This year, diligent Chowhounds overturned rocks and pulled back curtains in search of excellent yet unknown kitchens in the Los Angeles area. Here are 10 diverse finds from 2013, in alphabetical order.
1. APEY KADE
19662 Ventura Boulevard, Tarzana
Sri Lankan staples such as thora malu curry and string hoppers (steamed rice noodles) fill the menu at this no-frills eatery. Wattalapan, a steamed pudding made with coconut milk, is a choice way to end your meal.
2. BANANA LEAF
5835 Temple City Boulevard, Temple City
Beef rendang, egg balado, and fried smashed chicken are just a few of the impressive Indonesian bites served here.
3. DAW YEE MYANMAR CAFÉ
111 N. Rural Drive, Monterey Park
At this family-owned Burmese shop, you can’t go wrong with mohinga (catfish noodle soup), tofu thoke (salad made with chickpeas and turmeric), or lamb curry.
4. EL HUARIQUE
1301 Ocean Front Walk #10, Venice
We’d brave the crowds and street performers in Venice any day for El Huarique’s ceviche, a mishmash of mussels, octopus, white sea bass, and shrimp, plus some red corn chicha to drink.
5. GENTLEMAN’S BUTCHERSHOP AND DELICATESSEN
10002 National Boulevard, Los Angeles
If the exceptional service doesn’t keep you coming back, the house-made sausages and piping-hot barbecue in the parking lot will.
6. HOT RED BUS
31 E. Main Street, Alhambra
British-Indian fare is king at this casual San Gabriel Valley spot. Go for the juicy fish and chips, then plan a return trip for doner-topped fries.
8. NIROJ LEVANT CUISINE
30313 Canwood Street, Agoura Hills
Kurdish kebabs are served with a killer yogurt sauce, but feel free to try something less ordinary, like lahmajoon (a thin layer of dough topped with lamb and beef) or borek (phyllo suffed with feta and herbs).
9. NOODLES KING
8632 E. Valley Boulevard, Rosemead
No phone available
Changsha-style cooking by Hunan Province native John Huang; try the shiu mai, which are stuffed with sticky rice, or a bowl of house-made noodles.