The breathtaking diversity of L.A. can be both exciting and overwhelming for the food-obsessed Angeleno. One buddy tips you off about a new Mazatlan-style carne asada spot in Compton, while another clues you in on a barbecue joint in Culver City with “the best brisket in California.” So you get in your car, and you make the trek—and we’ll be damned if you aren’t instantly reminded why Los Angeles is the best city in America when it comes to dining out.

And like any dynamic metropolitan city, L.A.’s dining scene is always evolving. The historic Clifton’s Cafeteria’s return after nearly four years of renovation surprised us, just as this year’s customizable poke-bowl craze did—but ultimately our minds wandered elsewhere in 2015. What truly caught our attention? The live-fire cooking trend, exemplified by meat-forward restaurants like Odys + Penelope, Cadet, Hatchet Hall, Steak & Whisky, and Charcoal. Meanwhile, Alta California cuisine—a uniquely L.A. genre championed by proud L.A. chefs—continued to flourish, thanks to Ray Garcia’s Broken Spanish. But we also uncovered some under-the-radar spots too, like a handmade noodle joint in the SGV and a Sunday-only chorreada operation in South Central.

To bring it all together, we present Los Angeles best new restaurants of 2015. 

Written by Clarissa Wei (@dearclarissa), Bill Esparza (@streetgourmetla), Khuong Phan (@khuongphan), Katherine Spiers (@katherinespiers), Tony Chen (@sinosoul)and Erin Mosbaugh (@jayblague).