapeño, with an absinthe tincture rinse.
Must Order Dishes (aka what I’d order): Focaccia • Spanish Fried Chicken • Market Fish • Butterscotch Pot de Crème
2. Alimento ($49)
Chef Zach Pollack goes straight savory for three courses of dineL.A. dinner. He dips into the new brunch menu for crispy polenta tartines, batons topped with whipped baccala and salmon eggs. Keep the seafood flowing with yellowtail collar “affumicato” comes with buttermilk potato salad. Finish with grilled market fish with clams, spigarello, and fregola arrabbiata. Other tempting dishes incorporate atypical Japanese touches.
Must Order Dishes (aka what I’d order): Crispy Polenta Tartines • Yellowtail Collar “Affumicato” • Grilled Market Fish
3. The Bellwether ($39)
Ted Hopson and partner Ann-Marie Verdi routinely offer one of the best dineL.A. dinner deals, letting customers choose any three items from a focused pool. The Bellwether recently started making house-made pasta, so of course I recommend both plates. Spaghetti alla chitarra comes tossed with garlic, anchovy, extra virgin olive oil and Calabrian breadcrumbs. Mezzi rigatoni co-stars crushed meatballs, burrata cheese, and marinara. You might as well toss in a patty melt with Taleggio cheese, caramelized onions, caraway and Calabrian aioli since it’s one of L.A.’s best versions.
Must Order Dishes (aka what I’d order): Spaghetti alla Chitarra • Mezzi Rigatoni • Patty Melt
4. Best Girl ($29)
Chef Michael Cimarusti, who also runs Connie & Ted’s and Providence with front of house partner Donato Poto, is the reigning James Beard Award winner for Best Chef: West. At Best Girl in the Ace Hotel in DTLA, he’s put together a great summer menu that only costs $29 for three courses. A tantalizing tuna starter comes with cranberry beans and salsa verde. Grilled half Jidori chicken co-stars purslane, charred jalapeño and “creamers.” For dessert, accomplished pastry chef (and Cimarusti’s wife) Crisi Echiverri created two choices. I recommend going with strawberry crumble cake.
Must Order Dishes (aka what I’d order): Tuna and Beans • Grilled Half Jidori Chicken • Strawberry Crumble Cake
5. Blackship ($49)
Blackship, one of Culinary Lab’s most recent restaurants, is a Japanese-Italian mash-up in West Hollywood. For dineL.A., chef Keiichi Kurobe’s $49 menu involves three choices. Start with hamachi two ways: as crudo with daikon and coriander, and in Bolognese with soba casarecce and Parmesan. Finish with catella, stone fruit, and whippe mascarpone.
Must Order Dishes (aka what I’d order): Hamachi Crudo • Hamachi Bolognese • Castella
6. Bone Kettle ($39)
Chef Erwin Tjahyadi and brother Eric showcase the flavors of their native Indonesia at Bone Kettle in Old Pasadena. For dineL.A. dinner, beef makes the most sense. Start with steak carpaccio dressed with nam pla, garlic aioli, fried shallots, sweet soy sauce, and Thai basil. Take a temporary break from beef with chicken thigh satay co-starring peanut sauce, kecap manis, pomegranate, pickled onion, and cucumber. Since dineL.A. is an opportunity to take chances, try rending carbonara featuring 24-hour braised beef short ribs, fried shallots, scallions, cilantro, Parmesan cheese, and Fresno chiles. Finish with black sesame panna cotta for more Asian flair.
Must Order Dishes (aka what I’d order): Steak Carpaccio • Satay • Rendang Carbonara • Black Sesame Panna Cotta
7. Coin & Candor ($39)
Coin & Candor is the new seasonal restaurant featuring wood-fired cooking at the Four Seasons Hotel Westlake Village. $39 for three courses in such a luxurious setting sure seems like a good value. Especially since options include heirloom tomato with grilled summer peaches, house-made ricotta, and Thorne Family Farms arugula. Snake River Farms Wagyu skirt steak is the menu’s star, served with grilled endive, summer stone fruit, and herb chimichurri. Finish with a pavlova involving Thorne Farms blueberries, lemon verbena ice cream, and pink Champagne sorbet.
Must Order Dishes (aka what I’d order): Heirloom Tomato • Snake River Farms Wagyu Skirt Steak • Pavolva
8. Here’s Looking At You ($49)
Talented chef Jonathan Whitener and front of house partner Lien Ta put together a compelling three-course dinner for dineL.A. Start bold with beef tartare toast that incorporates red chile, scallion, tamari, turnip, and Kewpie mayo. Ocean trout comes with orange sabayon, carrot, scapes, and espelette pepper. Since their signature Le Craque cookie apparently wasn’t addictive enough, opt for Le Craque cookie 2.0 with chocolate, walnuts, and sesame.
Must Order Dishes (aka what I’d order): Beef Tartare Toast • Ocean Trout • Le Craque Cookie 2.0
9. Jeong Yuk Jeom ($49)
One of Koreatown’s most ambitious new restaurants is going big for dineL.A., especially when guests go with beef. I’d suggest their modern take on yukhwe, Korean-style beef tartare tossed with pear, mango, and green onion. From there, turn to the tabletop grill for Korean BBQ. Short rib is available two ways, but it would be hard to pass up kott sal, Prime boneless beef short rib that’s wet aged for at least 55 days. Dessert brings a single plate: hobac jook, sweet pumpkin porridge “dazzled” with sea salt cream and basil.
Must Order Dishes (aka what I’d order): Yukhwe • Kott Sal • Hobac Jook
10. Không Tên ($39)
Không Tên chef/co-owner Kim Vu combines Vietnamese culinary traditions with seasonal farmers market ingredients in West LA. For dineL.A., I suggest starting with her daily crudo preparation that relies on wild-caught fish and farmers market garnishes. Turmeric dill black cod riffs on a Hanoi classic with JF Farm dill and scallion and pineapple anchovy sauce. Finish with lemongrass ginger panna cotta dressed with shortbread crumble and Garcia Farm citrus.
Must Order Dishes (aka what I’d order): Chef’s Daily Crudo • Turmeric Dill Black Cod • Lemongrass Ginger Panna Cotta
11. Madre Oaxacan Restaurant and Mezcaleria ($29)
At the Torrance outpost of Madre Oaxacan Restaurant and Mezcaleria, Ivan Vasquez features dishes from his home state in Mexico. During a three-course dineL.A. dinner, Madre provides an especially good opportunity to taste the variety. I recommend starting with chicken taquitos blanketed with mole Coloradito, queso, onion, and parsley. For your entrée, goat barbacoa is a regional rarity flavored with spices, dried chiles and avocado leaves. Finish with plantain molotes featuring slow-cooked fruit and passion fruit sauce.
Must Order Dishes (aka what I’d order): Taquitos with Coloradito Mole • Goat Barbacoa • Plantain Molotes
12. Manpuku ($59)
Manpuku specializes in yakiniku, Japanese-style of tabletop grilling, and their Mid-City outpost is going big on beef, serving omakase cow preparations for dineL.A. dinner. Everybody gets the same four courses to start. An appetizer platter hosts short rib sushi, ikura maki, shabu hand roll, shrimp tartar and seared mackerel. Kobe beef sukiyaki wrap contains chuck flap meat, egg, and rice. Continue with omakase beef plate with hanger steak, rib-eye, outside skirt, chuck flap, and short rib that all grills before your eyes. Iskiyaki garlic rice with pickles, shiso leaf, rice, and garlic chips complements the meat. Dessert is the only choice. I recommend black sesame blanc mange over green tea mousse, but as always, the decision comes down to personal preference.
Must Order Dishes (aka what I’d order): Manpuku Appetizer • Kobe Beef Sukiyaki Wrap • Omakase Beef Plate • Ishiyaki Garlic Rice • Black Sesame Blanc Mange
13. Noree Thai on Beverly ($29)
Fern Kaewtathip and Noree Pla provide plenty of flavorful Thai options for dineL.A. dinner. This time, try popcorn shrimp with Noree mayo sauce. The partners are particularly adept with seafood, so keep the ocean in sight with grilled salmon plated with cucumber, carrot, green bean, lettuce, and white rice. Finish with mango sticky rice, a seasonal staple.
Must Order Dishes (aka what I’d order): Popcorn Shrimp • Grilled Salmon • Mango Sticky Rice
14. Petit Trois Le Valley ($39)
Petit Trois is going big for dineL.A. in Sherman Oaks. Steak frites typically costs $39 on its own, but Ludo Lefebvre, wife Krissy and business partners Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo pile on the value for this set dinner. Endive salad with walnut, avocado, anchovy and Ubriaco cheese starts each meal, followed by the aforementioned steak frites au poivre, and Tahitian vanilla bean crème brulee for dessert.
Must Order Dishes (aka what I’d order): Endive Salad • Hanger Steak au Poivre • Crème Brulee
15. Rossoblu ($49)
Steve Samson and wife Dina make the most of their wood-fired hearth for their dineL.A. dinner in DTLA. Swordfish spiedini (skewer) comes plated on smoked eggplant caponata with herbed breadcrumbs. Over the years, chef Samson has proven he knows pork. Order Rossoblu’s fennel-crusted pork chop with orange, fennel, and Castelvetrano olives. Finish with hazelnut budino.
Must Order Dishes (aka what I’d order): Grilled Swordfish Spiedini • Fennel Crusted Pork Chop • Hazelnut Budino