The 10 best new LA restaurants of 2023

A martini made with roasted oyster shell vodka, housemade vermouth, and salt next to a three-gram caviar bump and a raw oyster at Joyce in Los Angeles

It’s been a banner year for restaurant debuts in Los Angeles. Not only are a few of 2023’s most exciting new spots in unexpected pockets of the city like Woodland Hills and Pasadena, but some even scored national attention including Eater’s best new restaurant award.

From glitzy red-sauce joints to spots redefining Californian cuisine, these are the new places that made major first impressions in 2023. Read on for a guide to LA’s 11 hottest restaurants of the year.

Casaléna (Woodland Hills)

Burrata with saffron vinaigrette and roasted tomato and toasted baguette at Casaléna in Los Angeles
The standout Mediterranean dishes at Casaléna include burrata with saffron vinaigrette and roasted tomato. | Credit: Casaléna

A sprawling—and stunning—8,000 square-foot indoor and outdoor space made Casaléna an immediate hotspot when it opened in June. There are five dining areas to choose from, including an atrium with skylights and a glass window-wrapped terrace. The sibling-run Mediterranean restaurant draws crowds for a prolific coastal menu featuring crudos, seafood spaghetti with uni butter, and other crowd faves like short ribs with whipped potatoes. Pair that vacation-like menu with one seriously breathtaking space, and you’ll see why Casaléna is an important part of the Valley’s overdue restaurant renaissance.

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Lingua Franca (Atwater Village)

Some of LA’s most exciting Californian cooking is unfolding on its riverfront. Lingua Franca opened in February from the team behind hit neighborhood sandwich shop Wax Paper and takes its mantra—“good food for good people”—very seriously. Dishes like clam frites and root beer-braised beef cheek are just a couple of examples of how the restaurant is cranking out comfort food 2.0., which made it a fast favorite for local media and the restaurant industry crowd.

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Loreto (Atwater Village)

Mexico City-based restaurant group Grupo Palmares (also behind downtown favorite LA Cha Cha Chá) launched another stylish Mexican hit in March. Since opening, Loreto has earned a glowing review from the Los Angeles Times’s Bill Addison, who described its phenomenal seafood lineup as being “threaded with pan-regional inspiration.” That translates to lesser-seen dishes like shrimp and serrano aguachile and wood-fired branzino served in warehouse-like digs with pretty design touches like golden shelves and exposed brick for days.

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Joyce (Downtown)

The second act from chef Sammy Monsour of acclaimed New Orleans-inspired spot Preux & Proper puts a Southern spin on sustainable seafood. Joyce opened its doors in August and is a force to be reckoned with among LA’s other fish spots, as confirmed by enthusiastic shoutouts from the Los Angeles Times and others. Expect excellent Lowcountry-style dishes like trout caviar deviled eggs and black tiger prawn and oyster perloo. Not to mention zero-waste cocktails—extensions of the restaurant’s super sustainable ethos—by beverage director Kassady Wiggins, including the tequila-forward Hootie Hoo, made with blue algae and salt foam. 

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Bar Chelou (Pasadena)

Rainbow trout with garlic chive pil-pil at Bar Chelou in Los Angeles
Bistro classics are treated to international accents at Bar Chelou in Pasadena, resulting in dishes like rainbow trout with garlic chive pil-pil. | Credit: Dino Kuznik

Not only did this eclectic French restaurant get a rave Los Angeles Times review, it was also named one of Eater’s best new restaurants of 2023. Bar Chelou comes from Trois Mec alum chef Douglas Rankin and sits next to the Pasadena Playhouse, making it a sought-after pre-show dinner spot. Its sexy interiors and pitch-perfect cocktails brought a burst of energy to the somewhat sleepy neighborhood when it opened in January. And then there’s the food: Bistro classics get Spanish and Asian twists resulting in some of the most spectacular dishes in the city, including a perfectly executed rainbow trout with garlic chive pil-pil. 

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Jemma Hollywood (Hollywood)

Red-sauce joints are having a moment in LA this year, judging from buzzy newcomers like La Dolce Vita and Donna’s. But Jemma Hollywood, an October opening by Top Chef alum Jackson Kalb, wins the Italian comfort food game with next-level linguine alla vodka and wood-fired pizzas. The warm and casual spot is the latest in Kalb’s rapidly expanding LA empire (Ospi, Jame, Jemma di Mare), proving he’s in serious expansion mode and one of the city’s most exciting chefs right now.

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Que Barbaro at Level 8 (Downtown)

30-ounce bone-in short rib with lettuce leaves, sweet potato, Russian salad, and chimichurri at Que Barbaro at Level 8 in Los Angeles
Chef Ray Garcia’s wood-fired South American dishes at Que Barbaro include a 30-ounce bone-in short rib with Russian salad and chimichurri. | Credit: Que Barbaro

Level 8 deserves a spot on this list for its sheer ambition: The luxe food hall opened in October at the Moxy + AC hotel and brings together eight cocktail bars and restaurants from some of LA’s culinary heavyweights. Go first for Que Barbaro, lauded chef Ray Garcia’s triumphant return to the kitchen. The former Broken Spanish chef is a pro at smoke-kissed South American dishes like chicken thighs with roasted shallots and aji verde, and his wood-fired showstoppers are just some of the compelling reasons to visit this splashy restaurant playground.

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Baroo (Arts District)

Baroo’s 2018 closure was a huge loss for LA, but the beloved Korean spot—which was singled out by Eater for being “fascinatingly unconventional”—got a highly anticipated reboot in September. The modern Korean icon is a trailblazer in a city filled with many more traditional counterparts. Baroo stands out for an epic five- to seven-course tasting menu by wife-and-husband team Mina Park and Kwang Uh, featuring creative pickled and fermented dishes like soy-braised wild black cod in pickling liquid, pork collar with white kimchi, and a knockout Korean melon panna cotta. 

Xuntos (Santa Monica)

This laid-back pintxos bar landed in Santa Monica in July and would be right at home in northern Spain. Xuntos is where you go for Iberian staples by well-known chef/owner Sandra Cordero like squid skewers, ham croquettes, and a traditional Spanish-style omelet. The restaurant’s easy-breezy aesthetic and large Spanish wine collection makes it a sought-after hangout, and it’s already scooped up praise from publications including Time Out for its lofted dining room and delicious red wine-and-cola cocktail, calimocho.

Funke (Beverly Hills)

Evan Funke isn’t just one of LA’s most talented chefs. He’s also a prolific restaurateur and the force behind some of the city’s best Italian restaurants like Felix Trattoria and Mother Wolf. His latest, which opened in April, is a joint venture with real estate mogul Kurt Rappaport and a love letter to handmade pasta. There are 12 different kinds on the menu, and they’re all crafted in a glass-and-steel pasta lab that is the undeniable focal point of the restaurant. Between the noodle theater and the gorgeous final results, it’s no surprise that reservations are near-impossible to score, so plan well in advance if you want to eat at this bold new Beverly Hills stunner.

Tried them all? Check out other options here.

Karen Palmer is a pizza- and pasta-obsessed food writer based in Los Angeles. Follow her on Instagram at @karenlpalmer.

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