Best new Los Angeles restaurants, bars and attractions to visit in 2022
Los Angeles is constantly evolving. What it was once a burgeoning metropolis surrounded by fragrant orange groves and boasting the best public transportation system in the world (yes, really) has been continually reshaped by each generation of newcomers who show up for one reason or another, end up discovering something completely different they love about the place, then add their own unique flavor to the mix.
So, if you want to talk about what’s new in Los Angeles, you kind of have to focus on what’s old at the same time.
Here are the five hottest spots in town right now:
USED TO BE: A place you went only if you were going to a Laker game, or the horse track
NOW: One of the hottest neighbourhoods in town
The city of Inglewood (remember – “LA” is a catch-all description for more than 90 cities within Los Angeles county) has gone through multiple versions of itself over the years: some good, others … not so much. Today, Inglewood is back with a vengeance. With the SoFi Stadium sports and entertainment complex serving as the 121ha, $5 billion anchor development, property values in the surrounding neighbourhoods have taken off. Anyone’s who’s moved house knows it can work up quite an appetite, and, thankfully Inglewood residents have some new restaurants to help out.
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Sunday Gravy is the product of brother/sister combo, Sol and Ghazi Bashirian, the children of an Iranian father who migrated to Los Angeles in the 1970s to become an airline pilot and ended up opening a pizza joint. Twelve Jino’s Pizza locations later, Sol and Ghazi have taken their father’s legacy one, delicious step further and are now serving up some of the most talked about food anywhere in town. Specialising in fresh pastas (try the short rib ragu) and warm welcomes, Sunday Gravy is barely 10km from LAX and ready to serve you a home-cooked meal so good you just might move here yourself.
USED TO BE: An ethnic foothold in a sprawling metropolis
NOW: A multi-ethnic co-operative showing us all how to get it right
Ironically, the roughly 5km section of LA known as Korea Town was never “only” Korean. Doubtless, this is one of the reasons “K-Town” is so successful, and where a vibrant and (literally) intoxicating mash-up of Mexican, Central American and Korean influences have found a home at Chapman Market just west of the CBD. A bustling hive of food, music, and fun, Chapman is an ideal place to hang before, and after a show at its equally beautiful, art-deco neighbor, the Wiltern Theater or for a stand-alone performance all its own. In the mood for Korean barbecue? Walk into Quarters and cook yourself some of the best bulgogi in the business. Looking to wet your whistle? Enjoy a soju-based cocktail (or three) at GAAM. Or get an early start at the (in)famous bottomless brunch at fabulously funky, Colombian/Korean fusion restaurant Escala from LA restaurateur and street food aficionado Chris Oh. Whichever you choose, all you have to do is sit back, relax, and enjoy the show.
3. 6400 SUNSET BLVD
USED TO BE: Amoeba Music
NOW: The Van Gogh Exhibit
Speaking of shows, the one getting the most buzz at the moment is The Van Gogh Exhibit currently housed at the old and extremely beloved Amoeba Music location. Currently touring the USA, the hour-long, deliciously immersive experience carries you so deeply into the world of Van Gogh’s masterpieces you’d swear you were made of acrylic and oil. Displayed across millions of cubic feet all around you, let yourself be drawn into the scenes Van Gogh captured so beautifully during his years in Paris, Provence and Antwerp. Feel the stress of the real world melt away as sunflowers blow in the wind, stars twinkle overhead and clouds float lazily by while you listen to musical selections from Thom Yorke, Edith Piaf and many more.
4. EXPOSITION PARK
USED TO BE: Home of Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum
NOW: Home of Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum … AND Banc of California Stadium
You already knew about the Lakers, Kings, Rams (maybe even the Chargers?), but did you know Los Angeles is a hot spot for soccer as well? The LA Galaxy brought the game to Los Angeles, then grew it into a champion with the help of superstars like Landon Donovan, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Robbie Keane and David Beckham at their ground in nearby Carson. But, lately, all eyes are on LAFC and its brand new, female, professional side, Angel City FC (set to begin play in 2022). Both share the wonderful Banc of California Stadium with its superb adjoining bar and restaurant complex, known as The Fields, and offer a kicking (sorry!) day out for the whole family all season long (April through November).
5. JOHNNY’S PASTRAMI
USED TO BE: A divey pastrami stand with legit sandwiches and burgers
NOW: A divey pastrami stand with legit sandwiches and burgers … and its own bar
To Angelenos, Johnny’s is a name as familiar as In-N-Out Burger with multiple locations serving up hot and savoury sandwiches across the Southland. One in particular, Johnny’s West Adams is taking its game to the next level by opening The Bar at Johnny’s directly next door. Stroll up to the food stand to order (pro tip: the half sandwich is usually more than enough pastrami), then head next door to pick the perfect cocktail or beer to go with it – and enjoy your lunch or dinner al fresco in the beautiful courtyard attached to it all.
It’s been a long two years and we’ve missed you all very much. So, get the jab, book your flight and get over here, will you? First round of pastrami is on me …
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