Favorite LA Restaurants 2012

You may have noticed I have been on a bit of a hiatus. Things got a little crazy towards the end of 2012—I got married in October! We honeymooned in Italy and France, where we ate to our hearts’ delight, got back and I started preparing for a work trip to Israel in December. Between Thanksgiving, thank-you notes and teaching and settling in to married life, blogging got a little bit lost in the shuffle. But I have certainly been trying my usual share of restaurants, if not more. We’ve already been to 9 of the 10 “Best New Restaurants” from this year’s Los Angeles Magazine issue, and we’re busily working our way through San Gabriel Valley’s dizzying number of delicious Chinese options. We’ve had phases where we went to Mitsuwa marketplace almost every night of the week for ramen or soba or udon or tempura (I’ll be posting about that soon) and we had Mexican food kicks where we ate mountains of tacos and enchiladas, mostly from trucks or La Sandía in Santa Monica. I didn’t want to return to LA on 20 with a run-of-the-mill blog post, it seemed unceremonious, so instead of the usual recommendation I am beginning 2013 with a list of my 20 favorite LA restaurants in order. People so often ask me for restaurant recs when they’re coming into town to visit, and I always feel a weighty obligation to outline for them an appropriately diverse and delicious selection of restaurants I feel to be essential LA spots, so this list will serve as my reference point to visitors this year.

Now, most of these places are not really in the ballpark of $20/day. But some of them are, and that is a testament to the strength of LA’s street food culture and the vast number of gems this city has to offer. Below you will find my favorite restaurants—not necessarily the hottest or even the best, but the restaurants I want to visit again and again, the restaurants I feel represent LA’s food scene right now and make me happy and excite me. Some of them are homey and some are innovative, some are ethnic and some are market-driven. They are all over the city and all over the globe, cuisine-wise. But if I had to select twenty places in LA where you cannot go wrong, where you will be delighted and leave fulfilled and wanting to return, these are my best bets. Enjoy!

1. Osteria Mozza 2. Milo and Olive 3. Sycamore Kitchen 4. Gjelina 5. Rivera 6. Son of A Gun 7. Kiriko 8. Salt’s Cure 9. Delicious Food Corner 10. Huge Tree Bakery 11. Guisado’s 12. Lukshon 13. Samosa House (Both East and the original) 14. Mitsuwa Marketplace (West LA) 15. Noodle Boy 16. Ink. 17. Blue Plate Oysterette 18. Waterloo and City 19. Church and State 20. Bottega Louie