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Guide To The Best 2018 Winter dineL.A. Deals

January 12 marks not only the triumphant return of dineL.A., but the 10th anniversary of the event. Around the city, dineL.A. is a serious food holiday, with many Angelenos planning their social calendars around the bi-annual foodie extravaganza. This winter's 15-day dining event (happening January 12-26) will once again showcase the diversity of culinary talent found across the city, and reflect over the last decade of L.A.'s established food scene, as well as continue the event's tradition of embracing restaurant newcomers.

Diners are welcomed to over 300 participating restaurants, where special lunch and dinner menus await. Two or more course lunches are offered at $15, $20, or $25, and three or more course dinners range from $29, $39, $49. With so many options, we've rounded up some of the best places to visit, spanning the culinary spectrum.

Where to Dine
(credit: Elizabeth Lippman/Border Grill)

Border Grill
Downtown L.A.
Cuisine: Mexican

Border Grill is a dineL.A. OG, having participated in the celebration from the very start. Susan Feniger and Mary Sue Milliken continue to offer up the restaurant's best this winter at Border Grill's downtown location with lunch ($20) and dinner ($29) options. Both menus feature appetizer choices like a chorizo Octopus Diablo and impossible meat-filled albondigas, and entrees of sustainable seasonal Market Fish Bowl, Carnitas Nortenas, and a Winter Farm Salad.   

(Credit: Celestino)

Celestino Ristorante
Cuisine: Italian

Celestino fanatics have grown accustomed to the warm greeting from owner Calogero Drago when they decide to spend a night dining at this Pasadena eatery. With terrific Italian food, it's one of L.A.'s top Italian restaurants. Celestino will be serving a special dineL.A. lunch menu with items including a sliced fresh mozzarella and tomato salad, a mixed vegetable soup, as well as entree's like a risotto with fresh porcini mushrooms, gnocchi with lobster sauce, and a pork tenderloin. Save room for dessert though! A flourless chocolate cake, cannolis and a panna cotta is on offer!

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(Credit: The Bellwether)

The Bellwether
Studio City
Cuisine: American (New)

"Top Chef" Master and Executive Chef Ted Hopson is featuring a diverse dinner menu ($29) this season, complete with fan favorites and signature dishes. Diners can choose three plates from ten different dishes ranging from a Thai chili tempura cauliflower, grilled skirt steak with blistered shishito peppers, and a seasonally appropriate saffron-mushroom ragu with creamy fontina polenta. Expert Beverage Director Ann-Marie Verdi will help you wash it down with something amazing from the bar.

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Santa Monica
Cuisine: Mediterranean

If you want to go Greek this week, Santa Monica's Inotheke is serving up refined mediterranean meals in a small plate format. Owner Carolos Tomazo hails from the island of Cyprus, and has brought his modern take on Greek cuisine to his downtown Santa Monica shop. Lunch ($20) features classic dishes like dolmades, moussaka, and spanakopita, while the dinner menu ($29) offers the aforementioned items, as well as the restaurant's popular octopus salad and lamb and orzo salad, as well as ahi tuna hummus and baklava.

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(credit: Ray's & Stark Bar)

Ray's & Stark Bar
Cuisine: Mediterranean

Located just a few steps from LACMA's iconic Urban Lights installation, Ray's and Stark Bar features creative, globally-inspired cuisine from Executive Chef Fernando Darin. Their $29 pre-fie dinner menu includes the fan favorites Blake Kale Salad and Margherita Pizza, and also includes your choice of one of Ray's signature cocktails.

(Credit: Rob Stark)

West Hollywood/Beverly
Cuisine: Californian

Recipient of the James Beard Foundation's "Who's Who of Food & Beverage in America 2017" award, chef Suzanne Goin is serving up both lunch ($25) and dinner ($49) dineL.A. menus at her acclaimed a.o.c. restaurant. Both menus include the restaurant's mouthwatering Spanish fried chicken, and desserts of butterscotch pots de creme or chocolate tortas with coffee cream (additional $6 for lunch). a.o.c.'s dinner menu also offers an optional Green Goddess cocktail ($10) or wine pairing ($20) to round out a perfect meal.

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(Credit: Rob Stark)

West Hollywood
Cuisine: Californian

Another one of James Beard Foundation's Outstanding Chef Suzanne Goin's restaurants is a must-try at this season's dineL.A. The first to open in an impressive lineup of successful eateries, Lucques is serving a two-course lunch ($25) and three-course dinner ($49). Dinner is reminiscent of the restaurant's wildly popular Sunday Supper series, showcasing the best seasonal products from local farmers markets. Dinner highlights include steak tartare on fried potatoes, market fish with winter squash, lamb neck ragout with ricotta gnocchi, and a classic tarte tatin.  

short rib tacos kogi
(credit: Sarah D./Yelp)

Cuisine: Asian Fusion

Not all dineL.A. restaurants have to be fancy, but they must be tasty, and famed chef Roy Choi's Kogi Taqueria is like a flavor bomb for your mouth. What started as a local truck spitting out Korean short rib tacos has become an L.A. institution, including a brick and mortar taqueria. The restaurant is offering an all-day lunch menu ($15) that includes a quesadilla packed with their world famous short ribs,  mini carnitas fries with caramelized kimchi, a dessert of tres leches cake or sriracha bar, and a fountain drink. It's the perfect time to see why Roy Choi and Kogi have become L.A. staples.  

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(Credit: White Oak Communications)

Same Same
Silver Lake
Cuisine: Thai

Silverlake's Same Same Thai offers the same authentic Thai Angelinos have come to expect from the city's top eateries, but different. For dineL.A. the restaurant has a two course dinner ($29) where you can spice things up with dishes like laab, beef panang red curry, and a fiery pad Thai, and then cool things off with a sweet coconut flan dessert. As an added bonus, Same Same's dinner also includes a glass of riesling or syrah.      

Cal Mare
(credit: Manda Bear B./yelp)

Cal Mare
Cuisine: Italian

Newly opened Cal Mare is just one of several restaurants in celebrity chef Michael Mina's powerhouse MINA Group. Located on the ground floor of the newly designed Beverly Center, Cal Mare brings the best of Italian coastal cuisine and fresh California ingredients. The dineL.A. dinner menu ($49) highlights the restaurant's international bicoastal influences with dishes like spicy tomato broth calamari, sea urchin with guanciale and cauliflower, and a fresh catch of the day. Dinner is finished with seasonal market gelato and mini cannoli.

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(Credit: White Oak Communications)

Cuisine: Italian

Located within a mile of Grand Park, The Broad, Walt Disney Concert Hall, and tons of other  downtown spots, Baldoria is the perfect place to stop in for a meal while you're exploring the area. Both the lunch ($15) and dinner ($29) menus offer a choice of one of Baldoria's signature pizzas, including patron favorites the Lil Tokyo Steak and charred octopus. Various salad and veggie  starters and Italian desserts are also offered on both menus.   

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(credit: Connie & Teds)

Connie & Teds
West Hollywood
Cuisine: Seafood

West Hollywood's casual New England-inspired restaurant offers seafood-centric dishes from Executive Chef Sam Baxter for lunch ($25) and dinner ($39), including: 1/2 dozen chef's choice oysters, a tuna melt, Jo's wicket good chowda sampler, a hook burger and more for lunch. For dinner, dine on options like grilled calamari, Joanne's fish and chips, Ed's Portuguese fish stew, a lobster roll and more!

(Credit: Sushi Roku)

Sushi Roku
Pasadena/Santa Monica
Cuisine: Sushi

Sushi Roku is ready to satisfy your sushi craving whether you live on the west or east side of L.A. The Santa Monica location is only offering a lunch menu ($25), while Pasadena is serving up both lunch ($25) and dinner ($49). Both lunches offer not only a fresh six piece sushi assortment with spicy tuna roll, but also something for those who like their lunch cooked, including "Ji-dori" free range chicken. Dinner offers a bit of a fish upgrade in the sushi selection, as well as a trio of appetizers from the sea or farm. Both lunch and dinner include a dessert.

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(Credit: Lawry's The Prime Rib)

Lawry's The Prime Rib
Beverly Hills
Cuisine: Steakhouse

Lawry's has been in the prime rib game for about 80 years, and consistently serves up some of the best in the city. During dineL.A., the restaurant is offering their signature prime rib dining experience for dinner ($49), starting with their Famous Original Spinning Bowl Salad, spun and served tableside. While you can go surf or turf for your entree, a trip to Lawry's isn't complete without that giant slab of freshly carved beef. A broiled Nova Scotia lobster tail is served with both options, as are their decadent sides and a dessert.

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(Credit: Cafe Gratitude)

Cafe Gratitude
Arts District, Larchmont & Venice
Cuisine: Healthy

Café Gratitude brings a special ingredient-focused menu for guests to enjoy for lunch ($20) or dinner ($29) for winter dineL.A. Guests can choose from cult favorites such as the Eclectic/Buffalo Cauliflower (lunch/dinner) Whole/Macrobiotic Bowl (lunch), Elated/Mole Abuelita Enchiladas (dinner), and an Awakening/Key Lime Pie (dinner) to satisfy that inevitable post-meal sweet tooth.

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(Credit: White Oak Communications)

Lost at Sea
Cuisine: Seafood

Old Pasadena's Lost at Sea is offering a bargain lunch for dineL.A. ($15) with dishes from their newly launched lunch menu like a smoked salmon sandwich and chopped caesar salad (served with iced tea or lemonade). The three-course dinner ($39) includes an octopus crostini or ceviche appetizer, pork chop or salmon entree, and pot de creme or ice cream sandwich dessert. Head there during the restaurant's Sailor Hour (Tue. - Fri. 5:30-6:30) and pair your meal with $6 house wines by the glass and $5 pints of draft beer.
Exclusive Series
Back by popular demand, the Exclusive Series by American Express is giving diners a chance to eat at some of L.A.'s more luxurious (ie: pricier) restaurants with special menus only available during dineL.A. Dinners at these heavy-hitting hotspots start at $95, and reservations tend to fill up fast, so don't wait to book your table.  

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(Credit: SLS Beverly Hills)

The Bazaar by José Andrés
Beverly Hills
Cuisine: Spanish

Inside Beverly Hills' luxurious SLS Hotel, you'll find one of L.A.'s most sought after reservations.
The eclectic yet gorgeous interior is matched by Instagram-worthy presentations of Spanish tapas and more. A trip to The The Bazaar by José Andrés results in an adventure in gastronomy, where a Philly Cheesesteak is actually Wagyu beef served on air bread, and cotton candy foie gras is a thing. Both are part of the more seven waves of food with 14 plates of individual dishes ($100) that also includes "Not Your Everyday Caprese" and "The Chocolate Cake of Your Dreams."

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(credit: Matthew Kiefer) 

Santa Monica
Cuisine: French

If you've always wanted to try the fine french dining experience that is Mélisse, but were unsure about the pricetag, dineL.A. is the time to go. Not only is the restaurant top notch, it was also among the first to join dineL.A.'s Exclusive Series. The dinner menu ($99) offers five gorgeously presented courses. Diners at the two Michelin Star restaurant can choose from gourmet dishes of  Wagyu beef, venison, wild mushroom risotto with shaved black truffles (additional $50), and more.

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(credit: Mastro's Restaurants)

Mastro's Ocean Club
Cuisine: Steakhouse

For those looking to go all out, Mastro's Ocean Club offers a classic yet sophisticated steakhouse dinner with a spectacular ocean view. While the cost is on the steeper side ($125), each dinner comes with a starter, surf or turf entree that includes a seven ounce lobster tail, two family style sides, and dessert. Menu highlights include several of the dishes that have put Mastro's on the culinary map, like their lobster mashed potatoes, chilean sea bass, and of course that decadent warm butter cake.

(credit: Kent D./yelp)

Beverly Hills
Cuisine: Californian

Wolfgang Puck's renowned Spago is the flagship restaurant of the Wolfgang Puck Fine Dining Group, and included on many an Angelino's restaurant bucket list. Spago's California Tasting Menu is being offered for dineL.A. dinner ($125), and is available only for the whole table (6 guest maximum). Included on the menu are patron favorites like the handmade agnolotti (treat yourself with added shaved French black truffles for $20), "The Egg" with smoke salmon mousse, and Grilled Snake River Wagyu Beef. Wine pairings are available for an additional $95.
Golden Dish Contest
In honor of the 10 year anniversary, American Airlines is putting on a dineL.A. Golden Dish Contest, where one lucky diner will be served a special course on a gold commemorative plate. The winner will be awarded 100,000 American Airlines miles. The more you dine out, the better your chances, so grab a friend and head to one of the above top picks for Winter dineL.A. 2018.

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(credit: Boa Steakhouse)

BOA Steakhouse
West Hollywood & Santa Monica
Cuisine: Steakhouse

To celebrate dineLA, BOA Steakhouse will be offering a delicious Black Truffle Cannelloni with truffled ricotta cheese, brown butter, and parmesan, as well as Pan-Seared Scallops with salsify, cauliflower, carrot purée, and white truffle.

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(Credit: Eric Wolfinger)

Gracias Madre
West Hollywood
Cuisine: Mexican

Take advantage of dineL.A. for lunch or dinner at this West Hollywood plant-based Vegan hot spot. Enjoy crowd favorites like the Purista Margarita, Flautas de Camote, Coliflor Frito (*that cashew nacho cheese!), and top it off with the Fudge Brownie with salted mezcal caramel. $25 per person for lunch; $49 for dinner.

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(credit: Marie Buck)

Santa Monica
Cuisine: Seafood

For $49 per person, enjoy a special dineL.A. dinner menu boasting coastal cuisine with an emphasis on line-caught seafood and high-quality meats. Helmed by Executive Chef Timothy Sanders, choose from guest favorites like Buffalo Octopus, Whole Roasted Branzino, and Sticky Toffee Pudding to round out the meal.

(credit: TORWAISTUDIO/shutterstock)

The Stalking Horse Brewery & Freehouse
Los Angeles
Cuisine: Brewery & Pub

What a steal! For $15, grab lunch at The Stalking Horse Brewery and Freehouse, a fairly newcomer to the neighborhood combining traditional Cornish fare with an onsite craft brewery in a welcoming British pub setting. Enjoy the Welsh Rarebit (Vegan), among other 1st course choices, in addition to 2nd course options like the American Burger (V/NV), Chicken Pot Pie (V/NV), and Root Salad (V).

Article by Kellie Fell


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