Small plates are brilliant. They allow you to try upwards of a dozen dishes during a meal, compared to one or two at a traditional restaurant. LA has an abundance of them, which makes me very happy.

Mediterranean: Cleo (Hollywood)

If there’s one word to describe Cleo’s food, it’s bliss. It’s warm comfort food meets Mediterranean cuisine. On many occasions I‘ve considered going and just ordering their lebaneh dip with laffa bread because it’s that fucking good. Other favorites include crispy brussels sprouts served with hazelnuts, mushrooms with dates and rice — so beautifully cooked they taste like meat, and any of the flatbreads. A great spot for birthdays, just make a reservation well in advance. Website || Yelp

Italian: Bacaro LA (Downtown)

Arrive at Baraco early, as they don’t take reservations for parties of less than six. Their small plate concept is simple: $8 each, or 3 for $21, which puts Bacaro at the more reasonably priced end of the spectrum when it comes to tapas. They feature an excellent selection of beer and wine, which changes frequently. Bacaro’s extensive happy hour deals are worth checking out as well. Website || Yelp

Seafood: Son of a Gun (Beverly Grove)

As a New England native, I’m a fan of seafood and enjoy trying it in different presentations and styles. Son of a Gun’s menu changes seasonally, but you’ll usually find the shrimp toast sandwich (exactly what it sounds like; the toast is soaked and then cooked in butter) and the lobster roll (with celery and lemon aïoli), both of which are must-gets. The restaurant isn’t cheap, so save it for a special occasion. Website || Yelp

Weird: Animal (Beverly Grove)

Animal has weird shit, and I love everything about it. It’s owned by the same guys as Son of a Gun, though this location is unmarked outside and easy to miss. As the name implies, it’s not a place for vegetarians or the non-adventurous. Check out Animal if you’re willing to try veal brains, pig head, sweetbreads, or beef tendon. They offer several not-as-weird plates, but if you’re lucky enough to score a reservation, why not go all out? Website || Yelp

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