Finally, Los Angeles’ restaurant scene is breaking out. While other major cities have always offered a sea of fine dining, remixes on classic cuisine and the ubiquitous food truck, for years, L.A.’s offerings were a bit more straightforward. Casual oceanside dining places to be seen instead of nibble, reliable tacos, great sushi, and casual fare to match the city’s perpetually laid back vibes. Now, that’s all changing. Chefs are reimagining what a city of 18.5 million people crave. Flavors that embody the melting pot that is L.A.– Mexican, Korean, French, Japanese, Thai– are all claiming a spot. Lucky for my palate, I experienced some of the places that are making L.A.’s vibrant dining scene one to remember.
Here are just a few:
3343 West Pico Blvd.
“Gnocchi should taste like a cloud, right?” The question, posed by Chef Francesco, was a reasonable one. The soft dough dumplings should, in fact, be airy and light. Standing behind a wooden counter at Pasta Sisters, plates were funneled out of the kitchen like the perfect scene from a carb lover’s dream. It was here, in an unassuming parking lot in West Los Angeles, that I experienced a homemade pasta throwdown. That cloud-like gnocchi Francesco referred to is what brought Pasta Sisters—now an L.A. favorite—into fruition. Tired of paying exorbitant prices for simple pasta dishes, the Da Re family opened the establishment with the belief that everyone should be able to enjoy a good, home-cooked meal. Executive Chef Paola Da Re is joined by her son Francesco and daughter Giorgia to celebrate the flavors of Veneto, Italy. It is the kind of place that makes you forget white table cloth and Chianti and yearn for the simplicity of a small table, al dente pasta, and good company.
Together they have created an impressive menu that includes beef and eggplant lasagna, a pesto gnocchi, porcini risotto, and, an unforgettable bottarga. The dish is so simple, yet dynamic in flavor, that it’s hard to believe that just cured fish and olive oil give it such zest. I am not ashamed to admit that I had it twice in two weeks. Yes, it is just that good.