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 Bellwether ($29)

Chef Ted Hopson and Ann-Marie Verdi have turned their new restaurant on a Sherman Oaks corner into a seasonal dining destination. This is California comfort food that isn’t just good for the Valley.

Must Order Dishes (aka what I’d order): Roasted Beet • Meatballs • Seared Swordfish

2. Bettolino Kitchen ($39)

Vince Giuliano, sister Andreanna Giuliano Liguore and her husband Sean Liguore are serving progressive Italian food in Redondo Beach, right near Riviera Village.

Must Order Dishes (aka what I’d order): Guazzetto di Lenticchie e Gamberi • Tagliatelle alla Luciana • Bacala alla Vicentina con Cavolini

3. Birch ($39)

Brendan Collins has found a culinary groove in Hollywood, where he draws on global influences and delivers the neighborhood’s best option to grab a meal before or after a show at the Pantages Theatre.

Must Order Dishes (aka what I’d order): Beetroot Tartare • Palm Sugar Glazed Pork Chops • Sticky Toffee Pudding

4. Border Grill DTLA ($29)

Longtime culinary stars Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger continue to keep Border Grill relevant in L.A. and Las Vegas. Restaurant Week is a key time for them to showcase recent innovations.

Must Order Dishes (aka what I’d order): Roasted Tomato and Bacon Guacamole • Tacos de Costillas • Coconut Flan

5. Craft ($49)

Chef Drew Gavalla started with Craft as a line cook and is now Tom Colicchio’s chef de cuisine in L.A. The Century City outpost still has pastry chef Shannon Swindle and routinely delivers a consummate dining experience.

Must Order Dishes (aka what I’d order): Winter Squash Hummus • Frisee Salad • Albacore Tuna • Mugifuji Pork • Navajo Fry Bread

6. Fundamental LA ($39)

Fundamental LA always had serious ambitions, and they were instantly realized at lunch. Woogene Lee and Jeff Faust have dialed up the ambition on dinner. Unsung animals and cuts are now common sights. So is Nick Erven, the former Saint Martha chef whose first order of business is dineL.A.

Must Order Dishes (aka what I’d order): Celery Root Soup • Salmon • Honey Panna Cotta

7. Jar ($49)

This modern American chophouse from Suzanne Tracht and longtime chef de cuisine Preech Narkthong has stood the test of time. So has her sensational pot roast, which joins other upscale comfort food classics for dineL.A.

Must Order Dishes (aka what I’d order): Roasted Beets • Jar’s Signature Pot Roast • Jar Fries • Pea Tendrils • Butterscotch Pudding

8. Lawry’s The Prime Rib ($49)

This Prime rib specialist with tableside service always knocks Restaurant Week out of the park by combining quantity, quality, and hospitality. Lawry’s famously meaty dinner gets a boost with broiled lobster tail and if you’re wise, banana cream pie.

Must Order Dishes (aka what I’d order): Spinning Bowl Salad • California Cut of Prime Rib • Yorkshire Pudding • Mashed Potatoes • Broiled Nova Scotia Lobster Tail • Coconut Banana Crème Pie

9. Ledlow ($39)

Josef Centeno is a master with vegetables, but really, there isn’t an aspect of the seasonal American pantheon that he has trouble nailing. This airy outpost, his latest Old Bank District venture, is a worthy destination.

Must Order Dishes (aka what I’d order): Smoked Trout • Ranch Chicken • Buttermilk Cake

10. Mama Shelter ($29)

Giselle Wellman, a recent “Top Chef” cheftestant, brings a more rustic approach to Hollywood than she did at her previous stop, Petrossian. Mama Shelter has French flair to spare, but her food remains grounded in comfort.

Must Order Dishes (aka what I’d order): Tortilla Soup • Fried Chicken • Brownie with Salted Caramel Ice Cream

11. Manhattan House ($39)

Chef Diana Stavaridis and business partner Richard Drapkin are drawing diners away from downtown Manhattan Beach with her eclectic, seasonal cooking in a colorful setting that’s far from stuffy.

Must Order Dishes (aka what I’d order): Smoked Cajun Cheddar Beignets • Burrata Toast • Pan Roasted Halibut

12. Mélisse ($95)

Josiah Citrin may have gone more casual with Charcoal in Venice, but he remains at the forefront of L.A.’s fine dining scene. Find out why during dineL.A. Restaurant Week, when the price of admission is lower than normal.

Tasting Menu: Naked Cowboy Oyster • Santa Barbara Ridgeback Prawns • Caramelized Chatham Bay Cod • Sonoma Lamb Loin • Chocolate and Caramel Fondant

13. Night + Market WeHo ($39)

Kris Yenbamroong has built a loyal following 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.

Must Order Dishes (aka what I’d order): Party Wings • Scallop & Ikura Fried Rice • Boudin Noir

14. Orsa & Winston ($100)

Josef Centeno shows his range in downtown L.A.’s Old Bank District. Ledlow, featured earlier, is more American, and more casual, than this Japanese-Italian gem around the corner.

Tasting Menu: Kanpachi Crudo • Breakfast in a Shell • Chilled Kohlrabi Hijiki Salad • Braised Shio-Koji Beef Brisket • Rice Pudding

15. OTUS Thai Kitchen ($29)

Thai Food Los Angeles

This next level revamp of the family’s Kinaree Thai Bistro has a more modern, welcoming vibe. The food leans more street than Kinaree, in a good way. Bonus: OTUS features a full Intelligentsia coffee program.

Must Order Dishes (aka what I’d order): Moo Ping • Ms. Dang Crispy Rice on Fire Salad • Go-Prao Basil & Chile Chicken

16. Post & Beam ($29)

Govind Armstrong helped to breathe culinary life into Baldwin Hills with the opening of this seasonal restaurant. He’s done a good job of building a culinary bridge between California and the South.

Must Order Dishes (aka what I’d order): Hanger Steak Tartar • Wood Oven Trout • Chocolate Chess Pie

17. The Royce | Wood-Fired Steakhouse ($49)

Steak Los Angeles

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.

Must Order Dishes (aka what I’d order): Wood Grilled Butter Lettuce • Korean BBQ Style Skirt Steak • Chocolate Panna Cotta

18. Scratch|Bar ($39)

Phillip Frankland Lee, who also runs The Gadarene Swine in Studio City and is causing a stir with his antics on “Top Chef,” is going big at Scratch|Bar, which recently relocated to Encino. In this case, he has every member of the plant and animal kingdom at his disposal on a seven-course menu, which bodes well.

Tasting Menu: Green Mussel & Sea Urchin Sake Shooter • Marinated Scallops with Crème Fraiche Apple & Jalapeno • Roasted Yet Raw Prawns • Fire Roasted Acorn Squash • Steak & Potatoes • Homemade Cheese • Dessert

19. Simbal ($39)

Chef Shawn Pham and his family are showcasing Southeast Asian flavors in this tucked away Little Tokyo gem. The Thai-inspired steak tartar alone is worth a detour.

Must Order Dishes (aka what I’d order): Prime Beef Hanger Steak Tartar • Broiled Black Cod • Banana Cake

20. Sotto ($39)

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. He sources impeccable product and has a deluxe wood-burning oven at his disposal, which doesn’t just come in handy for pizza.

Must Order Dishes (aka what I’d order): Marinated Olives • Pork Belly Porcetto • Roasted Lamb Shank • Ricotta Pound Cake

21. Spago ($95)

Wolfgang Puck and longtime culinary lieutenant Lee Hefter break out serious culinary firepower at the restaurant group’s flagship restaurant in Beverly Hills. For dineL.A. Restaurant Week, their Exclusive Series tasting menu revolves around California products.

California Tasting Menu: Sterling Farm’s White Sturgeon Caviar • Smoked Salmon Terrine, California Grown Cruciferous Vegetables • Silky Black Chicken Herbal Soup “En Croute” • Slow Roasted Lobster Tail, Vanilla Vinaigrette • Hand Made Agnolotti with Black Truffles • Slow Roasted Liberty Duck Breast “Canard a L’orange” • Grilled Snake River Farm’s New York Steak • Dark Chocolate Crème Caramel


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.

Leave a Comment