Numbered establishments on the map correspond to information below for easy reference. Establishments also appear in alphabetical order instead of in order of preference.
1. Alimento ($30)
SUMMARY: Zach Pollack co-founded Sotto with Steve Samson, and he’s now spending most of his time in Silver Lake, where he’s turned his attention to northern Italy. House-made pastas, large format fish and meat dishes, and imaginative thinking are all hallmarks of this glass-fronted restaurant near the Reservoir.
STANDOUT DISHES (aka, what I’d order): Scallop Crudo • Baccala • Fusilli
2. BADMAASH ($30)
SUMMARY: It’s a family affair in downtown L.A., where Pawan Mahendro and sons Nakul and Arjun present traditional Indian cooking in a modern two-story setting. They consistently deliver some of the boldest Indian flavors of any L.A. restaurant. Be sure to order a cup of textbook chai as a bonus.
STANDOUT DISHES (aka, what I’d order): Double Fried Chicken Pakora • Tellicherry Tiger Shrimp Curry • Parle-G Ice Cream Sammiches
3. Bashan Restaurant ($40)
SUMMARY: Nadav Bashan and wife Romy have built their eponymous restaurant into NELA’s best. The charming dining room and refined Mediterranean food would stand out anywhere, but particularly in Sparr Heights, a sleepy community in north Glendale that borders Montrose.
STANDOUT DISHES (aka, what I’d order): Pork Belly “Adobo” • Roasted Duck Breast • Buttermilk Panna Cotta
4. The Church Key ($40)
SUMMARY: Steven Fretz and front of house partner Joseph Sabato have delivered a playful dining experience to the Sunset Strip, with servers pushing dim sum style carts around the dining room, dispensing international eclectic cuisine. “Mad Men” era Pan Am stewardesses dispensing liquid nitro cocktails tableside. Devin Espinosa is one of West Hollywood’s best bartenders, so drink up.
STANDOUT DISHES (aka, what I’d order): Rigatoni Pasta • Tapioca Crusted Tai Snapper • Brioche Donuts
5. Cliff’s Edge ($50)
SUMMARY: This Silver Lake restaurant now offers more than just a killer patio thanks to Chef Vartan Abgaryan’s cooking. He has a designer’s eye for food, as evidenced by his intricate plating at Cliff’s Edge. For dineLA’s Restaurant Week, Abgaryan’s serving a special potato tartine showered with shaved truffles.
STANDOUT DISHES (aka, what I’d order): Potato Tartine • Ocean Trout • Carrot Cake
6. East Borough ($30)
SUMMARY: Chef Chloe Tran and John Vu Cao have come into their own after a year in Culver City. Their modern Vietnamese concept combines authentic culinary touches with a modern, fun setting. At a recent dinner, I was a big fan of Tran’s sweet and sour soup, which incorporates shrimp, tamarind and pineapple. Grilled hanger steak is also a winner, dressed with umami-rich crab paste butter, and milk toast, coated with granulated sugar and Saigon cinnamon, is basically a really good bread pudding.
STANDOUT DISHES (aka, what I’d order): Sweet & Sour Soup • Grilled Hanger Steak • Milk Toast
7. The Fat Dog ($30)
SUMMARY: Chef John Gladish continues to refine his seasonal gastropub offerings on Fairfax, and he didn’t just stick with tried and true dishes for Restaurant Week, adding an exclusive cassoulet. Bonus: The Fat Dog is also one of the only establishments participating in dineLA’s Restaurant Week that focused on craft beer.
STANDOUT DISHES (aka, what I’d order): Crisp Fried Cauliflower • Butter Lettuce Salad • Bavette Steak • Pear & Cardamom Cobbler
8. Fundamental LA ($40)
SUMMARY: Fundamental LA alwaays had serious ambitions, and they were always realized at lunch. In 2014, Woogene Lee and Jeff Faust recruited chef Philip Pretty, and dinner has become even more advanced, and satisfying, since he arrived. Unsung animals and cuts are now common sights in Westwood.
STANDOUT DISHES (aka, what I’d order): Bread & Butter • Blue Crab • Goat Leg Confit Pasta • Spiced Monkfish Tail • Persimmon Beignet
9. Gusto ($40)
SUMMARY: This intimate Mid-City Italian restaurant from chef Vic Casanova and wife Jessa features exposed wood rafters and red and white walls lined with mirrors. Casanova and a Puglian chef make all the pastas in-house, but don’t sleep on the meat and seafood dishes, which feature impeccably sourced ingredients and a layers of flavor.
STANDOUT DISHES (aka, what I’d order): Polpette • Filetto di Maiale • Chocolate Budino
10. KazuNori ($30)
SUMMARY: This hand roll concept, from SUGARFISH’s founders, including chef Kazunori Nozawa, have captured the imagination of downtown denizens, who sit at a fashionable U-shaped bar in front of a FISH MARKET sign. These rolls normally cost $17 for a lunchtime bundle, but they pile on a pair of sashimis at dinner, making a nighttime foray worthwhile.
STANDOUT DISHES (aka, what I’d order): 1 Daily Hand Roll • 1 Salmon Hand Roll • 1 Scallop Hand Roll • 1 Cucumber Hand Roll• 1 Crab Hand Roll • 2 Sashimi of the Day
11. La Vecchia Cucina ($40)
SUMMARY: Mark Mollica always delivers a strong value during Restaurant Week, possibly at the expense of his food costs. Santa Monica is typically sunny, but the chef’s been known to make it rain black truffles on his pasta dishes. This time, he’s tossing Santa Barbara sea urchin, truffle butter, and bottarga, on one dish. The rest of the prix fixe menu isn’t as glitzy, but there are still tempting choices.
STANDOUT DISHES (aka, what I’d order): Insalata di Burrata • Spaghetti ai Ricci di Mare e Bottarga • Tiramisu
12. Night + Market WeHo ($40)
SUMMARY: Kris Yenbamroong has built a loyal following and expanded to Silver Lake by combining traditional northern Thai cooking with his unique personal style. This Sunset Strip original has plenty of dishes that aren’t available in Silver Lake, and a fun communal vibe. Chef Yenbamroong typically introduces exciting new dishes for Restaurant Week.
STANDOUT DISHES (aka, what I’d order): Nam Kao Tod • Pla Muek Tod Gratiem • Gaeng Jin Noong
13. The Royce | Wood-Fired Steakhouse ($50)
SUMMARY: Perry Pollaci commands the kitchen at this progressive steakhouse inside The Langham, Pasadena, a stately old guard hotel. Since this is a steakhouse, beef is clearly a great direction to take. You’ll probably want to supplement with sides, which are the best I’ve found at any L.A. steakhouse.
STANDOUT DISHES (aka, what I’d order): Steak Tartare • Marinated Skirt Steak • Apple Tart
14. Scratch Bar ($50)
SUMMARY: Phillip Frankland Lee won me over at The Gadarene Swine, a primarily vegan restaurant that is also participating in Restaurant Week. At Scratch Bar, which is still going strong on La Cienega’s Restaurant Row, he has every member of the plant and animal kingdom at his disposal, which bodes well.
STANDOUT DISHES (aka, what I’d order): Green Mussel and Sea Urchin Sake Shooter • Pork Belly & Raw Oyster • Roasted Yet Raw Prawns • Blackened Cauliflower • Whole Roasted Branzino • Dark Chocolate & Cayenne Candy Bar
15. Sotto ($40)
SUMMARY: Steve Samson is holding down the kitchen at the southern Italian restaurant he co-founded with Zach Pollack. Sotto remains a subterranean Beverlywood destination thanks to the hearty cooking and welcoming vibe. Samson sources impeccable product and has a deluxe wood-burning oven at his disposal, which doesn’t just come in handy for pizza.
STANDOUT DISHES (aka, what I’d order): Marinated Olives • Grilled Pork Meatballs • Lamb Spezzatino • Bittersweet Chocolate Crostata