L.A.’s Best New Restaurant Openings of the Year

From pizza and tapas by the beach, to uncompromising standouts in Thai Town, Koreatown and City of Industry, these are the top L.A. restaurant openings of the year.

Image: Bar area interior of La Dolce Vita.
La Dolce Vita. SHELBY MOORE

The vastness and diversity of food in Los Angeles is unlike what you’ll find in any other American city. When you look at the top L.A. restaurant openings of 2023 on a map, you might notice there are 40 miles in between some of them. And on the way from point A to point B, you’ll pass vibrant culinary neighborhoods that consistently get more delicious. From pizza and tapas by the beach, to uncompromising standouts in Thai Town, Koreatown and City of Industry, to a glorious Mexican-Indian mashup of a restaurant, these are the new spots we want to visit again and again.

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Image: Interior of Bar Monette.
Bar Monette. Bar Monette

Bar Monette

109 Santa Monica Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90401

Is Bar Monette a sexy tapas bar, a top-tier pizzeria or one of the most creative new restaurants with some of the most elegantly plated food in Los Angeles? The answer, of course, is all of the above. Talented chef Sean MacDonald is so good with flavor combinations that even a seemingly simple plate of jamon de Paris with manchego, pickled peppers and brown butter becomes a beautiful and stunningly delicious dish that’s greater than the sum of its parts. There are also excellent salads, sumptuous potato agnolotti and splurge-worthy A5 wagyu rib cap with anchovy agrodolce. The puffy pizzas, like a wonderful Margherita (which can be topped with caviar and truffle), are why a lot of people come here. You’ll probably want a side of jalapeno tonnato sauce for dipping the crust. MacDonald is also a pastry savant. If he’s got cake or something with meringue on the dessert menu, you know what your decision is.

Image: Dining Room interior of La Dolce Vita.
La Dolce Vita. SHELBY MOORE

La Dolce Vita

9785 S. Santa Monica Blvd, Beverly Hills, CA 90210

Los Angeles has finally gotten the vibey and high-quality red-sauce spot it deserves. At La Dolce Vita, the spaghetti and meatballs, shrimp fra diavolo and veal parm are made by chef Nick Russo with skill and amore. Proprietors Marc Rose and Med Abrous have reenergized a restaurant (which originally debuted in 1966 with Frank Sinatra as a backer) that now simultaneously feels classic and like the future of Italian-American food in Beverly Hills.

Image: dishes from Heng Heng Chicken Rice.
Heng Heng Chicken Rice. Heng Heng Chicken Rice

Heng Heng Chicken Rice

5420 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90027

You could call this Thai Town gem a Hainan chicken specialist and simply savor the soul-warming broth, the perfect garlic rice, the expertly slow-cooked chicken and a terrific add-on of livers and gizzards. But there are levels at this restaurant. Habit-forming zaab crispy chicken and zaab crispy pork are tossed with the tangy and spicy elements of laab. It’s like seeing different shades of your favorite colors.

Image: Dishes from Lee Ga.
Lee Ga. Lee Ga

Lee Ga

698 S. Vermont Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90005

This multifaceted Koreatown wonderland excels at ultra-comforting soups, plump dumplings (get the mandu stuffed with kimchi, pork and beef), spicy chilled naengmyeon (buckwheat noodles made on-site in a customized machine) and charcoal-broiled galbi. If you’re dining with a big group, which is the best way to eat at Lee Ga, get a giant tray of beef cheek or brisket, too.

Image: Interior of Xuntos.
Xuntos. Stan Lee

Xuntos

516 Santa Monica Blvd., Santa Monica, CA 90401

A true Spanish tapas bar in a city where good Spanish food isn’t plentiful, Sandra Cordero’s Xuntos is a standout Santa Monica destination that works nicely for snacks and wine or for a blowout feast. Either way, you should probably order anchovies, pan cristal con tomate, an ultra-luxurious plate of jamón Ibérico de bellota (the pinnacle of cured meat) and scallops in their shell. Gambas al Ajillo, tortilla Española and costillas con salsa barbacoa are just a few of the other transportive dishes on the crowd-pleasing menu.

Image: Dishes from Jemma Hollywood.
Jemma Hollywood. Max Milla

Jemma Hollywood

1717 Vine St., Los Angeles, CA 90028

Prolific operators Jackson and Melissa Kalb (who also opened the more seafood-focused Jemma di Mare in Brentwood this year) are serving Italian-American fare like vodka pizza, veal parm, linguine alle vongole and a dramatically presented Italian beef sandwich on a silver tray. The roasted chicken scarpariellotender, juicy and perfectly seasoned—features a sweet-and-sour sausage-and-peppers sauce that’s a Hollywood showstopper. For dessert, the Kalbs have what could very well be the best cannolis in the city.

Image: Dish from Sushi Note Omakase.
Sushi Note Omakase. Michael Aguilar

Sushi Note Omakase

421 N Rodeo Dr, Beverly Hills, CA 90210

A first-rate sushi bar that’s also a first-rate wine bar, the 14-seat Sushi Note Omakase is creating its own path under the leadership of esteemed chef Kiminobu Saito and protégé Earl Aguilar. You can pair bluefin tuna with barolo at this jewel-box restaurant that cures bonito in brandy, tops amadai with bottarga and isn’t stingy about its supply of Astrea caviar. There’s also a nicely curated selection of dry-aged fish from famed seafood supplier Liwei Liao of The Joint. 

Image: Exterior of Saucy Chick Goat Mafia.
Saucy Chick Goat Mafia. Saucy Chick Goat Mafia

Saucy Chick Goat Mafia

203 S. Rosemead Blvd, Pasadena, CA 91107

Mexican and Indian rotisserie chicken. Birria made with a century-plus-old family recipe. Tacos, mulitas, nachos, smoked wings and sides like jeera rice, charred cauliflower and chorizo-laden beans. This collaboration between Smorgasburg vendors is the kind of the restaurant that makes Los Angeles special. It’s a restaurant that encapsulates the wonders of dining in a city where everything just blends—you taste the exuberance and the creative freedom in every bite.

Image: Dish from Avi Cue.
Avi Cue. Ira Edelman

Avi Cue

11288 Ventura Blvd, Studio City, CA 91604

Avi Cue’s wagyu shawarma, best enjoyed in a freshly baked pita sandwich with tomato, onion, parsley, tahini and amba, is a new-school take on street food that hits all the right notes. Wagyu arayes topped with that difference-making amba and fries cooked in beef tallow complete the songbook. The shawarma also works well on top of the fries. Whatever you do, order both the red hot sauce and the green hot sauce, for extra pops of pleasant heat. 

Image: Interior of 19 Town.
19 Town. Jialun Xiong

19 Town

18065 Gale Ave, City of Industry, CA 91748 

Lynn Liu’s contemporary Chinese restaurant lights pork jowl with 151 rum ablaze at your table and serves spicy jerky-like orange chicken. Dishes like oxtail soup with tabasco pepper, tomato and cilantro show that Liu is here to expand the range of Chinese food and celebrate the diversity of food in Los Angeles. The room is sleek, the cocktails (including a Sichuan martini and a great riff on a piña colada) are made with care and the vibe is simultaneously upscale and youthful.

L.A.’s Best New Restaurant Openings of the Year