If you follow my blog, then my enthusiasm for food shouldn’t come as a surprise. In fact, discovering new restaurants has become a serious pastime of mine since moving to LA five years ago. I love receiving restaurant recommendations from others, so I thought I’d share a few of my personal favorites as a resource for any local readers or visitors who might be planning a trip to the city. There are an overwhelming amount of great options, so I’ve narrowed this post down by meal category and location. Here are five of my favorite dinner spots on the westside:
The Tasting Kitchen: If I had to pick my all-time favorite restaurant in LA, it would probably be The Tasting Kitchen. You can expect a seasonal farm-to-table menu made with the finest ingredients. You can’t go wrong with any of their entrees, but their handmade pasta dishes are my personal favorite (particularly their “Spaghetti Pomodoro”), and their gnocco fritto with burrata appetizer is not to be missed. They’ve also got a great cocktail menu and wine list to enjoy while you wait for your meal. And if celebrity sightings are your thing, then you’ve come to the right place. I’ve seen everyone from Lauren Conrad to Drew Barrymore.
Sugar Fish: I’ve written about Sugar Fish before, but it’s worth mentioning again. The concept is simple: highest-quality fish. Unlike most sushi chains, you won’t find fancy rolls and condiments, but you won’t miss them because the fish stands alone. Trust me when I say that it’s truly some of the best sushi you’ll ever eat. Or better yet, just order their appropriately named “Trust Me” off of the menu to see for yourself.
Blue Plate Oysterette: It may be located in Santa Monica, but Blue Plate Oysterette is filled with East Coast charm. It’s small, but cozy, and their menu is just as impressive as their beachfront location. I usually begin with their grilled oysters or decadent lobster mac and cheese, followed by an entree of linguini with clams (seen here). Still, no matter how full I am, I always leave room for their key lime pie. For the ultimate dining experience, time your reservation with the sunset and make sure to request an outside table. They even provide blankets if it gets too cool.
ROC Kitchen: My first experience with soup dumplings began with a college study abroad program in Hong Kong, so needless to say, the bar was set high from the get-go. ROC Kitchen is one of the few restaurants that captures the authenticity of the cuisine I experienced overseas. Their soup dumplings alone will keep you coming back (the pork being my favorite), but their fried rice is a close second. Din Tai Fung is another great option if you find yourself on the eastside, but I prefer the convenience, ambiance and wait time of ROC.
Tsujita: If you prefer ramen over dumplings, then head next door to ROC’s neighbor, Tsujita, for some of the best ramen that LA has to offer. Because the soup can be so rich in flavor, I prefer the tsukemen style (where the noodles are served in a separate bowl from the soup), because it allows you to control the ratio of each bite.
If you live in LA or have any dinner recommendations that I didn’t include, please feel free to share in the comments below!
P.S. – You can check out my favorite spots to grab a drink in this post.