Los Angeles is known for many things: tacos, strip malls, beaches, and movie stars, to name a few. But until recent years, LA didn't get the attention it deserved for being a hub of high-end restaurants making innovative dishes. Now, there's no disputing that it's got cred to spare.
From uni pasta to "Secret Beef," Los Angeles's fine dining scene makes our mouths water. Here are the 21 spots you shouldn't miss.
For more recommendations for taco spots, cheap eats, cocktail bars, strip mall spots, and more, check out the complete MUNCHIES Guide to Los Angeles.
Animal: If you're hankering for some pig head terrine, veal tongue, and other odds and ends, Animal is a safe pick. Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo's meat-centric New American restaurant is famous for its marrow bones and prolific use of foie gras.
a.o.c.: Under the helm of Suzanne Goin, a.o.c. started doing seasonally-driven small plates before that was a thing (read: 2002). Very good Mediterranean things come out of the restaurant's wood oven, like clams with sherry, garlic, and toast.
Night + Market Song: Kris Yenbamroong's neon-bathed Thai restaurant serves some of the best fried chicken around. The Northern Thai flavors will set your face on fire in a good way.
ink.: Michael Voltaggio's modern American restaurant is now home to an expanded dry-aged beef program. Supplement your New York strip with sides like charred cabbage with buttermilk curds and whey, sauerkraut juice, black olive, and cocoa.
n/naka: One of the most elusive reservations to nab in town. Chef and owner Niki Nakayama serves 13-course menus inspired by modern kaiseki, executed using strictly seasonal ingredients. Both menus are best enjoyed with the wine and sake pairing.
Providence: A seafood-focused fine dining institution built on a dedication to sustainably-sourced ingredients. Providence is one of the most elegant places to ball out in LA.
Osteria Mozza: Two words: Mozzarella Bar. After indulging in all things burrata, served from said cheese bar, try the restaurant's handmade pastas like the Garganelli with ragu Bolognese.
Fishing with Dynamite: This is a seafood spot in Manhattan Beach offering both new- and old-school takes on the genre. The old school side of the menu will hit you with nostalgic dishes like Maryland Blue Crab Cakes and New England Clam Chowdah'. The new school side features more globally-influenced dishes, like the Rockfish and Shrimp Ceviche.
Broken Spanish: Ray Garcia's "authentically inauthentic" restaurant takes a shotgun approach to Mexican cuisine, forgoing a regional-specific focus for a unique LA lens. The handmade tortillas go particularly well with a side of Garcia's whipped carnitas fat.
Kali: Kali champions the bounty of California in a bright and airy minimalist space. The cocktail list features lots of local touches as well, from LA-made spirits to farmers' market ingredients.
Totoraku: No longer a secret, "Secret Beef" is a bovine-heavy dining experience that's accessible only by invite. As the name would suggest, beef—like neck sashimi and other prized cuts you grill yourself at the table—is the focus at this husband-and-wife-run BYOB restaurant.
Le Comptoir: A tiny 10-seat chef's counter restaurant inside the Hotel Normandie. Diners get front-row access to watch chef Gary Menes create vegetable-heavy French dishes, or generously shave truffle onto handmade pasta.
Bestia: An Italian-inspired spot in the industrial Arts District. If you don't get the Spaghetti Rustichella with sea urchin, garlic, Calabrian chilies, squid ink bottarga, and Thai basil, you're doing it wrong.
Nick & Stef's Steakhouse: A modern American steakhouse for the modern Angeleno diner. Prized cuts of dry-aged meat are positioned next to foraged greens salads.
Trois Mec: A modern French dining experience in a Hollywood strip-mall. Guests must clamor to buy tickets online for tables of two, four, or six, or go wild and buy out the whole restaurant.
Aburiya Raku: The Las Vegas izakaya institution has found a second home in West Hollywood. Go for the omakase menu to experience the restaurant's full range, including highlights like the Kurobuta Pork Cheek from the robata grill.
For five more can't-miss fine dining spots in the City of Angels, plus more tips for where to eat, drink, and hang, check out the complete MUNCHIES Guide to Los Angeles.