Autumn in Los Angeles is more like the dog days of summer, weather-wise. But the back-to-school energy is real, the in-season produce at the market is shifting (persimmons!), friends and colleagues are eager to catch up, and there’s plenty of dining to be done. So we put together a Fall Bucket List — a.k.a. everywhere we want to eat right now.
1. Savor the last few days of ideal outdoor dining…
… by making a reservation for dinner at All Time, where the idyllic open-air dining room sits on wood planks and overlooks the restaurant’s garden. The romantic vibe makes it perfect for date night, and the kitchen’s seasonal menu of sizable, share-worthy dishes is fitting for a group hang. Ask about the vegetable specials.
2. Toast to the new season with…
… a round (or two) of margaritas at Atla in Venice. This chic, all-day Mexican restaurant — from the globally renowned chef Enrique Olvera — is a new addition to Abbott Kinney, with a bar that makes a killer marg (in addition to palomas, mezcal mules, and micheladas). Pair that with herb-laden guacamole, fish a la talla, and suadero tacos, and you’re in for a great night.
3. Take a weekend trip to Ojai and dine at…
… Rory’s Place, where the raw bar and seasonal California cooking are exemplary, and The Dutchess for tea leaf salad, goat masala, and other Burmese-inspired fare. Dinner reservations at both will ensure a weekend of very good eating, as will a meal at Pinyon (whether it be bagels in the morning, hoagies during the day, or wood-fired pizza at night).
4. Or if you can’t get out of town, check out a neighborhood you haven’t been to in a while.
Say, Beverly Hills, where there’s plenty new afoot, from chef Evan Funke’s eponymous Italian restaurant Funke to acclaimed New York import Dante for pristine rooftop cocktails, and the new-and-improved Beverly Hills Cheese Shop for all your cheese and charcuterie needs.
5. Take in masterworks by Rembrandt and Picasso at Pasadena’s Norton Simon Museum, then refuel with…
… New York-style pies and cocktails at U Street Pizza. There is a lot to like about this casual, pizza-focused counterpart to pasta destination Union, including a Caesar salad with a dash of Calabrian chili oil, fried provolone with spicy marinara (a fancier cousin to mozzarella sticks), a chicken vodka parm, and soft serve swirls.
5. Indulge in fiery salads and comforting curries at…
… one of Night+Market’s three locations, where the atmosphere is ever-lively and the wine is always flowing. Order larb gai, som tum, and the crispy rice salad, followed by panang beef and sweet potato massaman, and perhaps a noodle, like the pastrami pad kee mao. Be sure to finish with mango sticky rice, so long as it’s still in season.
7. Hang onto summer Fridays with a power lunch at a Venice institution.
… a midday meeting at Gjelina is a bona fide L.A. power move. Order seasonally, share a pizza or two, and soak up the beachy, laid-back energy. Since it’s Friday, you may as well have a glass of wine and dessert — perhaps just a seasonal fruit plate or a scoop of housemade gelato.
8. Bring everyone together for dinner, then order for the table.
You can’t go wrong with Genghis Cohen when you’re dining with a big crew. The American Chinese restaurant allows Resys for up to 10 people in its dining room, outfitted with red leather booths and overhead lanterns, and boasts a sprawling menu that ranges from egg rolls to mu shu pork, shrimp chow mein, orange peel chicken, and Szechuan green beans. Better yet, there’s a full bar, so you can kick off dinner with a round of martinis.
9. Cozy up to a good book at these spots that are perfect for solo dining.
Anywhere with an inviting bar is a great bet for a solo meal. Try Sogo Roll Bar for unagi crispy rice and yellowtail hand rolls; sidle up for an expertly crafted cocktail and wood-fired Spanish-inspired plates at Bar Moruno, or a bowl of laksa followed by Vietnamese coffee pudding at Cassia. Pro tip: if you’ve yet to visit hot spot Queen St., you might have better luck nabbing a seat at the walk-in-only bar if you arrive alone.