pok pok
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Pok Pok (Los Angeles, CA)

Pok Pok was one of the city’s most anticipated restaurant openings this year. It has become one of the must-visit restaurants in Portland since opening 10 years ago. Since then, the restaurant and chef have been given numerous awards including chef Andy Ricker winning the James Beard award for Best Chef Northwest in 2011 and the New York location garnering a Michelin star this year. Los Angeles is the third city to have Ricker’s popular restaurant, following the opening of his Phat Thai street food concept at the end of last year.

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Church & State (Los Angeles, CA)

Church & State was one of the first really exciting restaurants to open into the reinvigorated Arts District of downtown. With Walter Manzke in the kitchen, the restaurant was an immediate success. The neighborhood has had a ton of new development over the years, but Church & State has been a standby serving classic French bistro food. The restaurant celebrated its seventh anniversary last week and rolled back prices to 2008 levels in celebration. It’s been a long five years since I dined at the restaurant, so a revisit was long overdue.

Maccheroni Republic
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Maccheroni Republic (Los Angeles, CA) [2]

I’ve been to Maccheroni Republic a number of times for their fresh, housemade pastas at great prices. The restaurant quickly gained in popularity since opening in late 2012, drawing lengthy lines at the no-reservations spot. I still stop in once a while, though primarily for an early weekday lunch in order to avoid any wait. This post recaps two of my previous lunches.

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Sushi Tsujita (Los Angeles, CA)

Sushi Tsujita opened about a year ago and was the third LA restaurant from the Tsujita group. The first two restaurants are popular noodle bars; I’ve been a huge fan of the tsukemen they serve (even trying it in Tokyo a few years back). However, this restaurant is something a little different – a refined sushi bar. Reviews of the restaurant have been strong thus far, so a visit was in order.

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Aburiya Raku (Los Angeles, CA)

Raku is one of the year’s most exciting restaurant openings for me; I never expected to see this place in Los Angeles. I’ve enjoyed the restaurant a handful of times since it opened in Las Vegas’ Chinatown 2008. In its early stages, it was a fairly unassuming ‘locals spot’ in a Chinatown strip mall. The restaurant steadily gathered a very devoted following and national acclaim, following up with a Raku Sweets concept in 2013 and this second location of Raku that opened just last month.

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Michael Tusk & Marc Vetri @ Providence (Los Angeles, CA)

This year, Providence is celebrating its 10th anniversary. To celebrate the occasion, the restaurant held a three-part guest chef series. The first one was last month featuring Dominique Crenn (Atelier Crenn in San Francisco) and Suzanne Goin (Lucques), while this one brought chefs Michael Tusk (Quince in San Francisco) and Marc Vetri (Vetri in Philadelphia) into the restaurant. Rounding out the series will be a dinner next month featuring David Kinch (Manresa in Los Gatos) and Mauro Colagreco (Mirazur in France).

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