20 L.A. Restaurant Recipes to Cook Now

Many of you know, probably via my Instagram, I’ve moved from San Francisco to Los Angeles. I’m loving it. Although, being lost most of the time (especially driving) is a challenge. We’re settling in, and exploring the region is super exciting. We even have a bit of a sliver of sun-kissed yard for the first time in over twenty years – Arabian jasmine, gardenias, pomegranate, and a passionfruit vine! Because of the work being done on the house, we’ve been eating out more, and there have been many times when I found myself saying, “this XXXX tastes incredible, everyone should try this.” Enter today’s post. A collection of recipes from some of my favorite restaurants in L.A. I haven’t been here long, and Los Angeles is huge, so please, consider this a first pass. An excuse to invite some of the amazing cooks and chefs, and their Cali-sensibility, into your own kitchen in the coming weeks and months.  

1. Carrot Juice Cavatelli, Tops Salsa & Spiced Pulp Crumble – (Rustic Canyon) Jeremey Fox’s cookbook is A+ (so many great ideas) and this was the first thing I cooked from it.

2. Mushroom Toast + Grilled Kale with Shallot-Yogurt Dressing & Toasted Hazelnuts – (Gjusta / Gjelina) The Gjusta / Gjelina empire is a must-visit anytime you find yourself in Venice. Whether it’s pizza at Gjelina or baked awesomeness at Gjusta, you can bring some of the magic into your own kitchen. Hard to choose between the mushroom toast recipe and the kale salad though.

3. Medicinal Miso, Shiitakes + Sea Vegetables – (Plant Food + Wine) A restorative miso soup perfect for short winter days.

4. Spinach Balanzoni with Brown Butter and Sage – (Felix) Wayne kept refreshing the Resy app and somehow managed to get us a prime-time reservation at Felix a few months back when we were staying near Venice. The meal was spot-on. Pasta inspiration forever. Excited for the book to come.

5. Grilled Asparagus and Brie Grilled Cheese – (Butcher’s Daughter) Even though its roots are in New York, Butcher’s Daughter feels like the perfect L.A. spot. I’ve had several great “easy” lunches and dinners there, and like the idea of this grilled cheese at home.

6. Roasted Carrot, Heirloom Bean and Farro Salad + Baked Onions with Fennel Bread Crumbs – (Nancy Silverton) One of the indisputable queens of L.A. food. And one of the people I’d most want to raid the wardrobe of. 🙂 I can’t pick just one recipe, so check out this bean-focused dish (pictured here via Steve of Rancho Gordo) alongside her fabulous baked onions.

7. Pomelo Salad with Chile, Lime, Peanuts, and Coconut – (Night + Market) I’ve written about Kris Yenbamroong’s curry paste from the Night + Market cookbook. Next up a bright citrus-y salad when you need a break from winter dreariness.

8. Almond Oats with Muesli and Skyr – (Destroyer) One of the most interesting lunches I’ve had in L.A. Or anywhere. I’m not the only one waiting impatiently for a cookbook, but I found this oats recipe, which is a sample of how Jordan Kahn reinvents the ordinary.

9. Chopped Salad – (Gracias Madre) Gracias Madre love forever. I miss living close enough to walk to the San Francisco location. Needless to say, this chopped salad is going into full rotation asap.

10. Punjabi-Spiced Pumpkin – (Badmaash) A  fresh take on pumpkin to switch things up this winter.

11. Gem Lettuce Salad with Chilli, Parmesan and Bread Crumbs – (Jon and Vinny’s) I can’t say no to a little gem salad and this recipe took L.A. by storm before I landed.

12. Kimchi Fried Rice – (Baroo) Multiple friends told me that I had to try Baroo before I arrived. It was at the top of my list…and it closed weeks before I was able to get it together and get there. This recipe with pineapple salsa gives a hint at what the hype was about. I’m one of many eager to see what chef Kwang Uh’s next chapter is.

13. Turkish-ish breakfast – (Kismet) I love a savory breakfast over sweet every time. Full stop. This Turkish breakfast from the Kismet ladies accurately re-creates what I miss from Istanbul.

14. Sorrel Pesto Rice – (Sqirl) Yes to all things sorrel. Love that sour note and its electric greenness. And yes to Sqirl. Whenever possible. And thanks to Jessica’s cookbook, and recipes like this, you can have more Sqirl in your own kitchen. After you get the recipe, check out the fun interview on Meike Peters’ fantastic blog. (Stay for the profile of Farmlot 59, which is a local fav here in Long Beach.)

15. Zhoug – (Mh Zh) It was a warm evening post Spring EPCF, and Mh Zh (pronounced like mez-zeh, I think) has only a handful of seats. We sat outside on chairs sinking into the gravel, plates piling up on our oil drum table,  people were hiding the beers they BYO’d and everything was perfect.

16. Sesame Ginger Matcha – (Moon Juice) For the matcha-heads.

17. Our Favorite Romesco – (Botanica) Love these ladies and everything they’ve built at Botanica. Spot on food, service and the space itself is perfect for a meal anytime of day. For all of you outside L.A. – they have a great recipe section on their site. 

18. Sweet Potato Tacos – (Guerrilla Tacos) I’ve only had a chance to have these once at Guerrilla Tacos, now it’s time to make them at home.

19. Roasted Rainbow Cauliflower Tacos – (Trejo’s Tacos) It’s L.A., so we have to have one celebrity sighting – Danny Trejo’s taco spot isn’t just a vanity project – it’s well-loved. Vegan tacos are a bit of a thing down here, so check out this taco recipe.

20. Homemade Horchata – (Ana Maria’s) Check out Ana Maria’s in the famed Grand Central Market. I’m (slowly) working on an L.A. guide, in the meantime, it’s safe to say – no culinary visit to LA is complete without a stop at here.

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