dineL.A. Restaurant Week Top Picks (Winter 2016)

Restaurant Week Los Angeles

dineL.A. Restaurant Week is roaring back with over 300 lunch and dinner options. Where to start? Now you know.

dineL.A. Restaurant Week returns for Summer 2016 from January 18-31, featuring over 300 lunch and dinner options. This time, dineL.A. has teamed with OpenTable to donate $1 from each reservation to The Midnight Mission if you BOOK HERE. American Express is also sponsoring an Exclusive Series that has 12 participating restaurants showcasing special menus that start at $95. You’ve only got 28 meals to work with. Make your calendar count with my top picks.

Establishments appear in alphabetical order, not in order of preference.


1. The Dal Rae ($25)

Brothers Kevin and Lorin Smith own this retro Pico Rivera institution, named for famed racehorse Sir Dal Rae. The food is decidedly old school and frequently comes with tableside service. Their pepper steak is an L.A. classic. At lunch, their “poor man’s” version is still powerful, featuring ground sirloin.

Must Order Dishes (aka what I’d order): Mushrooms Stuffed with Lump Crab • Poor Man’s Pepper Steak

2. East Borough ($15)

This modern Vietnamese restaurant from Chef Chloe Tran and John Vu Cao combines authentic culinary touches with a modern, fun setting. They’re not afraid to hit diners with funky flavors, utilizing condiments like crab paste butter and nuoc mam that are probably unprecedented in Culver City.

Must Order Dishes (aka what I’d order): Fried Chicken Wings • Pho Baguette

3. Feast From the East ($15)

Suzanne Toji runs this Westwood institution, which debuted in 1981. While Feast From the East did not invent the Chinese chicken salad, they have certainly become synonymous with the dish on the Westside.

Must Order Dishes (aka what I’d order): Chicken Potstickers • BBQ Pork Bao • Regular Chinese Chicken Salad

4. Hanjip Korean BBQ ($15)

Chef Chris Oh and partners Stephane Bombet and Francois Renaud have figured out how to plant premium Korean food on the Westside. Really though, you won’t find Korean dishes like this in K-Town. Yes, that’s bone marrow served atop corn cheese and foie gras butter on sizzling steak.

Must Order Dishes (aka what I’d order): Tuna Poke Bowl with Sea Urchin and Salmon Roe • Bulgogi Prime Beef

5. Nick & Stef’s Steakhouse ($25)

This Patina Restaurant Group steakhouse was always good, but Joachim Splichal recently breathed new life into the Bunker Hill establishment. German chef Andreas Roller has taken the menu in more modern directions, and designer Christian Schnyder has reshaped the space.

Must Order Dishes (aka what I’d order): Lentil Stew with Duck Sausage and Ham Hocks • Grilled Hanger Steak

6. Parkway Grill ($25)

The Smith Brothers have been minting restaurants in Pasadena for over two decades. This seasonal California grill rests across a parking lot from their Arroyo Chophouse and remains a dining destination.

Must Order Dishes (aka what I’d order): Two Tiger Shrimp Corndogs • Lobster Club

7. Pizzeria Mozza ($15)

Pizza Los Angeles

Nancy Silverton, Mario Batali, Joe Bastianich make their Restaurant Week debut at the Mozza compound’s most casual outpost. The lunch deal at the pizzeria is almost too good to be true, with pizzas alone normally exceeding the dineL.A. price of admission.

Must Order Dishes (aka what I’d order): Arancine alla Bolognese • Salame Pizza

8. Pok Pok LA ($15)

Chef Andy Ricker completed his Chinatown duo with the opening of his fiery, full-scale restaurant in Mandarin Plaza. Pok Pok is ostensibly Thai, but some of his most famous dishes have Vietnamese inspirations.

Must Order Dishes (aka what I’d order): Neua Khwai Sawan • Cha Ca La Vong

9. 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.

Must Order Dishes (aka what I’d order): Kabocha Pumpkin Soup • Duck Confit

10. Vegetable ($20)

Chef Jerry Yu delivers “guilt-free & comfortable food” to a rustic Cahuenga space below Universal Studios. Thankfully, that doesn’t mean bland, as Yu coaxes creativity from fruits and vegetables.

Must Order Dishes (aka what I’d order): Seasonal Soup • Hearts of Palm Ceviche • Butternut Squash Toast

11. Wadatsumi by Karikawa ($20)

This restaurant replaced Torafuku at the base of Westside Pavilion and preaches the word of Wagyu, Japan’s famously well-marbled beef. Grab a tiny taste of the good stuff as part of their dineL.A. Restaurant Week menu.

Must Order Dishes (aka what I’d order): Complimentary House Salad • Yellowtail Carpaccio • Wagyu Beef Sukiyaki Rice Bowl

12. Ziran ($15)

Executive Chef Kevin Harry presides over an eclectic menu at this restaurant inside The New L.A. Hotel Downtown. Their lunch menu looks to be an especially good value.

Must Order Dishes (aka what I’d order):: Chicken Tortilla Soup • Pear Salad, Mixed Greens • Skuna Bay Salmon BLT



Joshua Lurie

Joshua Lurie founded FoodGPS in 2005. Read about him here.

Blog Comments

How are you choosing the what to order dishes? You didn’t try them all, did you?

Dana, I haven’t tried all of these dishes. My approach matches what I would likely gravitate towards if I sat down at each restaurant and read their menu. Have you been to many restaurants for dineL.A. Restaurant Week? Any favorites?

Hmmm… Feast From the East, eh? I tried them when I first moved into the neighborhood but was underwhelmed. Looks like I’ll have to give them another shot!

Bigmouth, I haven’t been to Feast From the East in awhile either, but the value they’re offering for Restaurant Week is pretty great.

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