Alimento - I would like to see you go here just to see what the hell you think of it compared to SF places, but I actually suspect you may not like it. I’m not sure what specifically is drawing you to the place though, there is a certain amount of variability in the dishes.
Cassia - You really should, if only to try their laksa. To my knowledge there is no great laksa in SF (or anywhere else in LA). Seems like you would enjoy it a lot.
Chi Spacca* - Was Colby still there when you left? Well, probably just as good anyhow.
Night+Market Song - Much more fun atmosphere, but overall less adventurous menu because it has to serve a much higher volume compared to the original location (Silver Lake hipsters like thai food more than Bev Hills socialites I guess). Imo you cannot go “wrong” at either one though. Get the beef tendon panang if you go, it’s available at both locations. But in WeHo you can get fried pigtails and the best thai ice cream sandwich I’ve ever had (among other fun things) that you cannot at Song.
Petit Trois* - Awesome as ever, but you should go to Trois Familia instead. New exciting, fascinating, yet same simple aesthetic and classic cooking as at Petit Trois.
Rustic Canyon* - It seems like they have seriously been working on their menu here, and J Gold said it’s the #5 place in the whole city. I keep trying to find someone to go split the eponymous chateaubriand and hit up all the michelin-plated dishes, but hasn’t happened yet, so idk… sure be great for everyone if you end up there haha
Saap Coffee Shop* - Too much other Thai you should go to instead of returning there. Isaan Station Lu2Eat, etc…
Terrine - Pretty sure you would kick yourself for going here. SF does this type of food lightyears better. The PR for the place is dynamite, I would say don’t get suckered in. But it’s your life.
Wexler’s - Have you already been to Langer’s and Greenblatt’s? Or would you be going for bagels?
Places you should be considering:
Hatchet Hall - Obscenely great modern Southern cuisine. To my knowledge there is nothing on this level in SF. It’s lightyears away from Brenda’s, the closest thing to Sean Brock’s Husk on the West Coast. This would be my number 1 recommendation for you to add to your list. It’s somewhat underrated, as they’ve done very little PR compared to other similar caliber restaurants, but they are packed every night purely based on quality of the food. Ask anyone in the place how they heard about it and they will most likely say “My friend came and told me the food were was unbelievable, and they were right!” (I actually tried this experiment last time I was there). Eater LA chose it for their Staff Dinner.
Love & Salt - like Flour + Water or Cotogna, but more extremely California, and more playful + meaty. I don’t think any such place in SF served rabbit porchetta, or a half pigs head alongside bone marrow pasta’s made tableside. I would for sure eat there over Alimento if I had to choose between the two.
Odys & Penelope - Maybe it wouldn’t wow you, but it’s like California-Brazilian? The food is of exceptionally high quality, and the desserts are unbelievable (I often take people there just for dessert haha).
Jon & Vinny’s - Might seem silly, but idk if there is a place doing “high quality” Italian American in SF? Everything is super craveable, and awesome there. The meatballs alone are worth stopping in for.
I’m tempted to say Charcoal Venice, but probably a little too similar to SF aesthetics.
Are you interested in Mexican at all? You have zero picks. I would at least say go try out a torta cubana from Super Torta’s D.F. for something quick that you probably wouldn’t find in S.F.
In other news, if you’re flying down, I’ll pay you cost + fee and transport you from LAX if you bring some meatball + egg banh mis from ba le, and some kouign amann’s from b patisserie =P