The 15 best new Los Angeles restaurants of 2018

Chef Ari Taymor’s L.A. arc is well-documented enough; suffice to say, after both iterations of Alma, then his nouveau-diner stint at the Standard in West Hollywood, none of us knew what would be next for the nationally acclaimed chef. And none of us saw his brunch-only pop-up coming. But from there, we probably should’ve expected Little Prince to flourish into the full-on, wood-fired restaurant that’s pumping out some of Taymor’s most exciting dishes yet. Dinner service was the natural evolution, but feels entirely unique: On weekends, fashionable crowds pile into the Contemporary American restaurant for green chia pudding and the salmon hash with seaweed hollandaise—in the evening, the menu is harder to pin down, each dish clearly a creation of Taymor but distinct and almost always surprising in its own way. Japanese sweet potato topped with coconut chips lulls you into a mellow sense of security before you’re hit with the base sauce of coconut yogurt packed with fresh citrus and Indonesian spices. The sunchoke split is easily one of the most intriguing and confounding desserts in L.A. right now, with its candied sunchokes, smoked ice cream and ash meringue perplexing the tongue. Little Prince seems to be a sleeper hit to all but those in Santa Monica, and there’s no reason they should have all the fun.

andrew noel