Los Angeles’ dining scene has seen such a surge of culinary havens lately, its hard to narrow down a list of the best new establishments on the scene. Where dive bars and nightclubs once stood, now we find mixologists and their themed lounges. Where Spago once reigned supreme for fine dining, now there are many chefs clamoring to the top of the culinary pedestal. Whether you live in Venice, Silverlake, or somewhere in the middle, it’s hard to deny the effect these eateries are having on our social and culinary landscapes. LA has never before been able to compete on a culinary level with other metropolitan cities like New York or Paris, but voila – we told some great chefs about our year-long-paradise-like weather and it took them but a few hours to make this their home. Take that!
When the sad day came on which husband and wife team Karen and Quinn Hatfield announced the closing of their intimate (read: tiny) restaurant on Beverly Blvd, Angeleno foodies shed a long, sad, single tear. When it turned out that their claims of looking for a new space to renovate and reopen were true, those foodie frowns were swiftly turned upside down and the city watched with baited breath as a bright red interior slowly turned into the smooth, cream colored dining room (with an oversized window looking into an open kitchen) that is the new and improved Hatfields. Serving up the spousal-duo’s trademark cuisine of small twists on seasonal ingredients (including the world’s least traditional, yet most delicious Croque Monsieur). Turns out for the Hatfields, bigger is better.
Hatfield’s is located at 6703 Melrose Ave. in Los Angeles (323) 935-2977
First and Hope
Downtown, just across the street from the Walt Disney Concert Hall, we were clearly missing something. There’s a small strip mall there with a requisite yoga studio, a few offices, and a coffee shop, but there was a whole in the heart of the pre- or post-show dining scene that needed to be filled. The need was so desperate that it was taken on by two first-time-restaurateurs in the form of their supper club (and back room cabaret), First and Hope. Rich with culture and history, the newcomers were smart about location. A stone’s throw from both Disney Hall and the Music Center, the restaurant’s menu is specifically organized to cater to your showtime needs – they’ve got small, medium, and large dishes that come out quickly enough to get you to that full-throttle musical across the street.
First and Hope is located at 710 West 1st Street in Downtown LA (213) 617-8555
Where the tinier, more intimate Hatfield’s made a powerful name for itself on LA’s dining scene, it’s now Eva’s turn to do the same. Like a warm dining room at your best friend the chef’s house, Eva is a welcoming little space with dim lighting and a menu of very seasonal, fresh dishes like Burrata Ravioli, Halibut with Spring Morels on Pomme Puree, and a dessert simply called Chocolate Decadence. Their Sunday dinners feel particularly communal and inclusive – with a constantly changing menu and an impressive wine list, this is the kind of community to which you want to belong. You’ll feel just comfortable enough to crack jokes with the servers, but not so comfortable that you’ll take off your shoes… Depending on how much you have to drink.
Eva is located at 7458 Beverly Blvd. in Los Angeles (323) 634-0700
Mercantile and District
Kris Morningstar, the chef behind the new marketplace and restaurant duo Mercantile and District in Hollywood, knows what you’re going to like before you do. Stop into the Mercantile for a little lunch and you won’t leave empty handed – from house-made gelati to a whole range of cheeses, cured meats, chocolates, and jams, Morningstar has stocked the place full of delightful treats you likely won’t find elsewhere (even though you’ll wish you could). Next door, you’ll find District, which is more of a proper sit-down establishment serving homemade breads (Jalapeno Cheddar Biscuit anyone?), Pork Belly with Apricot Mustarda, Shrimp with Grits, and a Roasted Hangar Steak.
The Mercantile is located at 6600 Sunset Blvd. in Hollywood (323) 962-8202 (The District is right next door)
Top Chef alum Ilan Hall has stirred the pot (pun intended) with his Gorbals in the Alexandria building downtown. His cuisine – Jewish and Scottish fusion – has confused and yet impressed many an Angeleno’s palate. From Bacon-Wrapped Matzo Balls to Manischewitz-Braised Pork Belly, Hall’s idea of Jewish food is fusion all right. He’s also serving up Fish & Chips, Oysters with Mushrooms, Chicken Balmoral, and a whole host of dishes that will make your mouth water when you least expected it to. Those with a sweet tooth will enjoy the sweet Israeli Cous Cous with Pumpkin Ice Cream or the Sticky Toffee Pudding. All in all, there was never a better reason to make your way through the Alexandria building – literally, never.
The Gorbals is located at 501 S. Spring Street in Downtown LA (213) 488-3408