With expansive outdoor options, these are the hot tables to book now
Words by ANDREW BARKER and ANUSH J. BENLIYAN
While takeout continues to reign supreme across the country, three new seaside debuts — from Venice to Malibu to Carpinteria — are making a case for dining out. Whether it’s a new outpost from a time-honored favorite or a brand new concept from ambitious rising chefs, these freshly minted establishments are beckoning Californians with open-air dining rooms, comfort food, much-needed cocktails and the latest health and safety technologies.
Grilled artichokes at LITTLE DOM’S SEAFOOD. The restaurant’s new Carpinteria storefront.
Ravioli Alla Rincon
For its second SoCal outpost, Little Dom’s chose the sleepy, surf town of Carpinteria. But who opens a restaurant in the middle of a pandemic? Lucky for chef Brandon Boudet and restaurateur Warner Ebbink, the sister outpost of their Los Feliz favorite boasts a breezy outdoor dining patio only blocks from the beach. The menu is heavy on locally sourced seafood, with new arrivals such as a cast iron-seared fish sandwich, Santa Barbara live uni and market fresh crudo appearing alongside mouthwatering modern Italian mainstays of the original, like chicken parm and cacio e pepe. 686 Linden Ave., Carpinteria, 805-749-7400.
Lobster at LUCKY’S STEAKHOUSE, which opens a second location this month at MALIBU COUNTRY MART. Photo by Alexandra DeFurio.
Twenty years after it opened, storied Montecito locale Lucky’s Steakhouse opens a second home at the Malibu Country Mart at the end of September. Its surf and turf menu of shrimp cocktail and filet mignon, and daily changing plats du jour, will be a hit with the oceanside community, adding to Malibu’s short roster of higher-end dining options. Taking over from Mr. Chow, which closed in January, the new Lucky’s will feature a large outdoor terrace with planters and screens to ensure safe and socially distanced seating, and extra seating in the parking lot will be in line with the mayor’s alfresco dining program, which he extended until the end of the year. 3835 Cross Creek Rd., Ste. 18, Malibu, 310-317-0099.
The indoor-outdoor dining area at NUEVA, a new cantina-style restaurant in Venice. Photo by Rob Stark Photography.
Arriving just in time to meet L.A.’s rising demand for alfresco dining options, Venice’s new cantina-style eatery Nueva debuted in August with a spacious covered patio and a robust menu of Mexican-inspired dishes. The kitchen is helmed by chefs Vartan Abgaryan (Yours Truly) and Mesraim Llanez (Guerrilla Tacos), who infuse their respective Armenian and Mexican heritages to the approachable brunch and dinner offerings, with highlights that include potato quesadillas with sweet red onions, sumac and Queso Oaxaca; black bean falafel tacos with labneh and guacamole; and wood-grilled branzino with mole rojo and Castelvetrano tapenade — plus must-try ceviches and an enticing list of Mexican red, white and sparkling wines. In addition to implementing the necessary processes and protocols for guests’ safety (including enforcing social distancing in the spacious open-air dining area), the restaurant also features an iWave air filtration system for further protection. 822 Washington Blvd., Venice, 310-747-6050.
Feature image: Craft cocktails served alongside fresh oysters, grilled artichoke and margherita pizza at LITTLE DOM’S SEAFOOD. Photo by Blake Bronstad Photography.
Sept. 1, 2020
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