Resy One To Watch Award 2024

Resy One To Watch Award 2024


Los Angeles

Plating up the Asian-American experience

Kato began its life in a pocket-sized strip mall unit on the West side of Los Angeles in 2016, where a then-25-year-old Taiwanese-American chef Jonathan Yao plated the flavours of his childhood. Eight years later, now in new Downtown premises, it's heralded as one of the city’s hottest dining destinations thanks to Yao’s creative interpretation of the modern Asian-American experience through gastronomy.

Kato’s narrative cuisine is certainly reflective of the chef’s heritage, but Yao doesn't want it to be seen as just ‘Asian’. Born and raised in the nearby San Gabriel Valley, he views Kato as a distillation of the people, culture and food of Southern California, and the generations of Asian-American diaspora who have gradually shifted its taste over centuries.

Dishes across the 12-course tasting menu pull pages from the traditional Taiwanese cookbook. Familiar and comforting tastes come in unfamiliar packages, such as Taiwan’s emblematic beef noodle soup, where the broth is reduced to a paint brushed over thin slices of wagyu. A version of Southeast Asia’s ubiquitous basil and clam stir-fry is equally unrecognisable at first, but a single bite is enough to tap into the warmth and joy conjured by the dish’s original form.

The dining room also leans into Southern Californian sensibilities, accented by warm woods and soft lighting, to evoke a welcoming, homely aura. Its walls play host to pieces created by local Asian-American artists, hammering home the sense of place and purpose. Its moniker is even a gentle nod to The Green Hornet’s sidekick, portrayed by Asian icon Bruce Lee.

In the adjacent lounge area, Kato delivers a serious drinks menu, masterminded by bar director Austin Hennelly. Cocktails maximise Kato’s contemporary East Asian influences, with ingredients like bitter melon, umeshu and five spice used to supercharge sloe gin fizzes, milk punches and martinis. Low and no alcohol options are no afterthought, utilising Kato’s produce-forward pantry and spicing to craft memorable and noteworthy serves.  For those looking to get a teaser of the Kato experience, a short version of the restaurant’s tasting menu is available for walk-ins at the bar counter.

In a city where the restaurant scene continues to go from strength to strength, Kato is leading the pack as a standard-bearer for 21st century California. With a host of accolades already under its belt, Kato now proudly adds the Resy One To Watch Award 2024 to its repertoire.

Now read the article and step into Kato in the video: 

The Resy One To Watch Award recognises a rising star restaurant in the global hospitality scene which 50 Best believes has the potential to break into the list in the years to come. Its winner is selected by the 50 Best team based on the votes of its Academy and specific editorial criteria.


777 S. Alameda St. Building 1, Suite 114, Los Angeles, CA 90021

(213) 797 - 5770 Visit Kato's Website Visit Kato on Instagram