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Oct 8, 2009 11:12 AM

Homecoming to LA - restaurants in the last 3 years

I'll be visiting my hometown after a three year absence. Some friends want to take me out to dinner, but as usual, they don't know where to go. What has been some of the best/hot restaurants to open in 2007 and 2008?

Looking for nearly anything: Cal-French, Cal-Italian, sea food Japanese (not sushi prefer Izukayas), Mexican, Chinese (only if it's in the SGV), Thai (if it's in Thai Town). We don't want to pay expense account type places. But having a nice wine or cocktail list is nice.

Some of my favorite places were Hungry Cat and Lucques.


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    1. Hi panoz,

      Welcome home. :)

      I second molly's rec for Animal, ridiculously good, decadent food, low-key, fun.

      For Japanese Izakayas, you might consider Izakaya Bincho, with Tomo-san making some of the tastiest Izakaya dishes around (made-from-scratch) (search on Chowhound for people's thoughts on the place :).

      You might also consider Torihei for Kyoto-style Oden and Yakitori (Grilled Chicken Skewers). Enjoy~

      435 N Fairfax Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90036

      Izakaya Bincho
      112 N International Boardwalk, Redondo Beach, CA 90277

      1757 W. Carson Street, Torrance, CA 90501

      1. My favorite relatively new restaurant is Gjelina, on Abbott Kinney in Venice. Really excellent food meant to share in smallish but satisfying plates. The best pizza I've had in L.A., thin charred crust from the woodburning oven. Wonderful grilled vegies and unusual salads. A butterscotch pot de creme dessert that had us licking the spoons. Nice patio, not too expensive, but very popular, so you'll need a reservation.

        4 Replies
        1. re: nosh

          I am FINALLY trying Gjelina next week! I'll make sure to report back.

          1. re: mollyomormon

            YOU haven't been to Gjelina yet?? I can't believe it, you've been everywhere!!! Well, let us know what you think and if you get any 'tude!!

            1. re: Phurstluv

              So silly that I haven't been since I live very close by but I'm very excited to finally try it...

              1. re: mollyomormon

                I know, I'm still in a state of shock!!! LOL! But I think you will really like it. The vegetables alone are worth it, they're delicious. And if they still have the PEI mussels w/chorizo, tomato & white wine, get it (if you like mussels, that is!), it's to die for. We also had the lamb pizza, very good. Have fun!

        2. I 'm not sure what you mean when asking what has been hot/best to open two years ago?

          Anyway, what is really good and opened this past year, or year & a half:

          Animal - simply awesome food
          Church & State - downtown, GREAT french bistro
          Wurstkuche - also downtown, gourmet, artisan sausages & great beer list
          Rivera - downtown, by Staples ctr, really creative Mexican & latin american fusion
          Fraiche - Culver City, casual bistro with delicious food, little bit of 'tude by front staff
          Ford's Filling Station - Culver City, gastro pub, a little overpriced but decent food
          Ado - Venice, delicious pasta
          La Botte - Santa Monica, also killer pasta, a little pricey
          Pizzeria Mozza - Mid Wilshire area, Nancy Silverton & Mario Battali, decent pizza, one size, but lasagne is excellent
          The Bazaar - Weho, Jose Andres, fun and innovative tapas & molecular gastronomy
          Rustic Canyon Wine Bar - Santa Monica, seasonal, organic, yummy, small, loud
          Anisette - Santa Monica, Alain Giraud, exceptionally authentic French brasserie, all day dining, & beautiful bar, loud and boisterous, like you're in Paris

          There are many more, I'm just getting hungry now!!! Let us know where you end up!

          2 Replies
          1. re: Phurstluv

            Thanks for the suggestions everyone!

            The reason I ask for restaurants opened in 2007 and 2008, is because I strongly believe when restaurants first open (especially if they hired a good PR group), they can generate a very high level of initial buzz/hype. Then the media, bloggers, yelp, and chowhounds maintain the hype for a while after that. So I figure if after 2-3 years, it's still being talked about, then it's worth trying.

            1. re: panoz

              You need to get to Jitlada. Not sure if it's in Thai Town proper, but close enough.