It’s January again in Los Angeles, and you know what that means…dineL.A. is back! If you’re not yet familiar with dineL.A., here’s the scoop: twice a year, for a 15-day period, more than 300 of the best restaurants across LA offer fixed-price menus at a fraction of the normal price.
How is this possible, you ask? Well, back in 2008, the Los Angeles Tourism and Convention Board teamed up with American Express in an effort to showcase the best restaurants in LA. It was a brilliant win-win idea. First of all, dineL.A. does its part to elevate Los Angeles to the status of global culinary destination. Meanwhile, locals and tourists alike have the chance to experience amazing food that might otherwise be out of reach.
Now, don’t get us wrong. We aren’t trying to ruin any of your New Year’s resolutions. But to help guide you through this year’s event, we’ve put together some of our top 2018 dineL.A. restaurant picks for you to enjoy between January 12th-26th. Bon appétit!
1. Sotto (Italian, Beverly Hills) – $39
Looking for some of the best pizza in LA? You may not have to look further than Sotto, whose 15,000-pound wood-burning oven is ballasted with imported soil from Mount Vesuvius. But Sotto is so much more than a pizza place, as you’ll discover during dineL.A. Week. You’ll start with marinated olives, followed by your choice of two courses of entrees and a dessert. Additionally, we recommend the red wine braised short rib with olive oil crushed potatoes, braised greens, and horseradish/hazelnut Gremolata.
2. LASA (Filipino, Downtown) – $29
LASA is a “Filipino-inspired, California-influenced” restaurant owned by Chad and Chase Valencia, who are second-generation Filipino-American brothers. The name “LASA” is Tagalog for taste, and you should certainly expect to experience a unique blend of flavors here. Start your first of three dineL.A. courses with the winter citrus and radicchio salad. For the second course, you’ll enjoy the crispy duck Arroz Caldo in ginger and leek broth. For dessert, choose between the coconut cream fruit ginataan or black sesame polvorón condensed milk ice cream.
3. Connie and Ted’s (Seafood, Weho) – $25 lunch, $45 dinner
Named for the Rhode Islander grandparents of chef Michael Cimarusti, Connie and Ted’s has become a mainstay of the LA seafood scene. This year, they’re offering a lunch menu that features many of their greatest hits. Options include Jo’s Wicked Chowda sampler, a half dozen chef’s choice oysters, house smoked yellowtail, and more. Meanwhile, the lunch drink menu includes house-made lemonade or Assam iced tea. Dinner starts with your choice of a specialty craft cocktail. Finally, you’ll dive into the grilled calamari, followed by a lobster roll or the chef’s choice grilled fish of the day.
4. Charcoal Venice (Barbeque, Venice) – $49
Inspired by the backyard barbecues that owner and Michelin-starred chef Josiah Citrin hosts for his friends and family, everything at Charcoal Venice is cooked over live fire. Your dinner will feature a selection of locally-sourced proteins, starting with a pairing of smoky grilled chicken wings and “kissed by the coals” crudo. Next up, you’ll experience the Prime Hangar steak, followed by boneless Jidori chicken with coal-roasted carrots or a Yukon potato baked in the coals. Finish the evening off with an apple turnover, and don’t skimp on the vanilla ice cream!
5. Erven (Vegan, Santa Monica) – $29
Voted Los Angeles Magazine’s #1 Best New Restaurant in 2017, Erven has arrived as LA finds itself “smack in the age of vegetable-focused cooking.” Named after founding chef Nick Erven, the restaurant’s participation in dineL.A. this year means Angelenos can enjoy all kinds of vegan goodies. LA Times food critic Jonathan Gold recommends starting with the popular sauerkraut-stuffed donut holes. Next, check out the charred avocado with macadamia Tahiti, or the “Thai-style” burrito made with tempura sweet potato.
6. Hanjip (Korean BBQ, Culver City) – $15 lunch, $29 dinner
Hanjip is a new partnership restaurant between Chris Oh and Stephane Bombet. Oh is a budding television personality and founder of Seoul Sausage, while Bombet is a co-founder of several acclaimed LA restaurants. Hanjip is offering an all-you-can-eat lunch menu that features chicken bulgogi, beef tongue, garlic chicken, and spicy calamari. Dinner options include beef brisket, baby octopus, spicy shrimp, spicy pork belly, soy calamari, veggies and more.
7. Twohey’s Tavern (American, Pasadena) – $39
Since opening in 1943, Twohey’s has become a Los Angeles “tribute to the classic American diner.” Because of the success of its original Alhambra diner, Twohey’s finally opened a new location in Pasadena. Expect classic diner staples with some fine dining twists by chef Travis Limoge, who cures his own meats and creates original hot sauces. We suggest the fried chicken dinner or Montreal smoked brisket, with a Twohey’s bittersweet Sundae for dessert after.
8. Cleo (Mediterranean, Hollywood) – $39
Helmed by chef Danny Elmaleh, Cleo “marries old Hollywood glamour with relaxed Mediterranean charm” right in the heart of Hollywood. First, you’ll have a choice of two appetizers, with options ranging from classic hummus to baba ganoush to spanikopita. After that, entrée options include kebabs (beef, lamb, or chicken), grilled daurade, or chicken tagine over saffron rice.
Arrive Happier to your dineL.A. Experience
With so many amazing restaurant options all over Los Angeles, you’re probably never more than a short drive away from your next mind-blowing culinary experience. Wherever your dineL.A. adventure takes you this January, make sure you arrive on time for your reservation by parking with Pavemint.