Alma used to be a pop-up working out of an abandoned building. Most people drive right by it. But enough people stopped in and realized how incredible and daring Chef Taymor can be to make it permanent. And while it’s still on the upswing — it doesn’t have a sign outside, and the staff locker room happens to be the customer toilet — that hardscrabble chic lends itself well to the hipness of the place.
Zoolander was a prophecy. It helps that the food is so good — a tasting menu of salads, fish, and meat.
2. Night + Market – Kris Yenbamroong (West Hollywood)
Along with Ludo Lefebvre (see #7 below), Kris Yenbamroong is one of the most name-dropped new chefs in Los Angeles. It helps that he’s expanding — Night + Market Song just opened in Silverlake. But he made his name in this original location, whipping up awesome Thai food for the WeHo crowd.
In a town that prides itself on its international cuisines, Night + Market came up fast. There’s some debate over whether the portion sizes he serves are enough, but that just means he leaves people wanting more.
Sungold tomatoes, safflower oil, grilled tomatillo consomme at Saison. Photo: T.Tseng
3. Saison – Joshua Skenes (San Francisco)
When it comes to restaurants, clothes don’t make the man, but they certainly don’t hurt. And Saison knows this, because in this case, it gives the customer a clean view straight at what they’re eating.
The kitchen is open, with an old-timey look of copper pots and a custom wood-burning oven. Giant tanks in the dining room hold the live seafood to be eaten. It’s really just smart business — when the 18-course tasting menu costs $250 per person, people want to know what they’re getting into.
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