Food Flash

Best Restaurants in L.A. 2018

Power Diner Extraordinaire and Blogger Ron Winters Picks L.A.'s Top Tables of 2018.

Will these picks help resolve our ongoing debate on whether NYC or L.A. has got the best. You decide.

BlackSmiths      117 Winston St Los Angeles, CA 90013

Everything is made in-house including the charm and genuinely friendly welcome.

The Food: Commander’s Palace “kickin’ it up a notch”.

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Black Cat and Red Mac.

Blackened Catfish of Amazonian proportions and all buried under a Tomato based Cajun Sauce. Not for the timid,

OtoƱo    715 N Figueroa St Los Angeles, CA 90042

This is a jumpin’ tapas bar, So, are you in Barcelona? Si, como La Rambla. 

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The Pollo Ahumado  (Roasted Smoked Chicken Bone-In Thighs) was positively magisterial and one of the best dishes being offered in L.A. today.

These thighs will be good for your thighs and who cares if they aren’t. They’re so good it’s worth an extra hour on the treadmill.    

Makani    512 Rose Ave Venice, CA 90291

Makani…if there is any question as to whether L.A. is now the country’s food Mecca, this place should put that issue to bed.  Walk in, look around, it’s a casting call for Fast and Furious 10. The food is glorious. It is billed as Korean with an L.A. flair, but toss in some Malay, Singaporean, Middle Eastern and whatever Chef  Kevin Lee yanks off the spice rack.

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Crispy Duck Confit 

With Kimchi Bacon Rice, Spigarello, (Broccoli’s half sister), Pear slices, and Nori Goma Furikake which is really a rice sprinkle of Bonito flakes, Sesame Seeds and Salt with Chili dust. The Duck was truly exceptional. Makani is whispering “Ronnie, come back!” I will, first chance I get.   

Bavel      500 Mateo St Los Angeles, CA 90013

Bavel exceeds expectations at every level. The Food: Oh, and what food! Nothing like it. Period. It was here I had the best dish of 2018 …

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Lamb Neck Shwarma

With Tahini-Creme Fraiche, Fermented Cabbage, Pickled Turnips, Zhoug and a Laffa raft as big as a tournament Frisbee underneath soakin’ and soppin’ juices. Uber from your hovel to Bavel…now.


The Exchange   
416 West 8th St Los Angeles, CA 90014

A confident kitchen headed by Chef Alex Chang.  Chang is Chinese/Mexican dishing out his take on Israeli cuisine. Who says there can’t be peace in the world.

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Burned Eggplant mixed with slightly charred greens, Bonito Flakes, and Thompson seedless Grapes with Hot Harissa and Zhoug .

 I sent the plate back so clean they could have reused it without washing it. 


Shibumi   
815 S Hill St  Los Angeles, CA 90014

I returned to have the only AOC approved real deal Kobe Beef. Shibumi is one of 13 restaurants in the country that has it, and after the retirement of Kobe Bryant, the only place in L.A. that has true Kobe. 

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Shibumi is without peer in capturing the timeless vision and artistry of Japanese cuisine. There is no better interpreter of this than Chef Schlosser. 

Culina   300 S Doheny Dr Los Angeles, CA 90048

Culina is an upscale dining destination with food that delivers in a  luxurious and comfortably sophisticated setting in the Four Seasons Hotel.

Chef Luca Moriconi runs the kitchen and is an under the radar treasure. Try to catch a window when his Mum shows up to check on her baby. She will create a special menu and then cook it herself. Mamma Moriconi and Chef Luca are good evidence that there is a God. 

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The Halibut should be eaten just for the “halibut”. This could not have been better if Eric Rippert manned the spatula. Cooking Halibut is no easy trick. Blink and it’s fishy sawdust. Here, underneath the crispy skin seared just right you will find it moist and meaty.

Honorable Mentions. They are still on my list of L.A.’s best although I didn’t review them again in 2018.

Spago… order off  the menu the Wiener Schnitzel served the traditional way with Capers, Lemon, Anchovies, and Chopped Parsley.

Osteria Mozza… is Nancy Silveton’s high end Italian spot. (Order the off menu Baby Lamb Chops and eat them with your hands). Go low down and have the Spaghetti Carbonara.

Felix Trattoria … is upscale Italian.  Have the Sficione. You don’t even have to know what it is. Just order it. The best Cacio e Pepe on the  planet. Okay..Sficione is focaccia, but not like you’ve ever had it or imagined it. Best Italian in L.A. and probably in the Country. Not to be missed. Now try and get a table.

Trois Mec…has the best tasting menu in the City.  Chef Ludo Lefebvre’s ode to Burgundy reanimated.  His Duck breast course is spectacular– right out of Seinfeld. Period. And so is everything else.

Le Petit Trois ….also by Chef Ludo is  right next door also makes the cut.  The best French Bistro in the City and probably as good or better than most of them in Paris. The Steak Frites is sublime !

 

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