Because every Angeleno loves to eat, even if he has to valet, we bring you Table Stakes: a series that answers man’s eternally recurring question (“Uh, what’s new?”), and recurs once every lunar cycle or so. Bon appétit.
You’re here for: Ultra-modern dining. The restaurant could double as an art gallery, with poured concrete and sharp lines throughout. Try the huge open patio for those breezy West Hollywood nights, or take a seat inside and watch the open kitchen work. Chef Eric Bost has merged fine dining, elements of molecular gastronomy and familiar warm flavors into a toothsome experience.
You’re dining on: Dinners come in four-, six- or nine-course options, though which dishes are ultimately chosen is up to you. We strongly recommend the waygu, as the dish gives the meat a smoky sweetness thanks to the oxtail broth and vidalia onion. The Apple Tart is a dessert that belongs in the L.A. pantheon, and any attempt to describe it would be an injustice.
You’re here because: You want to check out the endlessly cool Hotel Figueroa, suitable for nearly any occasion but certainly superior for those looking for somewhere to go at night. The modern design breathes with an authenticity that is rare to find: it’s in the tables, the curtains, the mirrors and art — especially the art, as we’ve previously discussed. The end result is a vibe that’s perfect for night owls or those who enjoy a trendy spot that leaves the cheese behind.
You’re dining on: Get yourself a Paloma Brava to wet your whistle and then stick to the tacos — carnitas and arrachera are the picks for red meat-lovers, and the pescado frito with the jalapeño slaw and spicy aioli for those who prefer seafood.
You’re here for: Clean, modern vibes with a strong brunch menu that goes beyond your standard fare. Make sure to grab one of the lovely little two-person booths, they’re as good of a table-for-two as you can get in Southern California. Or, if you’re tired of working from Starbucks, check out Pikoh during the weekdays, when it transforms into a lovely little café.
You’re dining on: The jack-of-all-trades fare from Peruvian Chef Ricardo Zarate, which includes stops in Morocco, Spain, Japan and South America. The shakshuka is a must-order, with fresh tomatoes, egg, shrimp, ciabatta toast and a spicy kick. It will work for breakfast, lunch or dinner and never feel out of place.
You’re here for: Warm lighting, dark-stained wood tables and walls, greenery hanging from the rafters and glittering glassware and mirrors. Don Draper ate here, in another life. Take your date and try to get one of the few two-tops in the quiet alley out back for privacy. The menu is seafood-focused and fresh, fruit-forward flavors dominate the menu.
You’re dining on: Shareable plates and tapas-styles options pepper the menu, and the Greek influence from brothers Alex and Chris Manos is clear. Go Greco-Roman for a night by grabbing the oregano pita paired with black garlic tzatziki. Then finish with the spinach cacio e pepe, garlic and sweet peas.
My Little Dumpling
You’re here for: A French café vibe with rock ‘n’ roll flair, another example of past design being purposefully updated for the present. It’s best used as a lunch spot with a friend you’re looking to catch up with; pick a day when the restaurant can take advantage of their huge bay windows for a refreshing breeze.
You’re sipping on: The flat-out fun of My Little Dumpling comes from the American comfort-food flavors hidden within the titular item. There’s a French onion soup dumpling with just the right balance of salt and vinegar. There’s also a cheeseburger dumpling, and do mind our pro tip: Don’t hold the pickle, even those of you who aren’t fans, and make sure to ask for their thousand island dressing — it’s deliciously close to In N’ Out’s special sauce.
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