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Here’s Your Guide to Eating Avant Garde in L.A.

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This advertising content was produced in collaboration between Vox Creative and our sponsor, without involvement from Vox Media editorial staff.

When it comes to avant garde dining, L.A. doesn’t disappoint. The city is home to more than a few head-turning restaurants in which foams, wisps of smoke, art museum-worthy platings and unexpected tastes are around every turn of the menu. Given the bounty of fresh ingredients Los Angeles chefs have to work with, it makes sense that they’d be inspired to craft dishes that will take your breath away, all while dazzling your taste buds and expanding your idea of what food can be.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Wolf

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7661 Melrose Ave
Los Angeles, CA
(323) 424-7735
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While celebrity chef and Top Chef alum Marcel Vigneron has tamed his wildest molecular gastronomy side at his seasonally focused restaurant on Melrose, there are still plenty of out-there touches. Perfectly plated dishes — you just know a tweezer was involved — have not a flower petal garnish out of place, and he lets the top-notch ingredients from small, local family farms take a bow too. It may have something to do with his pedigree, as Vigneron opened as sous chef for The Bazaar by José Andrés.

2. N/Naka

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3455 Overland Ave
Los Angeles, CA
(310) 836-6252
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Niki Nakayama’s 26-seat kaiseki restaurant, a reference to a formal, multicourse style of seasonal Japanese cuisine, is consistently booked three months in advance, and for good reason. She grows many of the ingredients that show up in each of the 13 exquisite dishes on the menu, and the artful plating of dishes such as abalone pasta and blue crab zucchini blossoms looks more at home in an art gallery than on a plate.

3. The Bazaar by José Andrés

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465 S LA Cienega Blvd
Los Angeles, CA
(310) 246-5555
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The cocktails smoke and foie gras comes on cotton candy-coated lollipops at José Andrés’ Beverly Hills restaurant inside the SLS Hotel. The Spanish-style tapas menu from the James Beard Award winner is anything but predictable, and the modern Philippe Starck-designed spaces within add to the intrigue.

4. ink.well

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826 N La Cienega Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90069
(323) 651-5866
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A steakhouse with avant garde flair? That’s what you’ll find at Michael Voltaggio’s restaurant on Melrose. Another former Top Chef, Voltaggio recently shifted the menu focus to beef, but there are so many intriguing sides — like creamed corn with a housemade “foritos” (aka Doritos) and just about every dish has something crispy sticking out, a dusting of this or that, or an unexpectedly freeze-dried component — that you may end up treating it like an innovative small plates restaurant with steak on the side.

5. Trois Mec

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716 N Highland Ave
Los Angeles, CA
(323) 468-8915
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The prix fixe only, 24-seat restaurant from the dining powerhouse of chef Ludovic Lefebvre and partners Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo (Son of a Gun, Petit Trois and Jon & Vinny's) is as rule-breaking in its reservation system (you’ll pre-pay for tickets) as it is in its fare. For a true experience, snag a seat at the chef’s table to better take in the art and skill of dishes like an almost too beautiful to eat grilled lamb with Sichuan eggplant with petite side dishes of lamb broth and a brioche bun.

6. Destroyer

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3578 Hayden Ave
Culver City, CA

Chef Jordan Kahn made a name for himself with Wilshire Boulevard’s avant garde Red Medicine, now defunct, where he served food in terrariums and crafted plates that resembled miniature landscapes. This tiny breakfast and lunch-only restaurant in Culver City is slightly more restrained, but you’ll still see his unfettered creativity and knack for unusual visual and ingredient presentation in a beef tartar obscured by paper-thin radishes or a dish of English peas, Job's tears, gooseberries and frozen cream.

7. Baroo

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5706 Santa Monica Blvd
Los Angeles, CA
(323) 819-4344
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Foodies flock to this tiny, otherwise unremarkable Hollywood strip mall for a taste of chef and owner Kwang Uh’s fermented grain bowls. Uh calls his kitchen “free-style” and “experimental,” and in that regard you might chow down on the bright-hued Noorook, made with a laundry list of unusual-together ingredients: Job's tears, Kamut, farro grains, roasted koji beet cream, concentrated kombu dashi, toasted sunflower and pumpkin seeds, macadamia nuts, finger lime and rose onion pickle. Check out the jars lining the walls -- what’s fermenting might show up in your next order.

8. Alma

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550 S Flower St
Los Angeles, CA
(213) 892-8080
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Ari Taymor’s original Alma beat very much to its own multicourse forage-heavy drum, and at its newest incarnation at the Standard, it’s less high-brow given its all day service and hotel location, but still definitely experimental. The frozen foie gras with smoked maple, coffee granola, and carrots certainly fits the avant garde bill, as does English muffins topped with uni.

9. Here's Looking at You

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3901 W 6th St
Los Angeles, CA 90020
(213) 568-3573
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Here's Looking at You is a recent addition to Koreatown brought to you by Jonathan Whitener and Lien Ta. Here, you'll find unexpected combinations that aren't like the many Korean eateries in the neighborhood. Instead, the menu reflects a multicultural fusion. Try the wax beans and grasshopper, for example, if you're looking for something on the adventurous side, or the Hamachi collar with hot paprika and apple. The dining room is dimly lit, mid-century modern, and comfortable, whether you're sitting at a table or at the book-lined bar.
T.Tseng
This advertising content was produced in collaboration between Vox Creative and our sponsor, without involvement from Vox Media editorial staff.

1. Wolf

7661 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, CA

While celebrity chef and Top Chef alum Marcel Vigneron has tamed his wildest molecular gastronomy side at his seasonally focused restaurant on Melrose, there are still plenty of out-there touches. Perfectly plated dishes — you just know a tweezer was involved — have not a flower petal garnish out of place, and he lets the top-notch ingredients from small, local family farms take a bow too. It may have something to do with his pedigree, as Vigneron opened as sous chef for The Bazaar by José Andrés.

7661 Melrose Ave
Los Angeles, CA

2. N/Naka

3455 Overland Ave, Los Angeles, CA

Niki Nakayama’s 26-seat kaiseki restaurant, a reference to a formal, multicourse style of seasonal Japanese cuisine, is consistently booked three months in advance, and for good reason. She grows many of the ingredients that show up in each of the 13 exquisite dishes on the menu, and the artful plating of dishes such as abalone pasta and blue crab zucchini blossoms looks more at home in an art gallery than on a plate.

3455 Overland Ave
Los Angeles, CA

3. The Bazaar by José Andrés

465 S LA Cienega Blvd, Los Angeles, CA

The cocktails smoke and foie gras comes on cotton candy-coated lollipops at José Andrés’ Beverly Hills restaurant inside the SLS Hotel. The Spanish-style tapas menu from the James Beard Award winner is anything but predictable, and the modern Philippe Starck-designed spaces within add to the intrigue.

465 S LA Cienega Blvd
Los Angeles, CA

4. ink.well

826 N La Cienega Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90069

A steakhouse with avant garde flair? That’s what you’ll find at Michael Voltaggio’s restaurant on Melrose. Another former Top Chef, Voltaggio recently shifted the menu focus to beef, but there are so many intriguing sides — like creamed corn with a housemade “foritos” (aka Doritos) and just about every dish has something crispy sticking out, a dusting of this or that, or an unexpectedly freeze-dried component — that you may end up treating it like an innovative small plates restaurant with steak on the side.

826 N La Cienega Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90069

5. Trois Mec

716 N Highland Ave, Los Angeles, CA

The prix fixe only, 24-seat restaurant from the dining powerhouse of chef Ludovic Lefebvre and partners Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo (Son of a Gun, Petit Trois and Jon & Vinny's) is as rule-breaking in its reservation system (you’ll pre-pay for tickets) as it is in its fare. For a true experience, snag a seat at the chef’s table to better take in the art and skill of dishes like an almost too beautiful to eat grilled lamb with Sichuan eggplant with petite side dishes of lamb broth and a brioche bun.

716 N Highland Ave
Los Angeles, CA

6. Destroyer

3578 Hayden Ave, Culver City, CA

Chef Jordan Kahn made a name for himself with Wilshire Boulevard’s avant garde Red Medicine, now defunct, where he served food in terrariums and crafted plates that resembled miniature landscapes. This tiny breakfast and lunch-only restaurant in Culver City is slightly more restrained, but you’ll still see his unfettered creativity and knack for unusual visual and ingredient presentation in a beef tartar obscured by paper-thin radishes or a dish of English peas, Job's tears, gooseberries and frozen cream.

3578 Hayden Ave
Culver City, CA

7. Baroo

5706 Santa Monica Blvd, Los Angeles, CA

Foodies flock to this tiny, otherwise unremarkable Hollywood strip mall for a taste of chef and owner Kwang Uh’s fermented grain bowls. Uh calls his kitchen “free-style” and “experimental,” and in that regard you might chow down on the bright-hued Noorook, made with a laundry list of unusual-together ingredients: Job's tears, Kamut, farro grains, roasted koji beet cream, concentrated kombu dashi, toasted sunflower and pumpkin seeds, macadamia nuts, finger lime and rose onion pickle. Check out the jars lining the walls -- what’s fermenting might show up in your next order.

5706 Santa Monica Blvd
Los Angeles, CA

8. Alma

550 S Flower St, Los Angeles, CA

Ari Taymor’s original Alma beat very much to its own multicourse forage-heavy drum, and at its newest incarnation at the Standard, it’s less high-brow given its all day service and hotel location, but still definitely experimental. The frozen foie gras with smoked maple, coffee granola, and carrots certainly fits the avant garde bill, as does English muffins topped with uni.

550 S Flower St
Los Angeles, CA

9. Here's Looking at You

3901 W 6th St, Los Angeles, CA 90020
T.Tseng
Here's Looking at You is a recent addition to Koreatown brought to you by Jonathan Whitener and Lien Ta. Here, you'll find unexpected combinations that aren't like the many Korean eateries in the neighborhood. Instead, the menu reflects a multicultural fusion. Try the wax beans and grasshopper, for example, if you're looking for something on the adventurous side, or the Hamachi collar with hot paprika and apple. The dining room is dimly lit, mid-century modern, and comfortable, whether you're sitting at a table or at the book-lined bar.
3901 W 6th St
Los Angeles, CA 90020

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