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5 restaurants pushing the envelope in Los Angeles

A photo of Red logo
by Aarti Virani
Updated July 19, 2023

Los Angeles’s dining scene is as innovative as the city’s world-renowned entertainment industry. Iconic restaurants such as Lawry’s, BCD Tofu House, and Grand Central Market gave the city its culinary credence, but it's also home to newer genre-defying spots that rethink sustainability, fuse unexpected cuisines, and highlight underrepresented communities.

These places are rewriting the dining script in the nation’s creative capital right now. Read on for a guide to five cutting-edge spots to book ASAP in LA.

A photo of Redbird - Los Angeles restaurant
4.7
4.7 (2825)
$31 to $50
Contemporary American
Downtown

At the moment, there's no online availability within 2.5 hours of your request. Do you have another time in mind?

About the restaurant

It doesn’t get grander than Redbird, an acclaimed New American restaurant in what was a historic cathedral. Co-owners Neal and Amy Knoll Fraser turned it into a breathtaking dining space in 2014, earning nods from Vogue, Architectural Digest, and more. The Latin-inscribed stone facade and terracotta pavers suggest the building belongs to a different era. But sleek additions including plush orange stools, a couple of dramatically backlit bars, and a glass-encased wine cellar give it a modern feel—without overshadowing the structure’s original majesty. It all makes for a unique past-meets-present meal, enhanced by award-winning cocktails from bar director Tobin Shea. Don’t skip the bourbon-forward Cardinal Punch—proof that spirits (of a different kind) still rule this former house of worship.


Top review
LastMinuteDinervip
Dined 1 day ago
Great food! Great bar! Great space! Great service! And amazing space!
A photo of Dunsmoor restaurant
4.8
4.8 (729)
$50 and over
American
Eagle Rock

At the moment, there's no online availability within 2.5 hours of your request. Do you have another time in mind?

About the restaurant

The edgiest thing about Brian Dunsmoor’s northeast LA restaurant is the chef’s commitment to early American cooking traditions. The kitchen ditches 21st-century influences (no blenders or induction burners) and opts for a large brick hearth and wood-fired oven for Southern-inspired dishes such as white cheddar cornbread, cider-glazed Bandera quail, and coal-roasted seafood. Though the chef’s previous place, Hatchet Hall in Culver City, also featured fire-pit cooking, Dunsmoor goes all in with its heritage-heavy approach. Its long communal tables offer prime views of the action-packed kitchen and the hardworking hearths that help the restaurant shake up the status quo.


Top review
Lindsvip
Dined 6 days ago
Super cute spot and the service was very good. Food was amazing as well as the wine pairing suggestions. Do expect to spend a bit of money to try a bunch of different dishes and share with friends! The sour milk cornbread is a must try but would recommend letting it soak in the butter a bit for more flavor. Cheddar & chive potatoes and the roasted autumn vegetables also paired so well with the pork chop.
A photo of Leona's restaurant
4.6
4.6 (251)
$31 to $50
Japanese
Studio City

At the moment, there's no online availability within 2.5 hours of your request. Do you have another time in mind?

About the restaurant

Leona’s is a Japanese-Peruvian paradise known for pitch-perfect fusion. Udon noodles get the carbonara treatment, uni from Hokkaido plays a starring role in a garlicky tiradito, and shimeji mushrooms stud a fontina-flavored risotto. The inventive creations come from veteran sushi chef Shigenori Fujimoto, who knows how to make a Japanese restaurant pop, even on Ventura Boulevard’s crowded sushi strip. Choose from three very different dining areas (a marble-clad indoor-outdoor space, a hushed sushi bar, or a chandelier-decked dining room) and dig into a menu that isn’t afraid of coloring outside the lines.


Top review
HarrisS
Dined 1 day ago
This restaurateur knows how to combine warm, exquisite ambiance and decor with top quality sushi/sashimi and excellent service. Though a bit on the expensive side, that's what this level of dining costs. A good choice for special occasions.
A photo of Manuela restaurant
4.8
4.8 (118)
$31 to $50
Californian
Downtown

At the moment, there's no online availability within 2.5 hours of your request. Do you have another time in mind?

About the restaurant

This rustic charmer in the Hauser & Wirth complex is known for a knockout brunch, but it also stands out for executive chef Kris Tominaga’s devotion to honoring chefs, farmers, and artists. If you need proof, look no further than the thriving urban garden he planted next door, which provides the herbs, fruits, and chiles for the restaurant’s dishes and cocktails. That outdoor oasis is also home to a flock of chickens who supply fresh eggs for California-inspired dishes such as black bean chilaquiles and popover Benedicts. Add striking art from world-renowned names including Franz West and Subodh Gupta, and it's a winning formula for a full-fledged sensory feast.


Top review
DerekW
Dined 6 days ago
Dining at Manuela is an iconic experience. The food is always delicious, innovative, and inspired. The atmosphere is casual and elegant at the same time. We love this place.
A photo of Flor Y Solera Spanish Tapas Bar restaurant
4.6
4.6 (79)
$30 and under
Spanish
Downtown

At the moment, there's no online availability within 2.5 hours of your request. Do you have another time in mind?

About the restaurant

Rare Catalan specialties take center stage at this first-of-its-kind downtown stunner. Flor y Solera is led by aerospace engineer-turned-chef Mònica Angelats, a Barcelona native who wants to give Angelenos a nuanced take on tapas. There are some familiar dishes such as tortilla de patatas and arroz con negro. But skip the usual suspects and go for lesser-seen treasures such as mandonguilles amb sèpia (pork meatballs with cuttlefish and almonds), best paired with a velvety sherry flight—not typically found at tapas places in America. Angelats learned to cook from her grandparents and draws inspiration from post-church family lunches. Enjoy the quintessentially Spanish meal in a space that’s just as transportive, lined with tiles modeled after Barcelona’s signature mosaics.


Top review
ElleLivingvip
Dined on Jan 6, 2024
Great happy hour and OMG! Their gin and tonic is so good!!!
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