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Photos of people at a taco stand, a pineapple bun, noodles and more in a collage
Clockwise from top left: A vendor with guests at Topanga Farmers Market, a spread of dishes from Liu’s Cafe, mussels and clam spaghetti from Pez Coastal Kitchen, a dressed taco from Tacos Por Vida, noodles from Origin Korean BBQ.
(Collage: Taylor Le / Los Angeles Times Photos: Stephanie Breijo / Los Angeles Times)

The best places to eat and drink in L.A. this month, according to our food writers

The seasonal calendar has flipped to spring, but so far it’s hard to tell in Los Angeles. Once upon a time, our region was defined by endless sunny days, but after record rainfall in 2023 and regular storms blowing through this year, gloom is starting to feel like our new normal.

To take an optimistic view, that means wildflower chasers have another springtime superbloom in store, and festivalgoers heading to Coachella might be met with reasonable desert temperatures. Thankfully, our dining scene is always buzzing, rain or shine.

Just last month, a handful of restaurants expanded to new locations, while a famed Long Beach dive bar prepares to celebrate its centennial. In Topanga Canyon, a farmers market returned after closing almost six years ago, and a beloved bakery reopened multiple locations after unexpectedly shuttering late last year.

Our writers tackled the dense urban playground that is Koreatown, weighing in on our favorite Korean fried chicken spots, the best Korean barbecue options and where to eat, drink and party late in the neighborhood. In the multistory package, we posit that Koreatown is more than a centrally located neighborhood in L.A., it’s a state of mind — evidenced by the popularity of a trilevel mall dedicated to Korean culture and newly named Koreatown, both of which are in Buena Park. In New York City, restaurant critic Bill Addison observed a Korean wave of fine dining that lives in its own universe, though a handful of L.A. newcomers are embracing a similar (but not too similar) take on the cuisine.

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Whether it’s soup weather or warm enough to wait outside in hours-long lines for tacos from one of the city’s most cherished taqueros, we’re never without eating ideas in Los Angeles. This month, make it a point to visit a delightfully weird restaurant that’s planted in a home decor store, a Persian pop-up that’s gained roots with a small Silver Lake storefront and several newcomers to the 2024 Michelin California guide.

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A horizontal photo of chicken with turmeric rice, pickles and a sour cherry limeade at Azizam restaurant in Silver Lake.
(Stephanie Breijo / Los Angeles Times)

Azizam

Silver Lake Persian $
Almost three years after the launch of their roving pop-up Azizam, co-owners Cody Ma and Misha Sesar have planted roots with a cozy storefront and patio in Silver Lake. The menu features homestyle Iranian dishes such as Tabriz-style kofteh with ground beef and rice, a daily selection of pickles, fresh-baked breads and desserts and fruity-floral spritzes with flavor combinations such as date and tamarind. Local beers, sake and a short list of wines by the glass and bottle are available. The lunchtime cafe hopes to expand with dinner service soon.
Read about Azizam’s bricks-and-mortar space.
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A bowl of bread gnocchetti in a brown saue
(Barbara Davidson / Los Angeles Times)

Brera Ristorante

Downtown L.A. Italian $$$
Once known as Officine Brera, a name reflecting the workshop spirit that Matteo Ferdinandi, Angelo Auriana and Francine Diamond-Ferdinandi brought to one of the early big buildouts in L.A.’s now-bustling Arts District, the more established Brera Ristorante still feels a little like walking into one of those pop-up books where a wonderland of an elaborate big-city restaurant opens up — a little bit steampunk, with fine Barolos and Nebbiolos swirling in the wine glasses of customers that range from young to old, party-hearty singles to mellow foodies. More important, the food coming out of Auriana’s kitchen — maybe tagliatelle with what the menu calls “Brera’s secret beef Bolognese sauce” or tender bread gnocchetti called pisarei tossed with duck sugo — tastes like Italy.
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A smashburger made with American Wagyu beef and french fries in side-by-side cardboard dishes.
(Stephanie Breijo / Los Angeles Times)

Burger She Wrote

Venice American $
One of L.A.’s best burger stands just expanded to a walk-up window in Venice. From former pro skater Don Nyugen, restaurateur Steven Arroyo (Escuela Taqueria) and chef Jules Crespy (formerly of L&E Oyster Bar), Burger She Wrote features a tight menu of smashburgers with hand-smashed, crispy Wagyu patties, melted cheese and all the fixings on a buttery bun. Hand-cut fries and a grilled cheese sandwich also are offered.
Read about the new Venice location of Burger She Wrote.
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Four sweet and savory pastelitos atop yellow bags, with an iced cafe con leche, on a tabletop at Cafe Tropical
(Stephanie Breijo / Los Angeles Times)

Café Tropical

Silver Lake Cuban Bakery $
After closing abruptly in November, Silver Lake’s Café Tropical has reopened its doors thanks to past patron Danny Khorunzhiy, who once attended addiction recovery meetings in the long-running Cuban cafe’s back room. Khurunzhiy brought in Rene Navarrette, to help gather community resources to reopen the coffee shop, and Ed Cornell, who was working at nearby Quarter Sheets pizzeria and bakeshop and now heads the kitchen. The cafe first opened on Sunset Boulevard in 1975, when the neighborhood was home to a sizable Cuban community, and closed due to a family legal dispute that also shut down its sister businesses, restaurant El Cochinito and bar Bolita. Cafe Tropical’s pared-down menu is largely unchanged, with guava cheese pastries and the signature Cubano sandwich still available, and more items expected as the cafe hires more staff and falls into a rhythm.
Read about the reopening of Café Tropical.
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Korean fried chicken on rice in a bowl, drizzled with a yellow sauce
(Stephanie Breijo / Los Angeles Times)

Chick+Rice

East Hollywood Korean Fried Chicken $
BBQ+Rice has flipped its East Hollywood walk-up window to Chick+Rice, with the same fast-casual approach and a focus on Korean fried chicken. Get sweet lemon, soy garlic, black pepper and sweet-and-spicy sauces drizzled over your fried chicken in a salad or rice bowl, with optional add-ons like chicken dumplings and fried eggs.
Read about the new Chick+Rice location.
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A foam container of mangu los tres golpes (mashed, boiled plantains, fried eggs, pickled red onion, fried salami and cheese)
(Catherine Dzilenski / For The Times)

El Bacano

North Hollywood Dominican $
After running a family restaurant in Alaska and dreaming of bringing a bricks-and-mortar concept to Los Angeles, Jonathan Santana finally made good on his vision with El Bacano, which he opened alongside his sister Deany last summer. In his review, restaurant critic Bill Addison recommends starting with a traditional Dominican breakfast of mangú (mashed plantains) with los tres golpes or “the three hits” — fried eggs, grilled salami and thin blocks of queso frito — regardless of when you visit. Santana’s chicken is the siblings’ take on pollo guisado and is best paired with rice, or moros (rice and your choice of beans cooked together) for a $5 upcharge. Sancocho, a meaty plantain stew, is also available, as are flaky empanadas, fried and charcoal-grilled chicken, a burger and a few seafood plates. Order a cup of morir so?ando, a citrus juice mixed with milk, to wash it all down.
Read Addison’s review of El Bacano.
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Round pasta with fringed edges in a red sauce in a white bowl
(Mariah Tauger / Los Angeles Times)

Funke

Beverly Hills Italian $$$
Chef Evan Funke’s eponymous Beverly Hills restaurant that’s featured on the 101 Best Restaurants guide was teased as a new addition in the 2024 Michelin California guide, though it’s yet to be announced if Funke will earn a star or Bib Gourmand recognition. The three-story restaurant that features a two-level pasta laboratory is an ode to handmade pasta and regional Italian specialties. If you can’t nab a reservation to the restaurant, try Bar Funke on the rooftop, which offers walk-in seats as well as reservations, including the full restaurant menu for reserved parties and at the bar. An abbreviated bar menu is available in the lounge area on the rooftop.
Read about the new additions to the 2024 Michelin California guide.
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Braised pork belly and other dishes on a table at Golden Soup
(Andrea D’Agosto / For The Times)

Golden Soup

San Gabriel Valley Chinese $$
If you want a behind-the-scenes look at where “The Brothers Sun” filmed one of its most impressive fight scenes, which took a week to shoot and involved dozens of stuntpeople, make a visit to Golden Soup, a Chinese banquet restaurant in San Gabriel Valley. By the time columnist Jenn Harris reaches the final stop on her tour with Justin Chien, who plays Charles Sun on the show, and Byron Wu, the show’s co-creator and writer, they’re already full of hot pot, churros and snacks from a 99 Ranch Market visit, but they still order eggplant with garlic sauce, fried pork chops with salt and pepper, braised pork belly with preserved cabbage, sautéed spinach, beef chow fun and steamed pork with salty fish. They end up with almost a dozen takeout containers.
Go on a San Gabriel Valley food crawl inspired by the Netflix series “The Brothers Sun.”
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A cardboard boat of sliced sausage, pickle spears, red onion, peppers, mustard, cheese and pretzels
(Jenn Harris / Los Angeles Times)

Joe Jost's

Long Beach American $
Long-standing Long Beach bar Joe Jost’s is preparing to celebrate its centennial in August. The no-frills dive has oddball decorations such as a mounted moose head and a surfboard, with pool tables in the back bar. When columnist Jenn Harris visited to try the famed pickled egg and take in the history on a Monday afternoon, the bar was crowded with locals as well as tourists purchasing branded merchandise. Harris recommends Joe’s Special, a split Polish sausage, cheese and mustard between two slices of rye bread, or you could try what the bartender calls Joe’s Special without the bread and compares to a charcuterie board. The dish features a chopped Polish sausage link, a round of red onion, fresh pretzels, cheese, pickle spears, banana peppers and mustard served in a paper boat. Add a pickled egg, which your server will dust with black pepper before handing it over.
Read about the legendary Long Beach bar Joe Jost’s.
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Hands hold a plastic container of six egg tarts.
(Andrea D’Agosto / For The Times)

Kee Wah Bakery

Monterey Park Bakery $
The second stop on columnist Jenn Harris’ San Gabriel Valley crawl with Justin Chien, who plays Charles Sun on the Netflix series “The Brothers Sun,” and the show’s co-creator and writer, Byron Wu, is Kee Wah Bakery in Monterey Park, which is featured on the first episode, when Charles Sun buys pastries to bring to his mother after arriving home from Taipei. Though Wu grew up in Seattle and Chien in Taipei and Hong Kong, they both agree that such bakeries are a familiar Asian experience. When they visited with Harris, the pair ordered trays of warm Portuguese-style egg tarts and Chien added two hot dog buns.
Bookmark all of the stops on Jenn Harris’ crawl inspired by “The Brothers Sun.”
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One hand seasons brisket on the grill at K-Team BBQ in Koreatown, while another spoons banchan.
(Stephanie Breijo / Los Angeles Times)

K-Team BBQ

Koreatown Korean Barbecue $$$
Owner Jenee Kim and managing partner Ryan Park have opened K-Team BBQ, a Korean barbecue restaurant that’s reminiscent of 1970s and ’80s Seoul with furniture and grills brought over from Korea. The duo also is behind popular Park’s BBQ, which is featured on The Times’ Hall of Fame list and won the 2023 Gold Award. Their newest opening focuses on pork cuts, which they noticed becoming more popular during visits to Korea. Though they had originally intended for K-Team to cater to a younger audience, the pair told reporter Stephanie Breijo that longtime Park’s customers are coming to K-Team to relive their youth and indulge in cuts such as pork jowl, belly and collar offered in both thin and thick cuts.
Read about Koreatown’s newest Korean barbecue restaurant.
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A round dish holds smaller round dishes and a pile of pita bread
(Danielle Dorsey / Los Angeles Times )

Layla

Santa Monica French Mediterranean $$
Located within the Beacon by Sonder hotel just off Ocean Avenue in Santa Monica, Layla is a Levantine-focused restaurant from chef Chris Sayegh, who gained attention for his 10-course cannabis-infused supper club in 2022. With an autumnal color palette and windows overlooking the beach, Layla presents as one of the best special-occasion dinner options along the tourist-friendly block, with recipes from Sayegh’s grandmother, after whom the restaurant is named. The wurrug dawali, or stuffed grape leaves, has already emerged as a favorite item, with lamb, rice and a seven-spice mix that derives from Jordan. The mezze plate is a must-order for the table, with aerated hummus, eggplant dip, avocado dip and an aerated house yogurt dip served with crudité and warm pita bread. Mains range from lamb tagine to dry-aged duck breast to grilled Mediterranean seabass, and the cocktail and wine menus take similar inspiration with an arak-spiked option and Lebanese-sourced wine available by the glass.
Read about Chris Sayegh’s Santa Monica restaurant.
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Three dishes from Little Fish at Echo Park's Dada Market: fish congee, potatoes, and cured-trout tartine
(Stephanie Breijo / Los Angeles Times)

Little Fish

Echo Park Seafood $
After a successful run at Smorgasburg L.A. and recently opening as a vendor in Echo Park’s Dada Market, Little Fish was one of the nine L.A. restaurants that will be spotlighted in the 2024 Michelin California Guide, though it hasn’t been announced yet whether the fish-focused pop-up will earn a star or Bib Gourmand status. Having a secure restaurant space has allowed Little Fish, helmed by Anna Sonenshein and Niki Vahle, to expand its menu, including brown cheese toast and fish congee in addition to fried fish sandwiches.
Read about the L.A. additions in the 2024 Michelin California guide.
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Food and tea from Liu's Cafe in Koreatown, including Chiayi chicken rice, wontons in chile oil and a pineapple bun
(Stephanie Breijo / Los Angeles Times)

Liu's Cafe

Downtown L.A. Chinese Bakery
The trailblazing Liu’s Cafe, a Hong Kong-style cafe and bakery that dips into Chinese and Taiwanese influence, was highlighted as an addition in Michelin’s 2024 California guide, though it has not yet been announced whether the cafe will earn a star or the value-driven Bib Gourmand award. The cozy restaurant from Long Hospitality’s Patrick Liu, Alex Park, Eddie Lee and John Kim features Hong Kong-style French toast, breakfast sandwiches and rice dishes topped with braised pork belly and hand-peeled chicken, plus a daily selection of pastries.
Read about the 2024 Michelin California guide additions.
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Three holubtsi, or stuffed cabbage rolls, in tomato sauce in a skillet at Ukrainian restaurant Mom, Please
(Stephanie Breijo / Los Angeles Times)

Mom, Please

Mid-Wilshire Ukrainian $$
A family-owned Ukrainian restaurant has expanded to a second location on La Brea with quaint mismatched furniture, wicker-wrapped light fixtures, a wooden rocking chair and patio seating under umbrellas. The all-day menu specializes in Eastern European staples such as mlyntksi, or crepes that can be topped with fresh fruit and custard or chicken and mushrooms; pelmeni dumplings stuffed with beef or chicken; cabbage rolls; and a lush borscht soup. Mom, Please also has a freezer case with dumplings and other items that can be cooked at home.
Read about the new location of Mom, Please.
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Two halves of a sandwich filled with vegetables, dairy-free cheese and animal-free meat
(Stephanie Breijo / Los Angeles Times)

Maciel's Plant-Based Butcher & Deli

Fairfax Vegan Deli $
The popular plant-based butcher shop from husband-and-wife team Maciel Ba?ales Luna and Joe Egender has expanded to a second outpost on Fairfax Avenue. The menu includes house-made meats and cheeses such as mesquite turkey, Mexican ribs and aged Camembert available in bulk, as well as breakfast burritos, cold and hot sandwiches, salads, soups, coffee drinks and a selection of aguas frescas. The sandwich shop also is popping up at nearby bar the Dime Thursday to Sunday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Read about the second outpost of Maciel’s.
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An assortment of Portuguese custard pastries on a plate
(Laurie Ochoa / Los Angeles Times)

Natas Pastries: Cafe and Bakery

Sherman Oaks Portuguese Bakery $$
Fatima Marques’ Natas Pastries opened nearly 20 years ago in Sherman Oaks, but thanks to a pivotal baked-goods moment in Emma Stone’s Oscar-winning performance in “Poor Things,” it’s grown in popularity beyond those already in the know. We wouldn’t recommend devouring as many pasteis de nata, or Portuguese custard tarts, as Stone’s character, Bella Baxter, does in the film, but it may be hard to limit yourself to just one of Marques’ version of the treat.

The bakery and cafe, which is open only Friday through Sunday, also serves savory Portuguese dishes, including caldo verde, sopa de pedra and, at dinner, four bacalhau or salt cod dishes, plus the seafood stew caldeirada and piri-piri chicken. Then there is the wild and extravagant Francesinha sandwich, a baroque take on a croque-madame, dripping with melted cheese, ham and Portuguese sausage, topped with an egg and molho de francesinha sauce made with tomato and beer. Fit for the appetite of Bella Baxter.
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A hand with chopsticks pulling noodles and beef from a steaming bowl of stew at Origin Korean BBQ in Koreatown
(Stephanie Breijo / Los Angeles Times)

Origin

Koreatown Korean Barbecue $$
Quarters has long been a favorite among Koreatown’s crowded Korean barbecue scene, and the latest restaurant from On6thAvenue Hospitality is already garnering similar attention. Located in the same plaza as Quarters in the former Baekjeong space, Origin Korean BBQ is inspired by 1960s Seoul, with set meals that include banchan, corn cheese and a signature soybean-paste brisket ramen. Classic Korean meats are available alongside specialties such as marinated beef short rib patty, thin pork belly and garlic-drenched short ribs.
Read about the latest opening from On6thAvenue Hospitality.
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A colorfully painted wall and a Pam Grief "Coffy" movie poster decorate the cafe Pam's Coffy at the Vista Theater
(Stephanie Breijo / Los Angeles Times)

Pam's Coffy

Los Feliz Coffee $
The newly opened cafe at filmmaker Quentin Tarantino’s Vista Theater is an homage to actor Pam Grier, who rose to fame in 1970s Blaxploitation films and crossed over into mainstream action hits such as “Coffy,” “Foxy Brown,” “The Big Doll House” and Tarantino’s 1997 “Jackie Brown.” Framed film posters hang on the walls and groovy touches include colorful murals and vintage decor, plus branded merchandise such as scented air fresheners and coffee mugs. The kitschy space is open from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. with coffee drinks, beer, wine, pastries and taquitos.
Read about Palm’s Coffy.
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A bowl of spaghetti alla chitarra with mussels and clams in a yellow sauce
(Stephanie Breijo / Los Angeles Times)

Pez Coastal Kitchen

Pasadena Mexican Seafood $$
Husband-and-wife duo Bret Thompson and Lucy Thompson-Ramirez have launched Pez Coastal Kitchen in Pasadena, a semiformal sister restaurant to their downtown Pez Cantina. While both restaurants put an emphasis on fresh seafood, Pez Coastal Kitchen expands from coastal Mexican cuisine to bring in European and Mediterranean influences. Along with chef Joe Gillard, Thompson is experimenting with curing, dry-aging and smoking at the new location, which guests can sample in dishes such as trout rillettes with caviar and a house-cured lox board for brunch. Mariscos include oysters, ceviche tostadas, campechana and aguachile, with entrées such as seared jumbo scallops topped with piccata sauce and a surf-and-turf molcajete. For cocktails, there’s a full menu of margaritas as well as seasonal drinks. Weekend brunch brings bottomless mimosas, rum punch bowls, sangria and margarita pitchers, plus chilaquiles and horchata French toast fingers.
Read about the opening of Pez Coastal Kitchen.
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A rectangular pepperoni and four-cheese pizza on a metal tray
(Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)

Quarter Sheets

Echo Park Pizza Bakery $$
An Echo Park pizzeria and cake shop that’s appeared for two years running on critic Bill Addison’s 101 Best Restaurants in L.A. guide has earned itself a mention in Michelin’s 2024 California guide. The always-buzzing restaurant from Aaron Lindell and Hannah Ziskin is walk-ins only for dine-in, though orders can be placed ahead of time for takeout. Pizzas lean Detroit-style, with circular bar pies offered occasionally. Don’t skip Ziskin’s signature princess cake.
Read about the new California additions to the 2024 Michelin guide.
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A plate of sliced roast duck with sauces and rice
(Stephanie Breijo / Los Angeles Times)

Roast Duck by Pa Ord

East Hollywood Thai $
Lawan Bhanduram of Pa Ord Noodle recently debuted her 11th restaurant, Roast Duck by Pa Ord, which sits in the space where she opened her first Pa Ord restaurant 26 years ago. Roast duck is the focus here: Chef Bob Vongfanikul marinates it in a secret sauce blend before air-drying it overnight, then roasting it for an hour — it took him over a decade to perfect the recipe. You can order the duck in noodle soups, salads, spicy stir-fries, curries and meal sets with rice or noodles. Just don’t delay — the ducks are first come, first served, and sell out quickly. Call in advance to place an order for a whole duck.
Read about Bhanduram’s new duck-focused venture in Thai Town.
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Two men hold upo a U-shaped churro
(Andrea D’Agosto / For The Times)

Street Churros

Monterey Park Desserts $
In the Netflix series “The Brothers Sun,” Justin Chien’s character Charles Sun has an obsession with churros, so it only made sense that he and Byron Wu, the show’s co-creator and writer, would take columnist Jenn Harris to Street Churros, a cafe in the Atlantic Times strip mall in Monterey Park, as part of a San Gabriel Valley food crawl that spotlighted items consumed and restaurants featured on the show. Wu told Harris that they chose to highlight churros because it feels like a quintessential L.A. dessert.
Take yourself on a San Gabriel Valley food crawl inspired by “The Brothers Sun.”
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A small bowl of uni-topped summer-corn chawanmushi at Sushi Sonagi in Gardena
(Stephanie Breijo / Los Angeles Times)

Sushi Sonagi

Gardena Sushi $$$
Less than a year after it opened in a Gardena strip mall, the Korean-influenced omakase at chef-owner Daniel Son’s Sushi Sonagi has been confirmed as a 2024 addition to Michelin’s California guide. The second-generation sushi chef said the inclusion is a win for Gardena, the city to which his family first immigrated and that he considers his hometown, but it also affirms that diners resonate with his unique, L.A.-specific take on sushi. For now, it remains a mystery whether Sushi Sonagi will earn a coveted star or be given the Bib Gourmand award. The reveal date and location for the 2024 California Michelin guide have yet to be announced.
Read about new additions to the 2024 Michelin California guide.
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Two whole two-tiered cakes with white frosting and decorated with flowers
(Susan Hoffman)

Sweet Lady Jane

Encino Bakery $$
Third-generation baker Julie Ngu and her husband, Matt Clark, are the new owners of the beloved bakery Sweet Lady Jane, whose six locations, stretching from Beverly Hills to Calabasas, closed abruptly in late 2023. Ngu, who brings experience running her parents’ French Pacific Bakery, has already rehired former staff and reopened four of the six locations. Though her parents’ bakery specializes in Chinese, French, Latin and Vietnamese desserts, Ngu will keep Sweet Lady Jane’s recipes the same, including the iconic triple berry cake. Cafe service is planned for select locations with breakfast items, salads, cakes and high tea.
Read about the new owners of Sweet Lady Jane.
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An al pastor taco at Tacos por Vida, served with radish and lime slices
(Stephanie Breijo / Los Angeles Times)

Tacos Por Vida

Palms Mexican $
In his first local food venture since 2016, chef Roy Choi has debuted Tacos Por Vida, a casual taco stand that’s reminiscent of the ones Choi frequented growing up in different L.A. neighborhoods. The handmade tortillas are a blend of flour and corn, with charcoal- and wood-grilled proteins such as steak, pork, chicken and mushroom that are finished with two salt blends. The asada marinade draws from multiple styles that Choi has both cooked and witnessed over the years; the al pastor is marinated in a blend of ingredients that includes gochujang, harissa, achiote, pineapple and green onions. After soft-opening at Kogi’s Palms taco stand in March, Choi is taking it slow, refining techniques and recipes, and will announce weekly pop-up dates on his personal Instagram. By Cinco de Mayo, he hopes to take the concept on the road across L.A. County.
Read about Roy Choi’s new taco stand.
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A man talks to people across a table laden with produce
(Stephanie Breijo / Los Angeles Times)

Topanga Farmers Market

Topanga Grocer $
After a six-year closure, the Topanga Farmers Market has reopened at the Topanga Community Center’s parking lot with nearly 40 vendors spanning heirloom beans, fresh-pressed tortillas, bread and seasonal produce. The farmers market was revived by Kate Kimmel and partner Frederika “Freddi” Swanson, two Topanga Canyon residents with a shared background in the nonprofit sector. The market features hyper-local options including Topanga-grown honey from Eli’s Bee Co. and vegan cheese products from Sweet Raw Life, plus prepared foods such as tamales and a?ai bowls and hand-crafted goods such as organic candles and sustainable cotton clothing. The market is held every Friday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Read about the reopening of Topanga Farmers Market.
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A hand uses chopsticks to stir meat in a pot of broth
(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)

Xiaolongkan Hot Pot

Alhambra Szechuan $$
The Netflix series “The Brothers Sun” centers on a Taiwanese family in San Gabriel Valley, and food plays a starring role. After watching the show, which sadly was not renewed for a second season, columnist Jenn Harris went on a food crawl with Justin Chien, who plays Charles Sun, and Byron Wu, the show’s co-creator and writer, to places featured on the show, as well as SGV favorites. You’ll spy the palatial Xiaolongkan Hot Pot on the third episode, with its ornate woodwork and marble tables.

After deciding that they didn’t want to sweat through their meal, Chien and Wu opted for mild tomato, golden and beef bone broths. They filled bowls with herbs and sauces from the condiment bar and waited for their food, including strips of Wagyu draped over a bowl of dry ice, to arrive on an elaborate cart. Chien, who grew up in Taipei and Hong Kong before moving to L.A. to attend USC, says it’s some of the best hot pot he’s had.
See where “The Brothers Sun” duo take Harris on their crawl.
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A gold tray holds dishes including sliced steak, with a statuette of a nude woman
(Stephanie Breijo / Los Angeles Times)

Zozo

Hancock Park Global $$$
A decade after the closure of his revered restaurant Rivera, chef John Sedlar has returned to L.A.’s dining scene in flamboyant fashion. Just opened on La Brea, Zozo is a globetrotting restaurant that sits in the middle of the Maison Midi home decor store. The menu is summarized as “cuisine of the sun” and highlights dishes and techniques from countries that sit along the equator, as well as his own Southwestern upbringing. At Zozo, heirloom corn tortillas are pressed with florals and ice cream is darkened with Zapotec mole. Mains range from a mushroom-stuffed chile relleno to a Santa Fe-style tamale with pork carnitas. The food arrives artfully plated on gold trays or on framed prints with miniature statues, and the beverage menu follows the thread with options such as a citric cocktail with Venezuelan rum and a South African aperitivo.
Read about John Sedlar’s new restaurant.
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