The Five Best Restaurants That Opened in LA This June
Lobster *and* wagyu rib cap — too much?
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.
Summer in LA: the perfect excuse to let your own stove go dormant a few nights a week and dive back into the decadence of eating out.
The world is re-opening and restaurants are back in full swing, a boon for industry folks and foodies alike. LA Tourism is eager to welcome out-of-town visitors back into the fold with a comeback campaign, and whether you’re a born-and-bred Angeleno, a transplant, or just passing through, the city’s culinary scene is one of the best things about the west coast’s biggest hub.
While some spots like WeHo’s infamous E.P. are revamping, remodeling, and reassessing old concepts for a return after 400+ days with doors closed, others, like Imari, are starting fresh with crisp, elegant takeout of their Japanese washoku that paves the way for a return to formal indoor dining. With everything from trendy Spanish tapas served in a chic, velvet-draped environment to Nancy Silverton’s first new concept in close to a decade, dining in the City of Angels has arguably never been better.
The premise: The first new restaurant from Nancy Silverton in eight years(!) is a big deal for both her acolytes and any out-of-town visitors, and after pushing its opening date a few times, The Barish does not disappoint. In fact, if anything, it somehow exceeds the expectations foodies might have for a Silverton joint. In a menu that, of course, manages to feature her world-class pizza dough in a sly nod to Mozza, Silverton flexes her substantial skills, this time in the world of Old Hollywood glamour and chophouse classics. The Hollywood Roosevelt can feel like a diamond in the rough given the changing neighborhood, The Barish helps elevate the property back to its own former glory as a buzzy, coveted reservation in a stunning, completely renovated dining room.
What you’re eating: Go for the pizza fritta to start: Silverton’s infamous pizza dough is fluffed and fried, then topped with a plump dollop of ricotta and coated in parmesan and Italian seasoning — basically, it’s the world’s best breadstick. From there, move to a classic wedge and the magnificent steak tartare, which is deconstructed and served with greens on the side instead of the more traditional crostini or rolls. Pastas come in appetizer portions, but stop for a serving of carbs and cheese before diving into a grand finale of surf and turf: lobster and the bavette? Or maybe sea bream and a Wagyu rib cap? The only thing that could top all that is a good old-fashioned sundae with chocolate sauce, whipped cream and crunchy, salty peanuts. The sundae might not literally have a cherry on top, but The Barish martini with a hint of Finochietto liqueur — giving it a black licorice/anise flavor — will do nicely if a nightcap is needed.
The premise: Though this Los Angeles suburb hasn’t necessarily been known for its fine dining selections or foodie hubs, Agnes is about to kill two birds with one stone. The husband-and-wife duo of Vanessa and Thomas Tilaka Kalb has lovingly designed a restaurant and cheesery that’s part cheese/wine store, part snack/drinks haven and part formal dining for all ages. With Liz Kelso (formerly of Craft and Wally’s Beverly Hills) on board, the brilliantly affordable wine list is designed to pair well with cheese, pasta and protein — and remain accessible for couples on dates, families out on the town, or friends sharing a meal. Stop through for a quick run of cheese, wine and pantry staples, or a grab a table (or stool) and sit for a cocktail, a glass of wine and some of the most delicious “snackadoos” north of trendy Highland Park.
What you’re eating: First of all, fried cheese curds with a barely-there breadcrumb coating and homemade ranch spiked with fresh dill are a must. They’re light and warm, not doused in a heavy dough coating or too much oil. You can go for a meat or cheese board to start, but most will prefer the half-and-half that gives guests a little taste of everything. A cornbread “éclair” with a ribbon of chicken liver mousse and brandy cherries is one of the cleverest appetizers I’ve ever seen, skillfully blending southern favorites with California flair.
Then there’s the shrimp and cornbread hush puppies, and the crispy-skinned steelhead trout, which reads like rare salmon with a slightly gamier taste — wet stone and the clean taste of riverbed. Like with the cheese curds, a tasty addition — in this case, housemade tartar sauce — elevates this from merely a very good dish to a truly great one. Finish with the vegan coconut cream and strawberries for a dessert that tastes like a plate out of grandma’s kitchen, but with modern concerns in mind. And if you don’t grab a bottle of wine and a vat of La Tur on the way out, that’s your loss.
The premise: Spanish tapas in beautiful confines has never been a bad idea, but Chef Rudy Lopez’s new Soulmate in WeHo knocks it out of the park. Lopez grew up splitting time between Spain and Guatemala, his parents’ homes, and his flair for well-seasoned tapas with unexpected fusion elements is a testament to those years spent traveling. Come for the elegant, substantial menu full of Spanish Mediterranean cues that lean into California freshness, and stay for the elevated cocktails in what is truly a beautiful space, right in the thick of one of LA’s most beloved neighborhoods.
What you’re eating: The formidable Soulmate menu is wisely divided into several key sections, including starters, from the earth (vegetables), from the sea and from the land. Do not miss the decadent jamón, aged ham served with bread and tomatoes that melts in your mouth like butter but holds onto all the salty, nutty flavor of pork raised right. The white bean hummus with a bowl of crudites served upright on ice is visually stunning, but add a platter of fire-roasted sweet peppers and snap peas for the best possible pairing with that hummus.
Don’t even consider skipping the house paella with rings of calamari, lots of clams, shrimp, and the fluffiest bomba rice to hold it all together. Saffron, chorizo and aioli soften the sometimes overbearing paella sauce, and a cocktail named for hilarious Love Island slang, the Fanny Flutters, also pairs nicely, with guava, lemon and bubbles. Please consider the excellent cavatelli with more chorizo and green olives if seafood isn’t your thing, or a near-perfect hanger steak with chimichurri butter. Finish with the basque cheesecake topped with fresh fruit, and consider that this dessert might be what inspired the restaurant’s name in the first place.
The premise: Chef David Schlosser — who earned a Michelin star for downtown’s kappo-style Shibumi — is the executive chef of Imari, a new Japanese restaurant in Brentwood that focuses on the traditional, seasonally-aware practice of washoku. The traditional cuisine style is considered so integral to Japanese culture that UNESCO designated it as representative of the country’s “intangible cultural heritage,” and Imari aims to bring awareness of this historic practice to LA’s west side. Schlosser will consult on the spot’s seasonal menu, along with chef de cuisine Chef Derek Wilcox, a master sushi chef formerly of Shoji in New York.
What you’re eating: The limited menu kicked off in June early with sashimi bento boxes brimming with favorites like salmon, albacore, and uni, and other rarities like New Zealand tai sea bream, tilefish and house-made pickled vegetables. Carefully shaped rice balls served alongside the sashimi are seasoned with Japanese salt and cooked with water that’s been filtered to recreate “the pH and salinity found in Japan’s water.” How’s that for bringing authentic cuisine to Californian palates? The full menu and indoor dining opens on July 16, so get a sashimi box while you can or keep an eye out for reservations in a few weeks.
The premise: When it first opened back in 2015, E.P. & L.P. quickly became one of the hottest spots in West Hollywood to eat, drink, see, and be seen. And during a period that necessitated wide open, outdoor spaces, the rooftop bar L.P thrived during 2020, with a special Tulum-inspired pop-up, Las Palmas, and young, restless crowds flocking upstairs, eager to be out of the house. But with the indoor restaurant shuttered for almost a year and a half, it was time for a revamp, remodel, and refresh for E.P. With a completely redesigned menu created by brand new chefs — Australian power couple Monty and Jaci Koludrovic — E.P. might still have the same name, but it’s a totally new restaurant.
What you’re eating: Tuna crudo? Grilled prawns? Lobster gnocchi? The menu is a seafood lover’s dream, with fruits de mer sprinkled across every course — and of course, fresh oysters served with a gorgeous lime and cucumber mignonette always available to start. Stick with the seafood theme for grilled branzino and steamed trout, or take a left turn and settle in for hearty comfort food with a plate of pork schnitzel. For the less adventurous diner, there’s always the tried and true twice cooked chicken, or classics like steak and caesar salad. No matter what you get, this is the place for cocktail pairings — they come cold, boozy, and ready to usher you upstairs to the roof for more.
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