Globally diverse restaurants have always been one of L.A.’s greatest strengths. Independent and family-run places with distinct flavors and a clear sense of place are especially welcome now, but they’re also particularly vulnerable. Support spots like these and take a trip around the world without leaving your backyard. Let dineL.A. introduce you to 11 of the most enticing restaurants participating with special menus, now until September 18.
Alta Adams, Soul Food/Southern
Chef Keith Corbin helms the open kitchen at this photogenic West Adams restaurant from Daniel Patterson’s Bay Area based group. Alta Adams' skillet-fried chicken is the main event for weekend brunch and dinner, served with house-made Fresno chile hot sauce. Diners get a choice of soulful sides: rice and beans, collard greens or spicy cabbage. The dinner menu brackets those dishes with starters like black-eyed pea fritters with spicy herb sauce and desserts like coconut cake. The spacious back patio welcomes dineL.A. guests.
Bone Kettle, Indonesian
Surabaya born brothers Erwin and Eric Tjahyadi celebrate their heritage in Old Pasadena. Lunch centers on Indonesian fried rice, aka nasi goreng, which comes with a choice of satay or veggie and a drink. Bone Kettle takes dinner in modern, unexpected ways, providing choices for four courses that riff on dishes from the 17,508-island archipelago. Highlights for dineLA include kokoda, Fijian ceviche served with taro chips; blue crab cake toast dressed with laksa sauce; fatty brisket with noodles and broth, since dipping into the “bone kettle” is essential; and mango sticky rice with ice cream for dessert. Sidewalk tables are available.
Chao Krung Thai, Thai
L.A.’s oldest Thai restaurant dates to 1969 (1976 in its current location). Second-generation owners, chef Amanda Kuntee and sister Katy Noochlaor, updated Chao Krung’s design and menu. Their dineL.A. menu offers a choice of any two dishes from a seven-plate pool for lunch. Dinner adds seafood and steak to a larger mix and allows for three selections. Enticing dishes include mango salad with soft-shell crab and garlic lime dressing; shrimp pad Thai; and green curry with rib-eye. Chao Krung Thai offers outdoor dining, takeout, and delivery.
A substantial dineL.A. meal starring house-made pasta from Italian partners Stefano De Lorenzo and Lazzaro Marco Ferrari is available for takeout only near Santa Monica’s Third Street Promenade. Their “pasta party” feeds six people for either lunch or dinner and comes with pumpkin zucchette (pumpkin shaped), gramigna (twisted “weed) and calamarata (calamari shaped) pastas, along with three sauces: traditional tomato sauce, beef Bolognese, and basil pesto. Colapasta provides instructions for simple home preparation and can suggest the best pasta-sauce pairings. Dinner subs in Sardinian semolina & saffron gnocchi for calamarata and comes with an Italian wine choice and two Italian beer bottles
H&H Brazilian, Brazilian
This DTLA restaurant carries on meaty cooking traditions from the gauchos (South American cowboys), in this case from Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil. H&H starters include Brazilian classics like pão de queijo (tapioca flour cheese bread) and feijoada (bean and pork stew) From there, dashing servers shave 16 different organic meats, ranging from picanha, bacon-wrapped chicken, and lamb leg, plus grilled cinnamon pineapple and a secret menu item. Brazilian barbecue comes with side dishes and a choice of mousse for dessert: passion fruit or lemon. H&H’s dineL.A. menu is only available to patio diners.
Harold & Belle's, Southern
New Orleans native Harold Legaux and wife Belle opened Harold & Belle's in Jefferson Park in 1969 with just 12 tables. The family’s third generation leadership has increased the footprint and offerings, and still specializes in Cajun classics. Their textbook gumbo is available for dineL.A. and incorporates filé (sassafras powder), dark roux, sausage, ham, chicken, and blue crab. Beignets and a Hurricane - the cocktail, not the storm – make any meal feel like Mardi Gras, which is fun. They’re offering takeout and delivery from lunch through dinner.
Asim Bharwani prepares “Halal Desi street food” inside Crafted Kitchen, an Arts District ghost kitchen. Paratta’s signature dish fills the flaky, buttery Indian flatbread called lachha paratha with a choice of smoked and marinated proteins: thin-sliced Wagyu beef, chicken or paneer, all enticing options for dineL.A.’s main course. As they say on game shows: “But that’s not all!” Sides include chaat, gram flour dumplings dressed with toppings like tangy whipped yogurt, sweet and spicy chutney and papdi (fried crisps). For dessert, aromatic shahi pudding involves bread pudding enriched with saffron and rose custard, crushed pistachios and dried roses. Paratta’s dineL.A. menu is available for takeout and delivery.
Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger’s first Santa Monica effort since closing iconic beachside Border Grill features California and Tijuana influenced Mexican food. Socalo's crispy chicken chicharrones (skins) make the ultimate chips, especially when dipped in lemon créma or tangy avocado tomatillo salsa. Their campechana, a Mexican shrimp cocktail, is also a hit, as are vampiros, surf-and-turf tacos on cheese coated blue corn tortillas, topped with shrimp, steak, and salsa macha. Lunch focuses more on tacos, while dinner adds entrées like sea bass in tomatillo broth and strawberry tres leches cake. The duo’s dineL.A. menu is available for outdoor dining at sidewalk tables and beneath an umbrella-shaded, light-strung patio dining. Curbside pickup and delivery are also options.
A North Hollywood gem from chef JR Martin and wife Chiho, Tatang has become one of L.A.’s leading Filipino Food Movement players. For dineL.A., their takeout only menu packages an array of pulutan (drinking-friendly Filipino small plates). These meals are all-inclusive, meaning you don’t have to decide between chicken sisig, two pork belly preparations, brisket “jerky,” rice with three garlic ways, and sakahan vegetables with soy butter. Just sit back and enjoy it all. The dinner menu matches the lunch menu, but doubles portion sizes. More substantial supplements include torch-seared Wagyu skirt steak or tenderloin.
This fashionable French restaurant on the Sunset Strip features savory guidance from chef Raphael Francois and sweet contributions from pastry chef Sally Camacho Mueller. Tesse’s five-course, share-friendly menu alternates between enlightening seasonal flourishes and plates that pack more punch. Bucatini with bone marrow apparently wasn’t potent enough, so they added prosciutto and balsamic. Daurade royale also jumps off the menu, featuring Mediterranean sea bream plated (or boxed) with vadouvan, kohlrabi, sage, and a scone. For dessert, Camacho Mueller’s flourless chocolate cake with chocolate ice cream and warm Guittard chocolate sauce delivers the knockout blow. Tesse’s dineL.A. menu is available for outdoor dining, takeout, and delivery.
Toku Unagi & Sushi, Japanese
This high end Japanese import in West Hollywood put together a memorable five-course dineL.A. menu. Toku originated in eel haven Hamamatsu and is best known for unagi (freshwater eel), a prized specialty, particularly in their hands. This fourth course option features steamed and broiled fillet served over rice with signature sauce. Other notable choices include Japanese “ceviche” with yuzu marinade and grilled sea bass with sea urchin sauce. Everybody gets marinated grilled duck with braised hijiki (hearty wild seaweed) to start and crème brûlée - either vanilla or matcha – to finish. Toku has limited outdoor balcony seating.