Want to impress your date without breaking the bank? Feeling like you’re missing out on LA’s epic food scene?
College students of LA face a dilemma. This cosmopolitan city is home to arguably the most eclectic and dynamic dining scene in the country but our pockets are often empty and we don’t often get a taste of the good stuff. Cue Dine LA, the city’s restaurant week, running from January 18th-31st. This two week event allows diners to experience some of the finest food in the city for a fraction of the usual prices. This essential list will cover some of LA’s best fine dining restaurants taking part in Dine LA’s lunch and dinner deals.
Cleverly abbreviated to emphasize the ever popular restaurant’s mastery of all three meals of the day: breakfast, lunch, and dinner, BLD has taken the city by storm ever since it opened its doors in 2006. For only $25, BLD’s lunch menu will feature a two course meal with choices ranging from spinach risotto and duck confit salad, to its famous Basque cod and beef fillet. An even better deal is to include a delicious dessert of either Apple Tarte Tatin or Chocolate Glazed Donuts for a three course $29 meal at dinner time.
2. Blue Plate Taco
Blue Plate Taco is one of the thirty most Instagrammed restaurants in LA and for good reason. Located at the Shore Hotel in Santa Monica, this restaurant serves only organic meats, fresh salads, ceviches, and other Mexican specialties. For just a $25 two course menu, one can choose from starters like hand-rolled chicken flautas and tuna ceviche, to seafood enchiladas, or carne asada To make the most of a venue that boasts stunning ocean front and sunset views, one can have dinner for $29 including a dessert choice of chocolate pot de creme or churros.
FOH, a restaurant term for “front of the house”, is a modern eatery in Downtown LA featuring upscale Mexican fare. FOH’s Dine LA lunch menu allows diners to choose two items from eight specialties for only $15 including seafood tacos, black angus and pork belly FOH burger and a delicious deconstructed brownie with key lime cream, berries, balsamic and basil. The $29 dinner menu involves a three course menu that is much more varied in its offerings with the likes of the famous duck pibil and lobster tamales.
4. Gracias Madre
Gracias Madre is already an institution in LA known for serving plant-based, organic Mexican cuisine made from locally sourced ingredients. For only $15, diners can choose from two items including gorditas, winter empanadas and more vegan specialties. A $29 dinner menu includes options from heart of palm crab cakes, and fudge brownie or Mexican wedding cookies for dessert. Do not let the plant-based menu fool you! Gracias Madre has been ranked one of the best new restaurants in LA as a must-try not just for vegans but for all restaurant-goers.
Hanjip is a new, up and coming joint in Culver City gaining a reputation for its high end interpretation of Korean BBQ. Although an intimidating $$$ status on Yelp, Hanjip’s Dine LA deal is a sure steal with a $15 lunch deal that includes a customized rice and meat bowl as well as banchan (side accompaniments). The $29 dinner deal involves choosing from sides such as seafood pancake, and bone marrow corn cheese. It may not seem much but inside sources tell us that this is one of the best bang-for-your buck deals this January.
Inotheke is a chic and sunny communal spot for contemporary Greek food & small plates, that also boasts an eclectic wine list. Eater LA has listed this newly inaugurated space as a restaurant not to miss during Dine LA. Appetizer options include potted duck, Greek salad, and fava borttaga while one can choose from entrees of lamb salad, roast chicken, or moussaka. A $29 dinner menu comprises alterations among the appetizers and entrees to comprise Tuna Lukarda, Pork Youvarlarkia, and dessert options of Baklava or Galaktoboureko. Not sure what those are? Pay Inotheke a visit in Santa Monica to discover authentic Greek fare with a modern twist.
KazuNori, The Original Hand Roll Bar, is the new brain child of legendary Chef Nozawa, who brought us the immortal SUGARFISH. For an intimate dining experience in which you can watch the chef make your hand roll in front of you and then pass it from behind the counter, KazuNori is offering a $15 lunch deal that includes three hand rolls and a sashimi as well as a $29 dinner deal encompassing six hand rolls and a sashimi of the day. These delectable signature dishes encoporate compilations like lobster, crab, shrimp, and salmon hand rolls and are not to be missed. These are some of the best hand rolls in town!
8. Mama Shelter
Don’t let the grungry exterior of this boutique hotel located on a rather sketchy street off of Hollywood Boulevard deter you. Mama Shelter disguises a hip and trendy new restaurant with an exposed kitchen as well as a lively little bar that is great for hosting large groups. The waiters are charming and attentive, and the Dine LA lunch and dinner menu is as epic and generous as it gets. For $15, choose between tortilla soup and an assortment of fresh salads as well entrees such as Croque Madame, and seared salmon for a satisfying lunch out. A wonderful three course dinner that I had the chance to try out myself came out at $29. This entailed choices from duck confit and braised short ribs (the best I’ve ever had), as well as a brownie with salted caramel ice cream that was to die for. Not to be missed: a post-meal game at an eight person foosball table!
9. Summer Fish and Rice
Chef Pisan delivers an original and contemporary take on Sushi and Japanese cuisine at Summer Fish and Rice. A $$$ Yelp status indicates a high end dining experience but fear not. Dine LA allows us the ultimate luxury dining in this space for a fraction of the cost with lunch and dinner steals priced at $15 and $29 respectively. Choose from fresh signature hand rolls like the crazy crab and killer roll, sushi and sashimi of the day, as well as meals such as grilled sea bass and the rib eye teriyaki. Make sure you stick around for the green tea, mango, or nutella cheesecake desserts as well.
10. Taste on Melrose
Taste on Melrose has become an iconic establishment for farmer’s market-influenced American comfort cuisine with a sophisticated twist. For an incredible three course lunch at just $20, choose from starters like Tuscan bean soup and wild arugular quinoa salad, mains like the famous “Kobe” meatball sub, and delicious desserts including daquaise and Taste’s epic chocolate Brioche bread pudding featured above. For an elegant dinner experience, choose from a more varied menu including grilled swordfish, and prime flat iron steak.
For the full list of restaurants participating in this event, visit the Dine LA website. Remember to take part in the Dine.Snap.Win challenge and post a picture of your Dine LA dish on Instagram at #dinela for a chance to win 250,000 American Airlines AAdvantage miles. Get you grub on!