While these top tables will be hard to score over the holiday season, we recommend getting a head start now as they should not be missed.
Republique Chef Walter Manzke is back doing what he does best: classic French cuisine with a modern California twist, in the old Campanile space, no less. The gothic style open structure is now a sea of wooden communal tables over antique tiles and vaulted ceilings with several kitchen spaces for viewing and a long inviting bar and lounge in the front of house. The old LaBrea Bakery spot adjacent will also not be going to waste as an elaborate entry way either, Manzke has plans for adding an oyster bar, similar to a wine bar, in the coming months. For now you can feast on freshly baked bread by Mrs. Manzke, some of the best steak tartare and kabocha squash agnolotti to be found anywhere, along with the more adventurous pig’s head served with lentils, bacon, frisee and farm egg. “I tried so many different preparations and just went back to the traditional classic ways,” says Manzke. We are so glad that he did.
Scopa Just when you thought the west side couldn’t use another cozy Italian eatery, along comes Steve Livigni and Pablo Moix to smash that theory into the ground. Taking over a tacky old Chinese place on Washington Blvd., the stunning space now houses distressed brick walls, a long open bar and plenty of romantic two-tops. Top Chef Alumni Antonia Lafaso, last seen at Black Market in Studio City, is recreating recipes from her Grandmother’s kitchen such as the pan-fried meatball hero make with primarily dry aged beef and no veal or pork mix. The pastas are simple and delicious – Chitarra is made with a pecorino stock from the cheese rinds and black pepper and it’s one of the best winter dishes in town. House made ricotta crostini is light as a feather – whipped with mascarpone, addictive and served with charred ciabatta slices. Popular libations include the Bullock’s-Wilshire with bourbon which pays homage to the old LA department store. If you’re feeling under-the-weather the Bee’s Pick Me Up with Cognac, lemon and clover honey should sooth anything that ales you.
Din Tai Fung We are not a fan of chains – apart from Umami Burger, but Din Tai Fung has opened in the Americana at Brand bringing the beloved Asian steamed dumpling emporium closer to Angelenos who have been making the trek to Arcadia for years, and marking their 81st location around the globe. Hailed by the New York Times as “one of the top ten restaurants in the world,” and ranked #1 in the inaugural “101 Best Restaurants in Asia” by The Daily Meal, Din Tai Fung is now serving its internationally recognized signature soup dumplings with an exclusive menu addition, the famed Truffle dumpling, which is served to foreign dignitaries and very special guests in Taiwan. A legendary eatery on Asian soil, founded in 1958 by the Yang Family, the contemporary Glendale location is a massive bright and airy space which should draw hordes of shoppers from the mall looking for not only some of the world’s best dumplings but fried pork chop atop a bed of rice, pot stickers, wontons, soups, and fried noodles. An expansive cocktail program serves traditional and Asian-style beverages, along with boba beverages and slushies, plus a curated selection of beer and wine.