The 5 Best Restaurants That Opened in LA This October
Lamb barbacoa. Roasted trout. America’s first cannabis cafe. Let’s review.
To keep tabs on every Los Angeles restaurant and bar opening is folly. But to keep tabs on the most worthy? Yeoman’s work, and we’re proud to do it. Thus we present Table Stakes, a monthly rundown of the five (or so) must-know spots that have swung wide their doors in the past thirty (or so). Let’s eat.
In the restaurant world, food is often little more than a vehicle for selling booze, which tends to have far greater margins and thus earn the place more money. At Lowell Cafe, a new restaurant that allows you to smoke weed at your table, it appears that cannabis is taking that mantle.
At one point during my first meal at Lowell, I overheard a waiter walk by and say, “the dessert chef is backed up.” That was a first.
“When we first started testing the menu, we ask consultants and partners who are restaurateurs and that I’ve done this for a long time, and the general consensus was, ‘You know LA is not really a dessert kind of town, so we’ll just put a few things on the menu,’” says Chef Andrea Drummer. “The desserts are flying out of the kitchen, to the point it’s actually a bullet point in our meetings. We have to deal with it.”
Lowell can’t technically serve edibles. But it can sell flowers, oils and other smoke-ables, which it grows organically. You order from a Flower Host, who assists you like a sommelier. The place has hospital-grade air filters and fans everywhere so that the room remains airy and fresh.
It’s one of the five restaurants in this month’s Table Stakes, alongside our favorite new Italian restaurant, a great all-day diner and mouthwatering lamb barbacoa tacos.
You’re here because: You want to get high! Definitely make a reservation, because the line goes around the block. The place is tastefully decorated with plants and old photos of legendary stoners. Once seated, a flower host will attend to your pot proclivities. The valet is a nightmare and you might leave a bit discombobulated, so take a Lyft.
You’re dining on: Bar food made from scratch. Order some vegan nachos for the table. Good nachos are loaded and cheesy; great nachos mindfully layer all that goodness. These are great nachos, layered with spicy cauliflower, beans and guacamole. The smashburger with thick-cut french fries is the go-to main. And caramel pudding for dessert … if it’s available.
You’re here because: You want to have a stimulating dinner with interesting people who enjoy sophisticated food. Antico is the perfect size restaurant: big enough to feel convivial, small enough to feel intimate. The kitchen opens to the main room, which features both a chef’s table and a communal dining table. But you want to be seated along the walls so you can watch it all.
You’re dining on: Crispy morsels of swordfish that have been sliced into bite-sized chunks before being skewered. Chef Chad Colby has a stellar resume that includes stints at Mozza, Chi Spacca and Campanile, to name a few. His debut restaurant delivers, and he’s a master on the flame, so definitely order the steak. And given this is an Italian restaurant, don’t forgo the pastas. The ice cream is made in a Carpigiani, an Italian device that whips milk into a divinely creamy state; the honeycomb tastes like salted caramel.
You’re here because: It’s lunch or you’re trying to squeeze in a quick bite before a movie. Fuku is the fast-casual fried chicken joint by David Chang (Momofuku). It’s in the new food court on the Promenade.
You’re dining on: Fried chicken sandwiches that taste like a higher quality version of Chick-fil-A, complete with the butter pickle. The fingers are good, too.
You’re here because: You want a comfortable place to eat at pretty much any time of the day. This restaurant is in the newly opened Hoxton, a posh yet affordable hotel in a historic building downtown. The decor is a tasteful mix of modernism and art deco.
You’re dining on: Our favorite thing was the wood-roasted trout, which came out with crispy skin and a soft pink flesh that was easy to fork, alongside an endive salad that provided a cool counterbalance. The disco tots, another favorite, were encased in cheese, a green mole and the blunt yoke of a fried egg. Also, you can’t go wrong with the smashburger or pancakes.
You’re here because: You’re looking for a gut bomb. This stand is open-air and probably best visited when you don’t have much planned after, as every taco and ceviche is delicious and it’s tough to not eat all of the things.
You’re dining on: Chef Alex Carrasco worked at Scratch Bar and Mozza before taking over this former BBQ stand. He wraps his lamb in local palm leaves before roasting it for 24 hours in a spicy oil that permeates the meat, giving it a juicy kick of flavor. His blue corn tortillas are soft yet thick enough to handle it, too. His ceviche has subtle, tender earthiness. Wash it down with something sweet, like a bottled Coke.