The 2021 edition of the 101 Best Restaurants in LA is here. Read it online now, find it part of this Sunday’s print edition if you are a subscriber, or purchase the beautifully photographed and crafted version from the Times online store.
Every year this tentpole project is a colossal, hands-on task, and for each of my three years as a reviewer at The Times the guide has required a different strategy. This came together amid the obvious nuances and challenges facing the restaurant industry in reopening dining rooms amid an ongoing pandemic. I ate at each of the restaurants between July and October (and then a few of course; reducing the list to just 101 is an increasingly painful process). The talent, the resilience and the heart that I experienced while cooking overwhelmed me again and again.
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Early on in the planning process, it was important to include a few other voices shedding light on the city’s culinary culture. As you plan your next meal, read Carolina A. Miranda about the designer whose cart could transform the way street vendors sell tamales; Donovan X. Ramsey on creating a historic tasting menu series that featured in Netflix’s “High on the Hog”; and Esther Tseng, an organization that supports restaurant workers who are part of the city’s diverse and often invisible indigenous communities.
My ride-or-die colleague Jenn Harris named some of our favorite places to drink (alcohol and others) and I slipped into 11 of my favorite pop-up operators whose ingenuity and out-the-box approach to the future of how we’re going to eat in Los Angeles.
Eat your way through LA
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A few behind-the-scenes names you should know, without which this beast wouldn’t exist: reigning food editor Alice Short, lead designer Kay Scanlon (take a second look at the gorgeous dish cover photo by Minh Phan’s Phenakite , our restaurant of the year), cameraman Kate Kuo and her team (including photographer Mariah Tauger, the u who oversaw the daunting online build.
I hope the guide takes you to many excellent meals and helps you frame the city’s profound culinary wonders. I’m already thinking about the list for next year. And keep an eye out for weekly reviews that may be resumed soon.
It’s tamale season. Daniel Hernandez and I sped together and separately through the city to name new sources for outstanding tamales.
Ben Mims’ Week of Meals series returns with recipes from Susan Vu, a recipe developer, food stylist and culinary producer based in Los Feliz. The mix includes shrimp boil in a sheet pan, suon ram man (Vietnamese caramelized spare ribs cooked in a pressure cooker) and nori wraps with baked, flavorful peanut tofu.
Stephanie Breijo takes a look at the new Blossom Market Hall in San Gabriel, with stalls like Yonette Alleynes Caribbean Gourmet and Kyu Yis Burnt Belly Barbecue, and shares how a wave of vandalism has affected restaurants across the city.
Finally, James Rainey writes about Senate Bill 1383, which went into effect Jan. 1, “mandating that Californians throw unused food, coffee grounds, eggshells, banana peels, and other scraps into bins for other ‘green’ waste such as garden trash “. , Lawn clippings and leaves. “
Dishes from Susan Vu’s recipes from the Week of Meals series.
(Lindsay Kreighbaum / For the time)