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The cornucopia that is L.A. dining right now continues to overflow, with so many talented chefs and inventive locales. This season, our discoveries include a shipping container down by the river and a pool deck in Beverly Hills. Work up an appetite and pull up a chair--these hot new restaurants are worth putting off that cleanse ’til next week.


This Westside French-inspired Japanese restaurant is a great place to dine after a show at the Hammer Museum. Enjoy everything from the market-driven apps, such as a haricot vert salad, to small plates like a duck-risotto cake and heavenly nigiri assortments.

Maru, 12400 Wilshire Blvd., #150; 424-832-7118 or

Lodge Bread

This Culver City bakery/breakfast-and-lunch joint has been open less than a month, and its wild-fermented loaves of olive bread, toast bar and desserts (hello, moist pumpkin cake!) are getting raves.

11918 Washington Blvd.; 424-384-5097 or

Clifton’s Cafeteria

You?re not going for the ?meh? corned beef, OK mac and cheese or simple Jello desserts, which this revamped Depression-era diner is famous for. You are going to gawk at the theme park-like interior?s massive faux redwood tree, the dioramas of wolves and the third-floor booth where author Ray Bradbury held court.

Clifton's, 648 S. Broadway; 213-627-1673 or


Splurge on the lemon-ricotta pancakes at this new all-day restaurant at the Avalon Hotel in Beverly Hills. Sit around the pool in an alcove with a happy new paint job from decorator Kelly Wearstler and think, Ahh, the California good life.

Viviane, 9400 W. Olympic Blvd., Beverly Hills; 310-407-7791 or

Wax Paper Co.

This just-opened Frogtown sandwich shop has a great gimmick: Every sandwich is named after an NPR host (try the Alex Cohen, with brioche and poached egg). We also like the thoughtfully sourced fare (pole-caught tuna for Ira Glass) and the welcoming vibe--they even spin vinyl!--inside this retooled shipping container.

Wax Paper Co., 292 Knox Ave.;


Want to clean up your diet in a delicious and foodie-approved way? Order from Crateful, which isn't a restaurant but a new meal-delivery service run by Michelin-starred chef Cristina Bowerman. Menus include vegetarian, pescatarian, calorie-conscious and chef's choice options. Basically, Bowerman has us by the lightly fried chicken meatballs.

Crateful, 310-200-9799 or

Pok Pok

James Beard Award-winning chef Andy Ricker’s just-opened Los Angeles branch of his Portland Thai joint is getting buzz for its food, including his signature fish sauce-marinated chicken wings. Also noteworthy: the restaurant’s online reservation system, which discourages no-shows with a $20 a person nonrefundable deposit.

Pok Pok, 978 N. Broadway; 213-613-1831 or

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