I rarely get out to restaurants these days, but if I could I would go to some of my favorites:
Josie Restaurant: impeccable food and service; more of a special occasion place for me. The also have free corkage on Mondays and a very reasonable Farmer’s Market prix-fixe on Wednesday. http://www.josierestaurant.com
Mariscos Chente: Some of the best Mexican seafood in town with a location on Centinela and another one in Inglewood. They serve unreal marlin tacos, a myriad of ceviche and shrimp dishes and the coup de gras, the “pescado zarandeado”. A whole,marinated, butterflied grilled fish that is truly sublime and outright delicious.
Monte Alban: My go-to Oaxacan joint for unreal, authentic moles. If you don’t know it, you should.
Delis - Langer’s for pastrami and Bay Cities for Italian.
Wilshire Restaurant: Looks can be deceiving; the beautiful back patio can be slammed with hipsters, but beneath the scene you’ll find outstanding food. http://www.wilshirerestaurant.com
Suzanne Goin: AOC is still the quintessential LA wine bar and always delivers; eat at the bar (or cheese bar), make friends with the staff and you’ll have a blast tasting through their list along with the killer tapas. Lucques exudes class and excellence in food and the newer Taverna does a fine job in doing it all i.e. larder, breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner.
Burgers: In the fast food category, In-n-Out reigns supreme for the standard fare burger and the original Tommy’s rules the chili cheese burger (rampart location is the best). Going towards the glam burgers, I’m a big fan of Rustic Canyon (http://www.rusticcanyonwinebar.com) and naysayers be damned, the legendary Father’s Office (Montana location preferred) burger is an amazing creation with solid wines and great Belgian beers to wash down all of the killer grinds.
Sushi: One of LA’s greatest offerings is our sushi restaurants and there are so many good ones. It’s become something that I rarely eat these days, but if an occasion came up I would head to Sushi Dokoro Ki Ra La if I wanted a high end experience. For something more reasonable, I’d go to Sushi Masu where the fresh fish is prepared by one of the original master LA sushi chefs. Kiriko also serves amazing food (not just sushi), but I have a hard time recommending it because service is atrocious.
Ortolan: My wife and I celebrated an anniversary at Ortolan and it ranks as one our of best meals ever. Chef Eme is uber cool and his food is delicious and creative; we were blown away. Not cheap by any means, but they will eagerly put on a culinary show for the occasion you’re celebrating. http://www.ortolanrestaurant.com
Tlapazola: They meld classic Oaxacan flavors with modern California/French cuisine and the result is fantastic and very reasonably priced. To top it off, their tequila and mezcal selection is stellar and they make some of the best margies in the city. The bartender, Edwin, will gladly give you tastes of tequila so you’re sure to be happy. http://www.tlapazolagrill.com
Angelini Osteria: Unreal, authentic Italian; I still have memories of the table-side, carved porchetta and the perfectly prepared pastas. Easily one of the best Italian joints in the city. http://www.angeliniosteria.com/
Clementine: The perfect neighborhood gourmet deli. Delicious sandwiches, salads, desserts/baked goods and homemade prepared foods. http://www.clementineonline.com/
So many more restaurants, taco trucks, hole in the walls and outlaw taco operations, but these are off of the cuff.