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The dish Arroz Negro with fried squid on top sits on a table, surrounded by silverware and plates sits on a marble tabletop at the restaurant wine bar A.O.C. in Los Angeles. Rob Stark

The Best Spots from LA’s Culinary Masters

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LA is rich with chefs cooking various cuisines, making dining across the city a tasty pleasure. These 10 chefs (or chef duos) have helped to put LaLa Land on the map when it comes to culinary prowess. From the meat-heavy offerings of Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo at Animal to the pasta perfection of Evan Funke at Felix, there’s a lot of good food to go around. Dig into this list of the best restaurants from some of LA’s very own culinary masters.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Jon & Vinny's

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412 N Fairfax Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90036
(323) 334-3369
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Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo may be the example of culinary masters all other restaurateurs aspire to be. The chefs/restaurateurs behind Jon & Vinny’s have created their own mini-empire of essential LA restaurants, including Animal, Son of a Gun, and Trois Mec. At Jon & Vinny’s, the duo has taken on classic Italian fare, like pizzas, pastas, and meatballs, for an elevated take on your neighborhood Italian joint. Menu favorites include the White Lightening pizza (mozzarella, ricotta, garlic, onion, oregano, and pickled jalapeno) and the LA Woman (burrata, tomato, olive oil, basil, and sea salt).

A plate of chicken parmesan served at Jon & Vinny’s. Courtesy of Erica Gould

2. n/naka

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3455 Overland Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90034
(310) 836-6252
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Few chefs have truly mastered kaiseki, a formal, multi-course Japanese meal that pays homage to the seasons, but chef Niki Nakayama belongs in that group, while also making the format her own. The seasonality of the dishes at her Michelin-starred restaurant in Palms is, in part, guaranteed thanks to produce picked from the restaurant’s own organic garden. One look at Nakayama’s exquisitely beautiful plates (a meal of 13 courses averages somewhere between $225 and $275) is all the explanation you need to understand why a reservation here is such a difficult score.

Fresh oysters with edible flowers sits on top of a plate of pebbles, served at the restaurant n/naka in Los Angeles. Zen Sekizawa

3. Rustic Canyon

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1119 Wilshire Blvd
Santa Monica, CA 90401
(310) 393-7050
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Chef-owner Jeremy Fox and executive chef Andy Doubrava helm Rustic Canyon, a Santa Monica favorite for precise, balanced farmers market-fresh dishes. A read-through of the menu offers an education on what’s in season, perhaps beets and berries or corn succotash for summer. Purveyor names make an appearance — Autonomy Farms chicken, Rancho Gordo hominy, Weiser Farms mulberry — to underscore the farm-to-table commitment. Among other Rustic Canyon Family restaurants Fox oversees, Birdie G’s at Santa Monica’s Bergamot Station is the most recent, his ode to Midwestern dining (through a California lens, naturally). 

An arrangement of dishes, chicken and steak, served with a cocktail at Rustic Canyon in Los Angeles. Elise Freimuth

4. Gjelina

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1429 Abbot Kinney Blvd
Venice, CA 90291
(310) 450-1429
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Travis Lett opened Gjelina in 2008 with just a few dishes on an Abbot Kinney that had yet to be gentrified and corporatized. Today, Gjelina is a name-dropped spot on any LA eating tour, and Lett also helms a takeout spot next door, GTA, the souped-up bakery Gjusta, and MTN, a Japanese izakaya. At Gjelina, open from breakfast through dinner, the theme is market-fresh seasonal items, which encompasses everything from wagyu beef heart tartare to a plate of grilled stone fruit with burrata and prosciutto. The pizzas are legendary and the salads taste fresh from the farm.

A knife cuts into a whole sausage on a bed of beans, served at Gjelina in Los Angeles. Chris Goldberg

5. Kismet

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4648 Hollywood Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90027
(323) 409-0404
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This all-day Los Feliz spot from chefs Sara Kramer and Sarah Hymanson is the 2017 follow-up to their Madcapra (now Kismet Falafel) in Grand Central Market, which opened in 2015. The bright flavors of Mediterranean cooking, combined with a California sensibility and the chefs’ own creativity, shine in dishes like housemade labneh, freekeh fritters, crispy rice topped with an egg, and beyond tender lamb belly. To get treated to a rotating selection of natural wines, stop by from noon to 6 p.m. on weekdays for discounted by-the-glass selections. The duo seems to have the surrounding neighborhood on lockdown as they’ve got a rotisserie chicken place in the works just a few doors down. 

A light interior of the restaurant kismet, surrounded by light wooden details, with customers sitting at tables. Oriana Koren

6. Pizzeria Mozza

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641 N Highland Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90036
(323) 297-0101
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You don’t have to know that chef Nancy Silverton is an LA cooking legend who has worked with top chefs, been tapped for awards including a James Beard for outstanding chef, and written multiple cookbooks to appreciate her Hollywood pizzeria, which opened in 2007. Instead, you just have to like perfectly done wood-fired pizza with first-rate toppings in a cozy space. Pies run the gamut from one with Meyer lemon, tomatoes, fried capers, Fresno chiles, and fried parsley to a meat-heavy round with bacon, salame, fennel sausage, guanciale, tomato, and mozzarella. Don’t miss her butterscotch budino with Maldon sea salt and rosemary pine nut cookies — it’s almost as legendary as Silverton herself.

A close up of a wood-fired pizza with arugula and tomatoes served at Pizzeria Mozza. Anne Fishbein

7. Petit Trois

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718 N Highland Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90038
(323) 468-8916
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Ludo Lefebvre has been tempting Angelenos’ palates since his LudoBites pop-ups and, then, the opening of Trois Mec with partners Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo in 2013. With Petit Trois in 2014, the city fell in love with his take on Parisian bistro fare — dishes like pate de campagne, steak frites, and a picture-perfect omelet — and he’s expanded the concept from Hollywood to Sherman Oaks. Squeeze in if you can to the Highland spot’s cocktail hour, weekdays from 3 to 6 p.m., for discounted cocktails, wine, and snacks like a ham and butter sandwich served with crispy frites.

An omelet served with lettuce on top with a place setting, at a tabletop at Petit Trois in Los Angeles. Capra Photography

8. Bavel

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500 Mateo St
Los Angeles, CA 90013
(213) 232-4966
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The husband-and-wife team of Ori Menashe and Genevieve Gergis are the magic behind the Middle Eastern-leaning Bavel (and the Italian spot Bestia) — she as pastry chef, he as chef — in the Arts District, which opened in 2018. Diners can taste the inspiration behind soul-satisfying dishes like duck ‘nduja hummus, malawach (a flatbread served with grated tomato, dill creme fraiche, aged egg, and strawberry zhoug), and a bone-in lamb neck shawarma. The imagination doesn’t stop at the dessert menu, which plays with often unexpected flavor combinations like licorice and ice cream, and baharat spice dust and peach cobbler.

A dish served at Bavel in Los Angeles. ttseng

9. A.O.C.

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8700 W 3rd St
Los Angeles, CA 90048
(310) 859-9859
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File A.O.C. under the “oldie but goodie” label. Chef Suzanne Goin and her business partner Caroline Styne have racked up the accolades (including multiple James Beard Awards) since they began their restaurant empire in 1998 with Lucques. Their wine bar, A.O.C., opened in 2002, and it’s the small plates restaurant that Angelenos keep coming back to. Bacon-wrapped dates, a meat and cheese plate, some Spanish fried chicken, a California cabernet — it’s hard to go wrong at the Beverly Grove spot, especially if you’re noshing on the dreamy patio. 

A roasted cauliflower dish on top of a wooden table at Rustic Canyon, in Los Angeles. Rob Stark

10. Felix

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1023 Abbot Kinney Blvd
Venice, CA 90291
(424) 387-8622
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The buzz around chef Evan Funke’s Venice trattoria hasn’t subsided since its 2017 opening. His fresh, handmade pastas are the star — peek through a glass wall to watch orecchiette, busiati, and the like being rolled, shaped, and otherwise formed in the manner Funke learned in Bologna, Italy — but don’t limit ordering to just pasta. Other menu highlights include focaccia, cheese-stuffed squash blossoms, wood-fired pizzas, and a few bigger ticket items, like a 60-day dry-aged prime rib-eye. As befits the Abbot Kinney strip, the interior exudes a homey kind of sexiness, with warm wooden tables, an intimate bar, and enchanting floral wallpaper in the back dining room.

A dish of squash blossoms served at Felix in Los Angeles. Alan Gastelum

11. Animal

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435 N Fairfax Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90036
(323) 782-9225
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Although Jon and Vinny’s, the Italian-American diner up the street, bears the name of Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo, Animal is the restaurant where it all began in 2008. On that menu is a whole lotta meat — things like bone marrow, pig ear, and sirloin carpaccio. For a place with such an outsized reputation (including a James Beard under its belt), it’s a simple affair inside, with plain walls, wooden tables, and a small black bar. Still, it’s hard to top that rich, messy, off-menu Boner Burger.

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

1. Jon & Vinny's

412 N Fairfax Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90036
A plate of chicken parmesan served at Jon & Vinny’s. Courtesy of Erica Gould

Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo may be the example of culinary masters all other restaurateurs aspire to be. The chefs/restaurateurs behind Jon & Vinny’s have created their own mini-empire of essential LA restaurants, including Animal, Son of a Gun, and Trois Mec. At Jon & Vinny’s, the duo has taken on classic Italian fare, like pizzas, pastas, and meatballs, for an elevated take on your neighborhood Italian joint. Menu favorites include the White Lightening pizza (mozzarella, ricotta, garlic, onion, oregano, and pickled jalapeno) and the LA Woman (burrata, tomato, olive oil, basil, and sea salt).

412 N Fairfax Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90036

2. n/naka

3455 Overland Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90034
Fresh oysters with edible flowers sits on top of a plate of pebbles, served at the restaurant n/naka in Los Angeles. Zen Sekizawa

Few chefs have truly mastered kaiseki, a formal, multi-course Japanese meal that pays homage to the seasons, but chef Niki Nakayama belongs in that group, while also making the format her own. The seasonality of the dishes at her Michelin-starred restaurant in Palms is, in part, guaranteed thanks to produce picked from the restaurant’s own organic garden. One look at Nakayama’s exquisitely beautiful plates (a meal of 13 courses averages somewhere between $225 and $275) is all the explanation you need to understand why a reservation here is such a difficult score.

3455 Overland Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90034

3. Rustic Canyon

1119 Wilshire Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90401
An arrangement of dishes, chicken and steak, served with a cocktail at Rustic Canyon in Los Angeles. Elise Freimuth

Chef-owner Jeremy Fox and executive chef Andy Doubrava helm Rustic Canyon, a Santa Monica favorite for precise, balanced farmers market-fresh dishes. A read-through of the menu offers an education on what’s in season, perhaps beets and berries or corn succotash for summer. Purveyor names make an appearance — Autonomy Farms chicken, Rancho Gordo hominy, Weiser Farms mulberry — to underscore the farm-to-table commitment. Among other Rustic Canyon Family restaurants Fox oversees, Birdie G’s at Santa Monica’s Bergamot Station is the most recent, his ode to Midwestern dining (through a California lens, naturally). 

1119 Wilshire Blvd
Santa Monica, CA 90401

4. Gjelina

1429 Abbot Kinney Blvd, Venice, CA 90291
A knife cuts into a whole sausage on a bed of beans, served at Gjelina in Los Angeles. Chris Goldberg

Travis Lett opened Gjelina in 2008 with just a few dishes on an Abbot Kinney that had yet to be gentrified and corporatized. Today, Gjelina is a name-dropped spot on any LA eating tour, and Lett also helms a takeout spot next door, GTA, the souped-up bakery Gjusta, and MTN, a Japanese izakaya. At Gjelina, open from breakfast through dinner, the theme is market-fresh seasonal items, which encompasses everything from wagyu beef heart tartare to a plate of grilled stone fruit with burrata and prosciutto. The pizzas are legendary and the salads taste fresh from the farm.

1429 Abbot Kinney Blvd
Venice, CA 90291

5. Kismet

4648 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90027
A light interior of the restaurant kismet, surrounded by light wooden details, with customers sitting at tables. Oriana Koren

This all-day Los Feliz spot from chefs Sara Kramer and Sarah Hymanson is the 2017 follow-up to their Madcapra (now Kismet Falafel) in Grand Central Market, which opened in 2015. The bright flavors of Mediterranean cooking, combined with a California sensibility and the chefs’ own creativity, shine in dishes like housemade labneh, freekeh fritters, crispy rice topped with an egg, and beyond tender lamb belly. To get treated to a rotating selection of natural wines, stop by from noon to 6 p.m. on weekdays for discounted by-the-glass selections. The duo seems to have the surrounding neighborhood on lockdown as they’ve got a rotisserie chicken place in the works just a few doors down. 

4648 Hollywood Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90027

6. Pizzeria Mozza

641 N Highland Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90036
A close up of a wood-fired pizza with arugula and tomatoes served at Pizzeria Mozza. Anne Fishbein

You don’t have to know that chef Nancy Silverton is an LA cooking legend who has worked with top chefs, been tapped for awards including a James Beard for outstanding chef, and written multiple cookbooks to appreciate her Hollywood pizzeria, which opened in 2007. Instead, you just have to like perfectly done wood-fired pizza with first-rate toppings in a cozy space. Pies run the gamut from one with Meyer lemon, tomatoes, fried capers, Fresno chiles, and fried parsley to a meat-heavy round with bacon, salame, fennel sausage, guanciale, tomato, and mozzarella. Don’t miss her butterscotch budino with Maldon sea salt and rosemary pine nut cookies — it’s almost as legendary as Silverton herself.

641 N Highland Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90036

7. Petit Trois

718 N Highland Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90038
An omelet served with lettuce on top with a place setting, at a tabletop at Petit Trois in Los Angeles. Capra Photography

Ludo Lefebvre has been tempting Angelenos’ palates since his LudoBites pop-ups and, then, the opening of Trois Mec with partners Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo in 2013. With Petit Trois in 2014, the city fell in love with his take on Parisian bistro fare — dishes like pate de campagne, steak frites, and a picture-perfect omelet — and he’s expanded the concept from Hollywood to Sherman Oaks. Squeeze in if you can to the Highland spot’s cocktail hour, weekdays from 3 to 6 p.m., for discounted cocktails, wine, and snacks like a ham and butter sandwich served with crispy frites.

718 N Highland Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90038

8. Bavel

500 Mateo St, Los Angeles, CA 90013
A dish served at Bavel in Los Angeles. ttseng

The husband-and-wife team of Ori Menashe and Genevieve Gergis are the magic behind the Middle Eastern-leaning Bavel (and the Italian spot Bestia) — she as pastry chef, he as chef — in the Arts District, which opened in 2018. Diners can taste the inspiration behind soul-satisfying dishes like duck ‘nduja hummus, malawach (a flatbread served with grated tomato, dill creme fraiche, aged egg, and strawberry zhoug), and a bone-in lamb neck shawarma. The imagination doesn’t stop at the dessert menu, which plays with often unexpected flavor combinations like licorice and ice cream, and baharat spice dust and peach cobbler.

500 Mateo St
Los Angeles, CA 90013

9. A.O.C.

8700 W 3rd St, Los Angeles, CA 90048
A roasted cauliflower dish on top of a wooden table at Rustic Canyon, in Los Angeles. Rob Stark

File A.O.C. under the “oldie but goodie” label. Chef Suzanne Goin and her business partner Caroline Styne have racked up the accolades (including multiple James Beard Awards) since they began their restaurant empire in 1998 with Lucques. Their wine bar, A.O.C., opened in 2002, and it’s the small plates restaurant that Angelenos keep coming back to. Bacon-wrapped dates, a meat and cheese plate, some Spanish fried chicken, a California cabernet — it’s hard to go wrong at the Beverly Grove spot, especially if you’re noshing on the dreamy patio. 

8700 W 3rd St
Los Angeles, CA 90048

10. Felix

1023 Abbot Kinney Blvd, Venice, CA 90291
A dish of squash blossoms served at Felix in Los Angeles. Alan Gastelum

The buzz around chef Evan Funke’s Venice trattoria hasn’t subsided since its 2017 opening. His fresh, handmade pastas are the star — peek through a glass wall to watch orecchiette, busiati, and the like being rolled, shaped, and otherwise formed in the manner Funke learned in Bologna, Italy — but don’t limit ordering to just pasta. Other menu highlights include focaccia, cheese-stuffed squash blossoms, wood-fired pizzas, and a few bigger ticket items, like a 60-day dry-aged prime rib-eye. As befits the Abbot Kinney strip, the interior exudes a homey kind of sexiness, with warm wooden tables, an intimate bar, and enchanting floral wallpaper in the back dining room.

1023 Abbot Kinney Blvd
Venice, CA 90291

11. Animal

435 N Fairfax Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90036

Although Jon and Vinny’s, the Italian-American diner up the street, bears the name of Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo, Animal is the restaurant where it all began in 2008. On that menu is a whole lotta meat — things like bone marrow, pig ear, and sirloin carpaccio. For a place with such an outsized reputation (including a James Beard under its belt), it’s a simple affair inside, with plain walls, wooden tables, and a small black bar. Still, it’s hard to top that rich, messy, off-menu Boner Burger.

435 N Fairfax Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90036

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