Dongpo’s Kitchen & DeSano – Eater LA

Dongpo’s Kitchen & DeSano – Eater LA

Five Restaurants to Try This Weekend in Los Angeles

Every Friday, you probably think of the same question: where should I eat this weekend? Well, every week Eater LA will compile a handy dandy set of recommendations.

Here now, five places to try this weekend in Los Angeles (also, check out our weekend bar guide):

August 5, 2016

For the most popular brunch in LA: SQIRL (and Huckleberry, and Dunkin’ Donuts)

No one needs to recommend Sqirl ever again. There are so many plaudits and recommendations and emoji-plastered Instagram posts floating around that to recommend the restaurant once more would be mildly embarrassing. But I’ve had this conversation with several LA friends recently, and now I wish to have it with you: it is possible to go to Sqirl on a weekend without it being a nightmare. Really!

You just have to make one major concession: Get there early. Not horribly early. Like 9:00, 9:30.Maaayyyyybe even 10 but then there will be at least a bit of a line. But if you treat Sqirl like a breakfast place, not a brunch place, weekend crispy rice salad is within your grasp. And if you’re like most LA humans, the only time you can eat breakfast out is the weekends. So seize the moment. Plus, the line that forms while you’re sipping your turmeric tonic makes for fantastic and mildly terrifying people-watching.

Incidentally, this is also the move for Huckleberry on the weekends, minus staring at the fashion bloggers and tourists in line. If you can’t countenance any amount of scene in your weekend mornings, might I recommend the Dunkin’ Donuts on Washington Boulevard? There’s a lovely sea breeze, the coffee tastes like New England, and the line moves very quickly. Just, whatever you do, do not order cold brew. —Meghan McCarron [Photo: Wonho Frank Lee]

For your new Universal City Walk Go To: Dongpo Kitchen

With Harry Potter World open to the muggle masses, you might be overdue for a trip to Universal Studios. If you do visit the amusement park or stop by for a movie on the City Walk, there’s no better place to dine than the newly opened Dongpo Kitchen. The casual counterpart to Century City’s upscale Meizhou Dongpo, the restaurant that comes by way of a Chinese-based restaurant group offers arguably the best Sichuan fare in this neck of the woods, with plenty of mouth numbing chilies to go around. 100 University City Plaza, Ste. V103 —Crystal Coser

For carne asada fries in the thick of the South Bay: Alfredo’s Mexican Food

Alfredo's Mexican Food

There are few better places for a pile of carne asada fries than at the no-nonsense Alfredo’s on Carson Street in Torrance. That intersection, at Carson and Western, also typifies the true heart of the South Bay, where across the street one of the area’s best ramen shops competes for business against a nearby Mitsuwa Marketplace, some Filipino bakeries just down the way, and a recently-opened Kang Ho Dong Baekjeong Korean barbecue outlet. The fries at Alfredo’s are fantastic; the multi-cultural vibe and people-watching outside might be even better. 1619 W. Carson St., Torrance. —Farley Elliott [Photo]

For a Westside tasting menu that’s really up to something special: Kato

Kato

Strip mall finds are part of the fun of Los Angeles dining. It’s about poking around at new places, unheralded restaurants and bars, and hoping to strike upon a gem. That’s the way you’ll feel after a night out at the tiny tasting menu newcomer Kato in West LA, where impressive presentations of mostly Japanese-inspired dishes feel at once creative and grounded. The prices are more than fair, the service is charmingly quirky, and the chef inside — Jon Yao — has been working at some of the best kitchens across California. Hidden gem, indeed. 11925 Santa Monica Blvd., West LA. —Farley Elliott

For healthy bites in the heart of Beverly Hills: M Cafe

M Cafe Beverly Hills

I used to come by this shop every blue moon when I was working in Beverly Hills, especially because most of my diet consisted of Chipotle and burgers back then. There’s something a little timeless about M Cafe, which serves its macrobiotic fare on lovely ceramic plates. While the veggie burger is about as good as a veggie burger’s going to get, the kimchi fried rice, with nicely sauteed slices of king oyster mushroom, could be a good Baroo replacement if you’re not in the mood to drive to East Hollywood. The dense avocado toast on crispy rice-and-quinoa patty helps round out lunch with something a little heftier. Oh, and don’t skip the tempura-style burdock fries, with just the right balance of crisp. 9433 Brighton Way, Beverly Hills —Matthew Kang [Photo]

July 29, 2016

For LA’s best new ramen bowl: Tentenyu

Tentenyu

LA hasn’t had a remarkable bowl of ramen since the Tsujitas opened on Sawtelle. Sure there have seen some solid new places, such as Tatsunoya and Ramen Champ (whenever it’s actually open) but nothing has been truly standout. I haven’t had the chance to try through more than its “rich” chicken broth based bowl, but even the first taste was enough to convince me they were doing something special here. Tentenyu, which is a Kyoto-based chain, opened just a few steps away from Tsujita, and serves ramen seven days a week until 2 a.m. I’m pretty sure that’s intended to make a statement, that their ramen can compete on the same level as the current standard-bearer.

When you dive into Tentenyu’s chicken ramen, it’s immediately unctuous and almost dense. The noodles themselves are a bit heftier, and cooked more al dente than usual, which is exactly what I like (I’m sure you could ask them to adjust if that’s not your preference). Dabble on some bright pink pickled ginger and a few splashes of the “ramen sauce,” a bit of a sweet and tangy ponzu-like condiment, to vary your flavors. Just own bowl won me over this time, and I’m aching to go back to try the tsukemen. Get there before the crowds descend, just like they’ve done at the always busy Tsujita outlets. 2012 Sawtelle Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90025 —Matthew Kang

For Old World eats in a cartoon funhouse: Tam O’Shanter

Tam O'Shanter

Atwater Village’s timeless Tam O’Shanter continues to turn out prime rib and shepherd’s pie with aplomb, while early Walt Disney sketches hang from the dim, inviting walls. It’s an effortless space for spending a cozy evening with friends, and comes with a relatively new cabinet full of rare scotches that its practically unmatched anywhere else in the city. Tuck in for a sip or two.2980 Los Feliz Blvd., Atwater Village. — Farley Elliott

For the kind of all-day eggs that make you forget about brunch: Petit Trois

The bloom is in no way off the rose that is Petit Trois, but it seems easier in these sunny summer days to sneak in for a quick French omelette than in days past. Perhaps that’s due in part to Ludo and the Jon & Vinny team’s new dedicated brunch option Trois Familia, or perhaps its because Petit Trois is the model of reliability. That may not always be the coolest new thing, but there’s something undeniably awesome about pulling up at noon for a plate of eggs made to perfection every time. 718 Highland Ave., Los Angeles. — Farley Elliott

For a suave Westside dinner with plenty of meat: Charcoal

Inside Charcoal Venice From Josiah Citrin

Chef Joseph Johnson, formerly at Melisse, has taken the reigns of Josiah Citrin’s other restaurant. Earlier this month, I recommend the brunch at Charcoal, but now it’s time to discuss dinner. Charcoal might have a bit of a #basic sheen to it. A one word, familiar name. A straightforward, Houston’s-like interior with big comfy booths instead of insufferably small cafe chairs. The pleasant din of neighborhood diners who’re just happy to have something new in on the block. Cocktails, high bar-level communal tables, heck even sports on the TV to waste away the early evening hours. Charcoal is a welcome sight for Marina del Rey/Venice denizens who need a change of pace from the Killer Shrimps and Cheesecake Factorys of the world.

Johnson’s cooking is stolid and predictable, though with a refined bent that lends itself to some mighty admiration. The charred cabbage is wonderful. The smoked lamb ribs are delicious enough that you’ll offer to eat the last one rather than deferring to your more hungry dining companions. The collard greens salad will make you forget about your last great kale salad. And the grilled prime skirt steak, cooked until it’s simultaneously gelatinous and charred, is more memorable than your last high end steak. What’s the only real mino” issue? The prices run kind of high, but hey, that’s part of the neighborhood charm too. Thankfully this weekend is the last of dineLA, which means you can get out for under $49 before tax, tip, and drinks. 425 Washington Blvd, Marina Del Rey, CA 90292 —Matthew Kang

For a perfected breakfast burrito steps from the beach: Phanny’s

It is no secret that Phanny’s has one of the best breakfast burritos in LA. South Bay locals have made it their go-to hangover remedy for over two decades, with weekend lines that attest to the burritos’ curative properties. But even those living outside of the southland should consider trekking down to Redondo Beach for the things. Located just a short walk from the beach, there are few more pleasant ways to spend a sunny weekend afternoon. 1021 S Pacific Coast Hwy, Redondo Beach —CC

July 22, 2016

For a whole new doughnut experience: Beverly Hills Beignet

Beverly Hills Beignets

If you’ve ever had a bite of a beignet at New Orlean’s Cafe du Monde, you’ve probably been waiting for the day you could sink your teeth into the powdered sugar-laden fried dough treats once more. Thankfully, as of this week, Beverly Hills Beigent is open with flavors you definitely have never had before, thanks to consulting pastry maestro Lincoln Carson (Superba Food + Bread). Think everything from the traditional sugary versions to savory, Gruyere and ham-stuffed varieties. 9527 S Santa Monica Blvd, Beverly Hills —CC

For LA’s best new romantic restaurant: 71 Above

LA’s new landmark 71Above has so many things going for it: a stunning interior design, fantastic cocktails, a world-class wine list, and probably the single best restaurant view in Los Angeles. Being perched a thousand feet above the earth tends to help in that department. But you’re really here for the food, and chef Vartan Abgaryan delivers an approachable, likeable, and memorable set of globally-inspired dishes (with a heavy lean on European flavors) that will be sure to win many hearts (and stomachs) over.

Start with a fantastic tomato tart or sweet corn agnolotti, then delve into the line-caught halibut or the seared ribeye steak. There’s a level of finesse here that you’d expect at a fine dining restaurant with stuffy tablecloths and classical music. Instead, you can soft electronic lounge or swift jazz tunes, just low enough so you can actually hear your dining companion(s). If LA ever had an exhibit A for “world class restaurant,” 71Above would be it.  633 W 5th St., Los Angeles, CA 90071 —Matthew Kang

For polished seafood with a heavy dose of style: SMYC

Behold SMYC, a Ritzy Yacht-Inspired Seafood Destination in Santa Monica

Chef Andrew Kirschner’s known to present dishes that’ll seem familiar, and perhaps even overplayed, but will taste better than any other version you’ve tried. Lobster, on burrata? On toast? Worked to perfection here. Softshell crab? Probably something you’ve had but perhaps not with Singapore chili sauce (though after thinking about it, it makes total sense). If you’re lucky, order one of the grilled Spanish sardines, which are flown in weekly. Oh, and don’t skip the cocktails, such as the seasonal strawberry swizzle. 620 Santa Monica Blvd. Santa Monica —Matthew Kang

For a bonafide burger in Alhambra: Grill ‘Em All

Formerly a food truck and now long a brick and mortar in the heart of Alhambra, Grill ‘Em All hasn’t lost its cred as a home for metalheads and meat eaters alike. You’ll find craft beer on offer too, but the main draw here is the humungous burgers that tackle rich, hearty ingredients — think sausage gravy on one, say, or a whole samosa on another. 19 E. Main St., Alhambra. — Farley Elliott

For an indoor-outdoor spot with lots of culture: AMMO at the Hammer Museum

AMMO

Brunch is a big deal at AMMO at the Hammer Museum. Not only does the meal run for six hours each weekend day, but it’s the perfect excuse to drag along your significant other to a museum with the promise of perfect eggs. Sure, you can take in the current Made in LA series while you’re there, but mostly it’s about the leafy indoor-outdoor dining area and some great late-breakfast food. 10899 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles. — Farley Elliott

July 15, 2016

For the icy noodles you need on a hot summer afternoon: Yu Chun

When the weather heats up, it’s pretty much guaranteed that you’ll find a line out the door for Yu Chun, Koreatown’s not-so-secret gem for naengmyun, or Korean cold noodles. The chewy arrowroot noodles come served in a cold, vinegary broth flecked with ice to cool you down or in a spicy gochujang-laden sauce. Be sure to get an order of the kimchi mandoo to blend right in. 3185 W Olympic Blvd, Los Angeles —CC [Photo: Yelp]

For great pizza, parking, and more: DeSano

Desano Pizzeria

Start talking to friends in town about pizza, and soon enough they’ll bring up DeSano, the hulking warehouse-like space off Santa Monica Boulevard in East Hollywood. It’s been around for a few years now, and the feeling amongst most is that the place has become criminally underrated. That’s possible, though the ample parking lot now fills up early on most days, with families and groups pouring in to watch the Neapolitan-style pies firing out of the wood ovens in the back one by one. Thankfully the space is large and communal enough that there’s always room for you and a friend or two to squeeze in as well. 4959 Santa Monica Blvd., Los Angeles. — FE [Photo: Wonho Frank Lee]

For finer dining with an edge: Wolf

Marcel Vigneron’s Wolf has settled into Melrose nicely, bringing a certain finer dining flair to the neighborhood. While this is by no means white tablecloth dining, there is something beautiful about the plating and ingredients going on here. It helps that the restaurant keeps a backbone of intensity and liveliness too, crafting a well-rounded meal that’s perfect for just about any situation. 7661 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles. — FE [Photo: Wonho Frank Lee]

For futuristic dining in the Valley: Eatsa

Ever want to dine your way through an episode of The Jetsons? Now you can do just that, effectively, with the recent arrival of Eatsa to The Village at Westfield Topanga. The humanless automat experience allows guests to order up and receive their meals through colorful wall panels, without so much as having to smile at anyone else. It’s fun, quirky, and absolutely worth the drive. 6600 Topanga Canyon, Woodland Hills. — FE [Photo: Wonho Frank Lee]

For Pasadena hot dogs on a perfect summer day: The Slaw Dogs

Now six years in, Pasadena’s Slaw Dogs team has really found its groove as a comfortable place to eat really, really well. Focusing on well-made hot dogs that serve the neighborhood and anyone willing to dip off the 210 (which will be under a bit of construction this weekend, FYI), the company’s use of the all-popular Vienna Beef dog makes them a standout. 720 N. Lake Ave., Pasadena. — FE [Photo: Yelp]

July 8, 2016

For Greek fare just steps from the beach: Petros

Manhattan Beach recently underwent a serious restaurant renaissance over the past few years. One of the concept leading the charge was Petros, the airy Greek restaurant right on Manhattan Beach Boulevard that serves exactly what you want to be eating on a leisurely beach day. On every table is the horiatiki salad with some of the best feta and olives you’ve ever had, and perfectly grilled octopus perfect to kick off an evening stroll down the pier. 451 Manhattan Beach Blvd, Manhattan Beach —CC [Photo: Petros]

For Japanese meat grilling in the South Bay: Hikari Japanese BBQ

Quiet Lomita doesn’t always get the same respect as its other South Bay neighbors in Torrance or the Beach Cities. That said, there are plenty of good eats to be found in the area, among them Hikari Japanese BBQ. The smallish strip mall spot specializes in grilling Japanese meats over a tabletop grill, making for a smoky night that’s best enjoyed in excess, with beers not far away. 2383 Lomita Blvd., Lomita. — FE [Photo: Hikari]

For oddball pizzas you can’t resist: Pizza of Venice

Altadena’s Pizza of Venice certainly doesn’t play by conventional rules. The tucked away space does artisan pizzas their own way, often resulting in oddly shaped, almost delicate options that are nonetheless masterworks of their respective genre. You’ll find braised lamb pies, a bbq chicken option, and others doused in mango habanero sauce. Yep, it’s that kind of place. 2545 Fair Oaks Ave., Altadena. — FE [Photo: Pizza of Venice]

For a bit of SGV nostalgia: The Original Din Tai Fung

This weekend marks the last opportunity (for a while at least) to truly enjoy the original U.S. iteration of Din Tai Fung in Acradia. The strip mall space is making way for a Westfield Santa Anita expansion just down the street, which means as of Monday you won’t be able to dine in on those old tables, queueing up with friends to get your dose of daily soup dumpling. Make this final weekend count. 1108 S. Baldwin Ave., Arcadia. — FE [Photo: Yelp]

For ice cream you’ll have to chase down: CVT Soft Serve

The best thing about CVT Soft Serve, the roaming ice cream operator, may well be the truck itself. A retrofitted former Mr. Softee rig, the toned down ice cream shop on wheels also happens to serve some of the city’s best true soft serve at weekend stops in the Valley and at the Melrose

Source: Eater LA