Discover Los Angeles' Best
Our Friends at FOUND just launched in Los Angeles - check out what's new on the west coast
Our friends at FOUND just launched in Los Angeles with on-the-ground recommendations and intel — restaurants, shopping, getaways, culture, real estate, and more. Below, some highlights from their recent dining coverage. Subscribe here to get FOUND LA in your inbox.
RESTAURANTS • FOUND Table
Strip Mall Stalwart
Echigo, perched atop a Prime Pizza in a plaza on the outskirts of Sawtelle, is the poster child of strip mall sushi.
Run by chef Toshi Kataoka, Echigo epitomizes this uniquely LA form of sushi experience. Behind an unassuming facade, its bare-bones interior houses a 12-seat sushi bar (exclusively for omakase) framing a smattering of tables (a la carte orders). Walk-ins get seated swiftly. The volume? Blissfully hushed. Exceptional, relatively affordable nigiri come in pairs.
Since opening in 2002, the restaurant has more than galvanized its status as a classic, while managing to stay relatively under the radar. Highlights from a recent dinner included pudgy scallops glistening over warm rice, and a blue crab hand roll, an Echigo signature (well before Sugarfish took it mainstream). Try to order only one.
After dinner, head to nearby The Bigg Chill, another institution, for a cup of LA’s best frozen yogurt. A timeless bang bang. –Emily Wilson
BARS & RESTAURANTS • The Nines
Elephante (Santa Monica, above), breezy Italian lounge with idyllic sunsets
Calabra (Santa Monica), Mediterranean at The Proper
Terra at Eataly (Century City), pasta, wine, gelato, nearly 360-degree city views
Bar Funke (Beverly Hills), pink quartz bar beckons with Funke-branded Negronis
Dante (Beverly Hills), award-winning martinis amid Beverly Hills’ best vantage
Harriet’s Rooftop (Sunset Strip), retro decor, expensive drinks, killer views
Mother Tongue (Hollywood), health-conscious Michael Mina joint atop members-only athletic club
Bar Flores (Echo Park), women-owned cantina with margaritas, flowering vines, and pop-up tacos
LA Cha Cha Chá (Arts District), second-story bar offering Mexico City-inspired fare
RESTAURANTS • First Person
The Melrose Hill Moment
Ètra, which opened last month in Melrose Hill, is the first capital-d Dinner restaurant among the neighborhood’s slew of forthcoming openings (see Intel, below). The Italian newcomer hides behind its daytime counterpart, Café Telegrama, which was immediately swarmed when it opened last month.
Parking is tricky around the trafficky intersection of Western and Melrose, an early concern for the burgeoning area, where blue chip gallerist David Zwirner also planted his LA flag last spring. Otherwise, it’s been an impressive doubleheader premiere.
Telegrama serves a satisfying Greek yogurt with granola and seasonal preserves in the morning. At lunch, a craveworthy tuna melt-inspired sandwich stars pepperoncini aioli in place of cheddar. The space is airy and polished, with a sunny patio that folds into Ètra come nightfall.
Handsome and (a bit too) dimly lit, Ètra is reminiscent of a Bode store: all warm wood, an intimate smattering of tables, and a six-seat wine bar. Chef and co-owner Evan Algorri gives the people what they want: crudo, extra-tender meatballs, pastas, chicken with Calabrian chili juice, steak with grilled cabbage. The silky spaghetti pomodoro has a kick of heat, and the chicory salad with anchovy, black pepper, and cured yolk is the best new Caesar in town.
During opening week, the crowd was a who’s who from the restaurant industry and LA’s creative set. As galleries continue to open up in the area, it’s likely to become an art world go-to.
But right out of the gate, Ètra is as hot at night as Telegrama by day. Melrose Hill is off to the races. –Emily Wilson
RESTAURANTS • Intel
MORE MELROSE HILL: The team from beloved wine shop Domaine LA is opening a French restaurant in the neighborhood. Per our source, the buildout should be done by March and it'll be “somewhere in between Stir Crazy and [NYC’s] Frenchette.”
AND MORE: Also slated for early ’24, L.A. Grocery & Cafe, a 5,000 SF cafe and market by one of the Honey Hi founders. Plus, the first west coast outpost of New York City’s Scarr’s Pizza, a full-service restaurant from the Little Fish team, and Color Club, a new nightclub from the Haas Brothers (who are currently on display at Deitch).
RESTAURANTS • First Word
Keep Sushi Weird
The Skinny: Tyson Cole has racked up accolades for his 20-year-old Austin-based sushi bar Uchi, which took Texas by storm and birthed a restaurant empire. Now, his flagship’s first west coast location has arrived in Los Angeles (with a 14-seat omakase-only follow-up, Oheya, coming in 2024).
The Vibe: There’s nothing particularly Texan about the moody sushi den, situated in a prime spot on Santa Monica Blvd. between West Hollywood and Beverly Hills. Slabs of blonde wood function as makeshift walls to separate different sections of the restaurant, and an expansive outdoor space makes conspicuous celebrity tables easy to spot.
The Food: Technically brilliant. The massive menu is split into many sections: omakase, hot and cool tastings, nigiri and sashimi, agemono (tempura), makimono (cut rolls), and toyosu (fish market), among others. The best way forward is the omakase. If you prefer to go your own way, you can’t possibly over-index on the superb hot and cool tastings, specifically yellowtail with orange and thai chili and ora king salmon with brown butter hollandaise and ikura.
The Verdict: Itamae precision meets Southern hospitality — it shouldn’t work, but it does. –Caitlin White
RESTAURANTS • FOUND Table
All Grown Up in the Arts District
It's hard to overstate the amount of praise lavished on the first iteration of Baroo, a shoestring operation in a Hollywood strip mall where chef Kwang Uh played mad scientist with ferments and pickles. Since shuttering that storefront in 2018, Uh and his wife/partner Mina Park resurfaced in various guises (a pop-up at a flea market, a fast-casual stall in Grand Central Market), but lacked a space that matches their ambition — until now.
The recently opened Baroo in the Arts District is, finally, a capital-R restaurant, with a grown-up hunk of real estate, in a neighborhood quickly establishing itself as the go-to for risk-taking, high-end dining (see also: Yangban Society, Yess, Kato). One can imagine the pressure the couple feels to deliver in these shiny new digs.
What a relief, then, that the new Baroo is a major step up in every way. The prix-fixe menu is a departure from the strip mall’s a la carte setup, with more polished versions of the flavors and techniques that launched them into stardom. It’s a format that allows Uh to flex, deploying more high-end ingredients, like a Peads & Barnett pork collar (served with a "goulash jigae") and wild-caught black cod. And in perhaps the most substantial upgrade, there's now a bar program, focused on lesser-known Korean spirits like yakju and makgeolli, along with a waitstaff well-versed in them.
The vibe is industrial Zen (fitting for a couple who met at a Buddhist monastery in Korea), but far from austere. On a recent Tuesday night, Park floated around the warmly lit room, pouring complimentary sips of locally produced makgeolli, greeting longtime customers who dressed up for the occasion. Meanwhile, Uh bopped around to hand-deliver desserts. It felt like a reunion.
And it’s one you can join. Reservations are relatively easy to come by, for now. If the past is any indicator, you’ll want to get in before Baroo is discovered all over again. –Jamie Feldmar
GOODS & SERVICES • The Nines
Haute Provisioning, Central/West
The Cheese Store of Beverly Hills (Beverly Hills), old school icon gets breath of fresh air from new owner
Petrossian (West Hollywood), caviar, but also smoked fish, charcuterie, and other flights of fancy
Monsieur Marcel (Beverly Grove), original Farmer’s Market standby for aspiring Francophiles
Gjusta Grocer (Venice, above), prepared foods, local produce, baked goods, florals
Farmshop (Brentwood), restaurant, bakery, and shop in Brentwood Country Mart
Lady & Larder (Santa Monica), top-tier charcuterie boards, plus pantry essentials
Fatty Mart (Mar Vista), Asian groceries and more from Little Fatty team
La Española Meats (Harbor City), for Spanish meats, cheese, and paella fixings
Erewhon (various locations), especially Venice or Calabasas locations for people-watching