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In Los Angeles, a city where bars and lounges close not long after midnight, a leisurely and luxurious meal is oftentimes a night’s main event. This style of nightlife has established a dining culture that is as much about the scene as it about the food, resulting in a constellation of new restaurants focused on unique dishes, elevated cocktails and sharp design to attract discerning customers through their doors. THR has compiled a list of places in L.A. that have opened in recent months that are making eating out an event again.
Mother Tongue is the definition of a hidden gem, its entryway tucked behind an alley that reveals the larger Heimat, a members-only fitness club that holds a gym, spa, rooftop clubhouse and Michelin-starred Chef Michael Mina’s new concept. His menu is packed with health-conscious, global fare: spelt bread with whipped avocado and algae salt, Shiitake Mushroom Larb with toasted rice and crushed tofu, Seven-Vegetable Couscous with tfaya, argan oil, and turmeric, and Aguachile De Camarón, a ceviche with shrimp, cucumbers and spicy cantaloupe. The wine program offers a range of natural wines, which pair beautifully with the indoor-outdoor restaurant’s wagyu steak and striped sea bass. Breakfast and lunch are expected to arrive soon. 960 N La Brea Ave. 4th Floor
This super-stylized next-gen izakaya — located at the southern end of DTLA’s Arts District, along the Restaurant Row of Bestia, Damian and Yangban Society — blends Kyoto and Blade Runner. The concept, led by executive chef Yoya Takahashi, who previously spent years at industry nexus Hamasaku, encompasses live-fire cooking, sushi featuring fish flown in from Tokyo and a beverage program that includes artisan sakes and an all-natural wine collection. On summer nights, the energy is outside in the haute-minimalist courtyard, where patrons order chicken meatball skewers, miso veggies, Japanese omelettes and ice cream with almond soy brittle. 710 S. Santa Fe Ave. –– GARY BAUM
Da Buena Planta
Tucked away behind an unassuming wall on Sunset Boulevard, Da Buena Planta is an oasis marked by palm trees, cozy fire pits, and a tiki-style bar serving up fine mezcals and margaritas. The plant-forward Mexican concept is new to Silver Lake, but has an original location in Venice Beach; recently, the Silver Lake location started offering brunch, which joins the restaurant’s dinner items like crispy rice paper “chicharrones,” adobo jackfruit taquitos, citrus and herb arugula salad, and hibiscus “birria” tacos. Also unique to the location on Sunset is La Casita, a speakeasy bar nested within the walls of Da Buena Planta, making this a hybrid indoor-outdoor location for good food, drinks, and socializing. 2815 Sunset Blvd.
This new addition to Silver Lake’s vibrant culinary community is designed around the unique tradition of “Nikkei Peruvian” cuisine, a fusion of Japanese techniques and Indigenous ingredients that emerged in Peru at the turn of the 20th century. Helmed by veteran Lima-born, L.A.-based chef Ricardo Zarate, the menu features an exciting mix of dishes, including lobster dumplings with charred jalapeño oil, plum-dressed soba noodles, a whole branzino with butterbean-artichoke mousse, and seared steak tartare over crispy rice. Classic Peruvian cocktails like the pisco sour get a Japanese twist, with yuzu, lychee, and lime. 3709 Sunset Blvd.
Avant Garden Bistro
Avant Garden Bistro, the first West Coast expansion by Overthrow Hospitality’s 2022 James Beard Award nominee Ravi DeRossi, has landed in a delightfully overgrown and fanciful section of Melrose Avenue. The restaurant, which serves New American vegan cuisine, is led by chef Sarah Stearns (Mírame, Joe’s Restaurant), and the menu is divided by “cold,” “toast,” and “hot,” featuring dishes like shaved brussels sprouts with turmeric miso goddess dressing, cremini mushroom topped with onion marmalade and walnut purée, and a cavatelli pasta in each section, respectively. Natural wines and low-ABV cocktails abound, rounding out a menu that mimics the natural, forest-like setting of the restaurant’s patio. The space is adorned with artificial flowers and designed by Andrew Nowling, a 25-year veteran of exterior set design for movies and television shows including Clint Eastwood’s Iwo Jima, which earned a Golden Globe for best picture, and Carnival, which won an Emmy for best production design. 7469 Melrose Ave.
Madeo Ristorante, the Vietina family’s Los Angeles Italian staple, has officially reopened after a temporary closure in September 2020. Now located in a new West Hollywood location inside the Sunset Strip’s 1 Hotel, the much-beloved hotspot will continue to serve traditional favorites, like Scampi Alla Griglia, Penne Madeo, and Arrosto di Vitello. Décor-wise, the new Madeo should look familiar; the family has maintained the restaurant’s signature striped booths and a window that gives an intimate view into the kitchen, along with an emphasis on the classic al fresco dining experience. 8490 Sunset Blvd.
Alma Cocina de Mexico, a new offering from Mexico City-based restaurant consortium Grupo Hunan, opened its doors in May, located in the space most recently occupied by Dominique Ansel’s 189 at The Grove. This month, a Mexican fine dining concept was revealed as an extension of the ground floor on the restaurant’s second level, featuring an exclusive menu of elevated versions of assorted aguachiles, ceviches, and tacos, along with other, richly-marinated barbacoa and lobster dishes. Dessert options like the classic tres leches cake and flan de coco match the neutral-toned design palette upstairs. 189 The Grove Dr. Suite H – 10
The Shay Hotel in Culver City has welcomed a new addition: Mosaic Management’s reimagination of the building’s Miami and Palm Springs-inspired rooftop, now known as the Canopy Club. The all-day poolside bar and restaurant, which hovers above chef Danny Grant’s Etta at the Shay, was formerly Celestina, a Mexican restaurant serving traditional cuisine. Now, the menu features elevated classics like chili butter street corn, bluefin tuna crudo, and a double smashburger. The “modern California” food selection pairs nicely with cocktails like the pomelo spritz and horchata painkiller. 8801 Washington Blvd. Culver City
Dono — the third restaurant from Greco Entertainment Group (GEG) led by chef and partner Brendan Collins — is a celebration of Spain’s bold flavors. Ingredients like jamón ibérico and premium conservas find harmony with locally-sourced California produce on the menu, which includes various tapas, a paella dish, and Piri-Piri chicken. The craft cocktail program is the brainchild of veteran Gabriella Mlynarcyzk, and Spanish grape-forward wines are a unique highlight during the restaurant’s siesta hour. Dono is situated next to Fia and Fia Steak, also from GEG. 2460 Wilshire Blvd. Santa Monica
Catch Steak has opened in Melrose Place, a neighbor to the original Catch LA. The 13,000-square-foot space from Catch Hospitality Group houses a modern-day steakhouse, boasting an official Kobe license from Japan and a unique table-side beef sommelier experience. Executive chef Erik Piedrahita, under the direction of corporate chef Michael Vignola and culinary director John Beatty, has created a menu that balances the best steak cuts and some of the Catch group’s iconic dishes, including Crispy Potato Croquettes with Crème Fraîche & Osetra Caviar; Bluefin Tuna Tartare with Calabrian Chile, Cured Egg Yolk & Carta de Musica Chip; Papa’s Spicy Baked Clams with Nduja Butter and Burnt Lemon. 650 N La Cienega Blvd.
Olivia, quietly opened a few months ago, is drawing an A-list crowd — Anderson Paak and Ryan Phillippe among them. The new vegetarian restaurant from veteran chef Mario Alberto (Gjelina, Mo-Chica, Chimu, Laurel Hardware, Ysabel, Gracias Madre) and partner Daniel Oh lives in an assuming strip mall in Koreatown, but the jewel-toned interior makes up for the modest setting. Highlights from the menu include fried olives with truffle honey and a “fried chicken” sandwich with Asian pear and cucumber kimchi. 205 S. Vermont Ave.
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