On many levels, 2016 was a bust, but it was still a great year for dining in LA, with a lot more goodness on the horizon for 2017. There will be a huge hotel boom bringing big names from New York to Beverly Hills and Downtown, local chefs anchoring up-and-coming neighborhoods and lots more fried chicken. Here’s the breakdown by season.
The Mar Vista
ETA: January 5
This Westside restaurant from chefs D. Brandon Walker and Jill Davie (Josie) is one of the most anticipated for the new year, coming right after the holiday break. Featuring an open kitchen, an expansive bar, fold-down Murphy Bed–type stage for live music and a seasonally changing, California-centric menu playing to the diverse cultures of LA, it’s sure to be a great addition to the Westside neighborhood.
Courtesy of Kismet
ETA: January 15
Madcapra chefs Sara Kramer and Sarah Hymanson teamed up with Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo for this casual, all-day spot along a new hot stretch in Los Feliz. The menu will showcase Middle Eastern flavors through a California lens, including the chefs’ famous whole rabbit feast, plus a killer wine list.
Birds & Bees
ETA: January 28
This cocktail bar with 1950s-era influences involves some of the biggest names in the local cocktail scene, including Marcos Tello and Nikki Sunseri. Finding it won’t be easy: It’s hidden down a mysterious alleyway near the long-standing Redwood Bar.
George Abou-Daoud may have recently closed a couple of places (Urban Garden and Rosewood Tavern), but it’s undoubtedly to focus on his latest passion project, a modern Middle Eastern spot right next to his famed Bowery gastropub in Hollywood. Inspiration for the menu comes from family recipes, so expect things like lamb shawarma and nettle bastilla among others.
Courtesy Sumo Dog
If you’ve spent any time at Coachella, chances are you tasted a Sumo Dog — hot dogs loaded with things like togarashi cheese sauce, pickled peppers, wasabi relish and furikake. Last year one was even served topped with caviar for a 100 bucks... and it sold out every weekend. This is the first brick-and-mortar for co-creators Jeffrey Lunak and Mark Stone. They were hiring in December, so look for things on the early side of the month.
Chef Zach Pollack’s (Alimento) sophomore solo effort anchors a busy corner of Echo Park, in the former Pizza Buona space at Sunset and Alvarado. He’s bringing his version of Italian-American specialties to the neighborhood, things like mozzarella sticks, shrimp scampi and meatballs. And in a nod to the last tenant, he’ll have pizza, only more artisanal and wood-fired.
Courtesy of Bone Kettle
Bone broth as a trend has not gone away. And in some ways, it hasn’t even really peaked in LA yet; after all, there are only a few places to buy a takeaway cup. But that will likely change this year. To kick things off, Komodo chef Erwin Tjahyadi will open this Southeast Asian kitchen featuring dishes centered around various broths and proteins, plus inventive small plates in Old Town Pasadena.
A new karaoke hub is coming to the heart of Koreatown, only this one will have a full menu from executive chef Kayson Chong (BLT Steak, BOA Steakhouse and Mainland Poke) plus cocktails from Devon Espinosa (Sawyer, The Church Key). When it debuts this winter, the cavernous underground bar with 13 private karaoke rooms will be open at night; a ground-level lunch spot and sidewalk cafe is due this spring.
The famed Danish brewing company opens its first LA craft-beer bar in a former discount tire garage Downtown. The semi-industrial space is conducive to what’s on offer here: about 50 taps and specialized bottle selection from the best breweries in the world (including founder Mikkel Borg Bjergso’s own), plus a lunch and dinner menu and a small market area for morning coffee, beverages and pastries.
Chef Evan Funke’s highly anticipated Italian restaurant will finally debut in the former Joe’s space on Abbot Kinney. Expect an open kitchen, wood-fired pizza oven and Tuscan grill, plus a glass-enclosed pasta laboratorio where chefs will make twists and strands by hand.
Taking over the former Comme Ça space, Ricardo Zarate’s (Picca, Mo-Chica) West Hollywood spot will showcase the recipes and cooking techniques found in his cookbook, Fire of Peru. He’ll be oven-roasting and cooking over a charcoal-fueled grill to get the smoky, rich, earthy flavors of South American cuisine. The space will be open with a greenhouse vibe, with brick-patterned floors and exposed wood throughout. It’s designed to make you feel as though you’re eating on the streets of Peru.
ETA: Early 2017
Chef Brendan Collins is working on this new South Bay spot set on the Hermosa Pier; it takes over the long-lived Fenner’s Fat Face Fishack. Completely redone, the vibe is pure beach — vintage surf relics, art and music intertwined with updated spins on American classics from bar bites to pizzas, sandwiches and more. This being Hermosa Beach, there are two full-service bars for cocktails and wine, plus 30 local brews on tap. The second story sports a wraparound deck right over the waves.
The group behind the rad Cafe Birdie and Good Housekeeping in Highland Park, plus Horse Thief BBQ at the Grand Central Market, open another great neighborhood spot in a storied Silver Lake location. Behind the famed Elliot Smith mural, there will be an elevated gastropub for craft cocktails, pizzas, salads and snacks like steak tartare, chilled prawns and meatballs.
Courtesy Beauty & Essex Las Vegas
Tao and Beauty & Essex
Two celebrity-driven biggies from New York will open in the heart of Hollywood, adjacent to the splashy new Dream Hotel. The nightlife-centric spots will carry a similar vibe as their East Coast and Las Vegas counterparts, including design by The Rockwell Group and signature menu items, as well as new items exclusive to LA.
The second restaurant from Sotto chef Steve Samson and his wife Dina will feature regional Italian cuisine — specifically from the Emilia-Romagna region and its capital, Bologna — including housemade sausages, salumi and freshly baked bread. It’s opening next to The Slanted Door at the new mixed-use Market City West in the Fashion District Downtown.
Delicatessen by Osawa
Sayuri Tachibe and husband and executive chef Shigefumi Tachibe have done well with their Osawa restaurant in Old Town Pasadena, so they’re branching out with a gourmet Japanese marketplace and deli set in the South Lake shopping district nearby.
Cafe Gratitude’s more upscale sibling restaurant comes to Beverly Hills, bringing its vast menu of organic, plant-based cuisine and cocktails. Expect a pretty boho-chic space full of natural light and dramatic bow truss ceilings.
Ludo Lefebvre’s second outpost of his diminutive French bistro brings that omelet, steak tartare, messy burger and more to Sherman Oaks this winter. Taking over the former Il Tiramisu, there will be a lot more room plus a patio too.
Breva, Bar Figueroa, Bar Alta and Veranda at Hotel Figueroa
The amazing decorative hotel has undergone a massive renovation, including a slew of new culinary options led by chef Casey Lane (Tasting Kitchen) and barman Dushan Zaric (Employees Only and Macao Trading Company). Every spot will have a European touch, thanks to extensive travels by both through Spain and France. Just off the spacious lobby will be Breva, a full-service dining room for tapas and small, sharable plates, and the adjacent Bar Figueroa. The bar is a two-story spot with brass and wood accents, and it will serve espresso and pastries during the day, and pintxos, craft cocktails and wine in the evenings. In the mezzanine, the 28-seat Bar Alta will be Zaric’s crown jewel, a high-end, reservations-only cocktail spot. Adjacent to the pool is Veranda, an all-day, alfresco casual cafe with an emphasis on pizzas and wood-roasted meats and vegetables.
The Exchange, Broken Shaker and Rudolph’s Bar & Tea at Freehand
The Sydell Group, which opened The Line in Koreatown, brings its Miami-based hotel concept to Downtown LA with several eating and drinking options in tow. Led by chef Alex Chang, The Exchange will feature “multicultural flavors of urban LA through an Israeli lens,” which is on trend for 2017. On the rooftop pool deck, Broken Shaker will bring a bevy of cocktails and small bites. And off the lobby, Rudolph’s Bar & Tea offers a light menu built around tea-infused cocktails and vintage spirits.
416 W. 8th St.; 213-612-0021
Scott Suchman/Astro Doughnuts & Fried Chicken
Astro Doughnuts & Fried Chicken
This Washington DC-area fried chicken and donut chain will open its first West Coast outpost in Downtown LA. This spot has a huge following back east, both for the sweet and savory offerings that range from maple-bacon donuts to what’s been dubbed truly addictive fried bird. And just so you don’t think it’s another usurper trying to edge into the hot local scene: The restaurant was co-founded by a former Los Angeles King, Jeff Halpern.
Locals mourn the loss of Rosewood Tavern, a great neighborhood bar on Fairfax. But fried chicken lovers will rejoice over this new spot from Nas — yes, the hip-hop star — and John Seymour that's already a hit in Brooklyn. It makes sense for this strip: All those kids waiting in line for limited-edition sneakers need more places to eat. Expect fried chicken and waffles and a super-chill vibe. Roscoe’s shouldn’t be worried, though.
Tengoku Ramen Bar
This fairly new ramen shop in Arcadia is already working on a second outpost in Koreatown, which shouldn't come as much of a surprise: It was created by the people behind the Kabuki chain. Bowls here range from traditional tonkotsu to Tan Tan Men made with spicy chicken broth, ground pork and bok choy.
Jessica Koslow’s expansion of the popular breakfast, toast and grain bowl spot was slated for last spring, until the chef and cookbook author took on more space. We’re crossing our fingers for this spring. The new restaurant, which is adjacent to her original teensy Sqirl, will have a different menu and hours (you will be able to get dinner there).
720 N. Virgil Ave.
Courtesy Waldorf Astoria
Jean-Georges Vongerichten at Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills
Jean-Georges Vongerichten's empire includes highly acclaimed restaurants in New York (where Jean-Georges is a perennial Zagat survey list topper), Miami, Chicago, France, Japan, Dubai, Mexico (his latest Seared is a Cabo hot spot) and Las Vegas, but not the West Coast. This still unnamed project will be his first. Details are limited, but we know there will be a ground-floor restaurant and a rooftop space, with menus that include global as well as local and seasonal influences. The hotel, which debuts this year, will be adjacent to the Beverly Hilton at Wilshire and Santa Monica boulevards.
Restaurants at Row DTLA
If you've been to Smorgasburg, you know where this new live/work/eat/drink complex is in the Warehouse District in Downtown LA. Eventually there will be 100 retail spaces filled, but here's where it begins: Rappahannock Oyster Bar will open late spring/early summer, with the family-run operation from Virginia making its debut on the West Coast; a third Go Get Em Tiger outpost; and another location for the Aussie-backed Paramount Coffee Project for flat whites, food and wine.
Courtesy The Slanted Door
The Slanted Door
Charles Phan will be bringing San Francisco's much-lauded Slanted Door to the new City Market South complex in the Fashion District Downtown, which is being shaped out of a historic warehouse (it was the first wholesale produce market in LA when it opened in 1909), joining Rossoblu. This is Phan’s second location and his first project outside the Bay Area, where it's one of the most notable restaurants at The Ferry Building in San Francisco.
That NoMad Truck has been running around LA for a reason: Chef Daniel Humm and the Sydell Group will be opening a restaurant in the new NoMad Hotel in the Financial District later this year. The building has great bones — it opened in 1923 as the LA headquarters for the Bank of Italy — so expect a jaw-dropping design incorporating the already lavish marble floors and gold ceilings.