Eight Local Restaurants Named “Best in L.A.” for 2017
Recently, Jonathan Gold, the Los Angeles Times’ Pulitzer Prize winning food critic released his annual list of the 101 best restaurants in the Los Angeles area.
As always, Gold has put together an eclectic list that includes everything from the deli fare of Langer’s to the themed tasting menus of Maude.
This year’s list is not without surprises, with Gold naming the controversial “abstract” Culver City restaurant Vespertine the best restaurant in town.
It’s become an annual game for L.A. foodies to try to dine at all 101 entries, which can be a challenge since Gold included restaurants as far away as Taco Maria in Costa Mesa. If you’re game to do the same, thankfully, you don’t have to go too far to get started since there are several restaurants on the list in and around Los Feliz.
Coming in at #21, Kismet (4648 Hollywood Blvd.) is the highest-ranking Los Feliz restaurant on Gold’s list.
This high position is especially impressive, as co-chefs Sara Kramer and Sarah Hymanson only opened the Mediterranean bistro this year.
Gold recommends the “lunchtime procession of vegetables, cheese and flatbread called accurately ‘all the things,” and the rabbit platter for two.
Next, at #23 is Night + Market Song (3322 W. Sunset Blvd), Kris Yenbamroong’s popular Silver Lake restaurant that Gold describes as “Thai restaurant as experimental theater.”
Night + Market Song serves takes on Thai bar bites and larbs, as well as inventive creations like ketchup fried rice with wiener blossoms—hot dogs cut to resemble flowers.
Coming in at #25 is Zach Pollack’s Silver Lake restaurant Alimento (1710 Silver Lake Blvd.). Pollack came to fame in Los Angeles by reinventing Southern Italian cooking at West L.A.’s Sotto. At Alimento, Pollack does playful takes on Italian staples, like a tortellini in brodo that Gold compares to Shanghai soup dumpling or mortadella and puff pastry finger sandwiches called “pig in a blanket.”
In the #46 slot is Salazar (2490 Fletcher Dr.), Esdras Ochoa’s Mexican restaurant in Frogtown, located in a building that once housed an auto shop. Most dining takes place outside on a large gravely patio. Meat is the name of the game at Salazar, the highlight being a marinated pork al pastor that Gold describes as “sweet, slightly charred, with a bit of burnt pineapple.”
At #47 is Jessica Koslow’s influential Virgil Village café Sqirl (720 N. Virgil Ave.). “You can probably trace the popularity of grain bowls, avocado toast and $13 jam to Sqirl,” says Gold. While Sqirl has spawned countless imitators, it remains a Los Angeles essential.
The 56th spot belongs to Jitlada (5233 ½ Sunset Blvd.), the celebrated Southern Thai restaurant whose founder Suthiporn “Tui” Sungkamee died in October, just before the restaurant guide was published.
Gold praises dishes like khua kling with an acacia blossom omelet, but warns about “the heart-stopping chile heat of the curry” found in this and other dishes.
At #97 is Sapp Coffee Shop (5183 Hollywood Blvd.) in Thai Town. Gold says the spicy boat noodle soup at Sapp “comes perilously close to being my favorite Thai dish in L.A.”
And coming in at #100 is Little Armenia’s Marouch (4905 Santa Monica Blvd.). At Marouch, chef Sossi Brady makes Armenian and Lebanese favorites including a “parade of mezze, barbecued quail and beautiful sujuk sausages.”
Of course, these are just a few of the countless dining options in the Los Feliz area. Maybe next year, your favorite restaurant will strike Gold.
Editor’s Note: The writer of this piece fact checked Jonathan Gold’s restaurant guide for the Los Angeles Times, but had no role in selecting the restaurants featured on the list.