We’ve not been shy about our love for the Los Angeles food scene, which we are constantly reminded is one of the most underrated in the world. Just today we dropped a list of the city’s top pasta masters. Last week, we looked at the diverse ethnic food being served around the Staples Center. Last month, I sort of lost my shit over a box of uni.
And here we are today with yet another poke in the ribs notice that Los Angeles might just be the most exciting place to dine out in the country. Yup, just went there. Each year, LA Weekly dedicates an issue to listing (updating, revising, rewriting) a list of the city’s 99 Essential Restaurants. Longtime critic Jonathan Gold minded the issue for many years before switching sides to review restaurants at the LA Times. Taking his spot in 2012 was an intrepid, pulls-no-punches writer named Besha Rodell, who released her list today.
“I'm just really proud that we took the time to seriously consider whether these places that everyone touts as being indispensable are actually still essential,” writes Rodell in an email. “And sometimes, to our surprise, we found they weren't. So we sought out stuff that's more under the radar but often more exciting.”
Like any Best Of issues, there are some obvious choices (Coni’Seafood, Koji BBQ Truck, El Parian, Mélisse) but also some new additions like Eagle Rock pastrami shop Oinkster and Ludo Lefebvre/Animal hookup Trois Mec. Jitlada, Pink's Hot Dogs, Little Dom'sa and Muss & Turner's are included on the list of restaurants not making the cut. Rodell estimates that the list changed by about 30 or 40 percent, with some edits being made because of a new rule that states chefs can only have a max of two spots.
“It’s hard to think of another chef who could make the highlight of a meal out of a grilled cabbage leaf, but Lefebvre chars the sturdy leaf and serves it with a silken miso flan, smoked almond milk anglaise and fennel pollen,” writes Rodell about Trois Mec. It’s also hard to think of another food city that could get us scanning flights on Kayak faster.
99 Essential Restaurants [LA Weekly]