The 20 Best Meals In Los Angeles V5.0

In which updates are made to my yearly list of favorite places to eat in Los Angeles.

Let me get this out of the way right now. Yes, I know there are more important lists for me to be working on right now — like my Best Albums Of 2018…So Far list, and my Best Beers of 2018…So Far list — but those things take way longer to compile than this does. Hopefully next week I’ll have a chance to publish those posts. For now, you’re stuck with this one. Sorry, readers who don’t live in Los Angeles.


When it comes to LA, there are plenty of resources one might consult when deciding where to eat a particular meal. Most people just instinctively trust that-guy-with-the-Pulitzer from the Times, even though many of us know better. Kevin Eats offers great photos. EaterLA regularly updates their “heatmap,” which provides a list of the hottest restaurants in the city at a given time. They also offer a list of the 38 best restaurants in the city at a given time. There are other blogs offering other lists. Some are broken down by category (San Gabriel Valley Chinese Food! Taco Trucks! $$$$!), some are divided by meals (lunch! brunch! other meals!).

An acquaintance told me he started his own website to chart his favorite spots in town, which he called “Twenty Meals.” The idea was incredibly simple: “A list of places to eat in Los Angeles” (it has since been deleted). No pretensions, no rules, just a list of his twenty favorite places to eat in the city. I liked the idea so much I decided to copy it and make it a regular (as in, updated…sometimes) feature on this website.

Version 1.0 of this list was limited strictly to places whose mailing addresses officially state “Los Angeles, CA” as the city. Until somebody says otherwise I’m going to stick with this criteria. Sure, that means some great places I have tried (Cassia, Felix, Michael’s, etc.) are not going to appear on the list. Maybe next time I’ll change up the criteria for inclusion. Because, honestly, is MB Post that much more of a hassle to get to than Tsujita? One is further west, but one is like two blocks west of the 405 (ugh).

Like in any venture, Version 5.0 is vastly different from Verison 4.0, mostly because I haven’t updated this list in two years. New Additions Are Marked By An *

Restaurants that appeared on list 4.0 which have “dropped off” this list: Howlin’ Rays (I can no longer in good conscience recommend anyone wait in line 2 hours for a sandwich), Lukshon, Manuela, Odys & Penelope

Restaurants that appeared on list 3.0 which have “dropped off” this list: Hinoki And The Bird, Meals By Genet, Horse Thief BBQ, Red Medicine (closed), Pine & Crane, Plan Check Kitchen + Bar, Red O, ink., Little Beast, Cacao Mexicatessen.

Restaurants that appeared on list 2.0 which have “dropped off” this list: Allumette (sadly closed), Hungry Cat, Valerie Echo Park, The Heart + The Hunter, Dan Sung Sa.

Restaurants that appeared on list 1.0 which have “dropped off” this list: Square One, Maximiliano, Church & State, Eastside Market Italian Deli, and Yang Chow.

Without further ado, here’s volume five of my favorite places to eat in Los Angeles:

Chi Spacca
Smorgasburg LA
Guerilla Tacos
AOC Wine Bar
Republique *
Golden State

Aburiya Raku
Here’s Looking At You *
Myung In Dumplings
Pizzeria Mozza
Gwen *
Pollo a La Brasa
Vespertine *
Night Market + Song

And for good measure, because I’m in a list-making mood, here are the five best meals I had anywhere in 2018. If the list seems tame compared to years past it’s because I just haven’t had that many opportunities to dine at three Michelin star restaurants recently. SORRY.

05. Giovanni’s Shrimp Truck; Oahu, HI
04. Jockey Hollow Bar & Kitchen; Morristown, NJ
03. Republique; Los Angeles, CA [Swan Fungus Review]
02. Native; Santa Monica, CA
01. Vespertine; Los Angeles, CA [Swan Fungus Review]

There’s a lot still on my list to try for 2018. It’s going to be a very fattening rest of the year.

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