I'm back with a new list of spots to wine & dine in LA. Over the past few weeks, I've had the opportunity to eat at a lot of the spots that were on my short list and I've since updated my previous post with spots I'm excited to try here.
Below, I'm sharing restaurants across all different price points because there are times when it's worth it to splurge, and other times when it feels good to eat food for cheap.
- Din Tai Fung: I had been hearing about this restaurant for months and it did not disappoint. I was expecting an extremely long wait, however, after a movie night with one of my friends (shout out Blake!), we ran...literally ran...throughout Century City to get our name on the list. The restaurant seats it's last guests at 9:30pm but we begged and pleaded and were eventually told to grab a seat at the bar (Shout out to the 2 hostesses who helped us out - y'all are the real MVPs). Because it was my first time eating at Din Tai Fung, we went HAM and ended up getting: Pork XiaoLongBao, Sautéed String Beans with Garlic (HOLY MOLY), Shanghai Rice Cakes with Chicken, Pork Buns, Shrimp & Pork Dumplings. It's also very reasonably priced, as long as you don't have eyes bigger than your stomachs :)
- Hi-Ho Cheeseburger: I had dinner here following a day at the beach in Santa Monica and was so surprised that I'd never heard of this spot before. They had incredible cheeseburgers (opt for the HiHo, not the Classic) and hand-cut fries. OM NOM NOM.
- KazuNori: I've been a loyal Sugarfishian for years, but hadn't ever eaten at KazuNori because there are no locations super close to me and I was expecting a $$$ meal. I was pleasantly surprised to pay only $19 for 5 hand-rolls. My favorites were the lobster, blue crab, and salmon. The location in Westwood is bar seating, so be prepared to wait for a little while. Luckily not as long of a wait as Sugarfish though ;-).
- Father's Office: Their famous burger was not what I was expecting, but it did exceed my expectations. But, be warned that you'll be paying $17! So that you're not disappointed, note that the burger is held together by a baguette-like roll. The toppings are really something else (maytag blue cheese, applewood bacon, caramelized onions, arugula). My mouth is watering as I'm typing this.
- Gratitude: This relatively new Beverly Hills restaurant is brought to you by the same people who own Gracias Madre and Cafe Gratitude. It's plant-based, but even if you're not used to eating vegan, I'd recommend trying it out. And warning, be prepared to say words of encouragement whenever you order (ex. you will state "I am LOVE" - the name of a beverage on the menu - when you tell your waiter/waitress you would like to order the "Love"). Favorites: Lucky (Salad), Liberated (Pesto Kelp Noodles), Cool (Mint Chip "Milk"shake). OM NOM NOM.
- Republique: This restaurant was on my short list for the past two years, both as a brunch and dinner spot. I ended up making a reservation here for my business school graduation dinner (and saw 6 other classmates and their families - a special occasion spot for sure!) and my whole family was blown away. A GORGEOUS restaurant with incredible food and service, but astronomical prices. Some of our favorite items were: potato & leek beignets, gioia burrata toast, bread with normandy butter (they fly this butter in from France.. no wonder it's $8), Mary's organic roasted chicken (a massive portion that could easily be shared by 3+ people). Come hungry and leave a little poorer.
Comment below with some of your go-to items at these restaurants!