Four Restaurants To Try This Fall 

The Venice Beach food scene expands and seafood platters land in Eagle Rock



BEST BET is chef Jason Neroni’s love letter to pizza. Photography by Pascal Shirley.

Pizza at Last
Jason Neroni, the chef behind the Venice juggernaut The Rose, finally has the pizza restaurant he’s been obsessing over for the past few years — and it’s unlike anything you’ve ever seen. At Best Bet Neroni is going deep with not one, but three entirely different styles of pizza.

Consider the Montanara, his take on fried pizza from Napoli’s street-food scene, blanketed with taleggio fonduta, arugula pesto, and crunchy olives. Next is pillowy focaccia bearing crispy mortadella, whipped bufala ricotta, pistachios — and cherries. His neo–New York pies are a cross between traditional Neapolitan and New York styles cooked over oak and Japanese charcoal. Bite into the Drunken Clam tailored with mozzarella, roasted garlic butter, and lemon zest, just for starters.

Best Bet has taken over the ‘60s-era IHOP where Roy Choi once held forth at A-Frame, rebuilt and spruced up with a ‘70s-style decor and 110 seats spanning indoors and out. The spot is billed as a pizza restaurant, so expect much more than a few salads and some salumi, albeit impeccably sourced from Italy. Check out the menu’s fritti and spuntini section. How about ricotta zeppole adorned with avocado honey, black truffles, and sea salt ? Or braised brisket meatballs in a white Bolognese? Move further down the menu to apricots paired with coal-smoked, warm peppered lardo. Now think pasta; maybe orecchiette with pink peppercorns and caciocavallo cheese. Still hungry? The kitchen fires up poussin Milanese with cherry amaro agrodolce and rabbit confit saltimbocca with speck and black truffle butter. Much of the menu will change frequently, along with the Italian/Cal-Italian wine list. 12565 Washington Blvd., L.A.; bestbetpizzeria.la. S.I.V.


QUEEN ST. offers a briny taste of southern seafood in Eagle Rock.

Do the Charleston
Bring on the oysters — freshly shucked. On the half shell or crowned with uni and caviar. Char-grilled with Parmesan, black pepper, and breadcrumbs or acting as supporting players on a fully loaded seafood platter. The team behind the ever-mobbed Found Oyster and diminutive Barra Santos has landed in Eagle Rock with Queen St., a delirious ode to southern seafood.

Named for a gracious palmetto-shaded street in Charleston, the city where chef-partner Ari Kolender grew up, Queen St.’s menu celebrates dishes the third-generation Charlestonian ate at his mother’s and grandmother’s tables. Take a seat at the horseshoe-shaped raw bar or the long red leather banquette. Start with oysters, of course, then zero in on the anchovy-and-tomato bread pudding, pickled shrimp, Carolina Gold crab rice, or a bowl of elegant she-crab soup dosed with sherry.

Mains are mostly grilled: barbecued Gulf shrimp, tuna fish Hemingway, or a golden fried flounder with fresh apricot agrodolce. Kolender fits in a couple of meat dishes, too, like smothered pork with mustardy cabbage and lamb ribs with salsa verde. For dessert, he’s done his grandmother proud with Sheralyn’s chocolate pecan Derby Pie. Evelyn Goreshnik put together an eclectic wine list that proposes a glass of Rare Wine Company’s “Charleston” Madeira to cap off the evening. Closed M–Tu. 4701 E. York Blvd., L.A.; queenstla.com. S.I.V.


ATLA marks chef Enrique Olvera’s second outpost in Los Angeles. LEFT: Photography by Casamata. RIGHT: Photography by Araceli Paz.

Viva Mexico
Enrique Olvera, one of Mexico’s most celebrated chefs, isn’t just about enchanting worldly palates with stunning, technically brilliant dishes at his flagship restaurants Pujol in Mexico City, Cosme in New York, and Damian in the Arts District of Los Angeles. His portfolio of restaurants also includes the five-year-old casual neighborhood spot Atla Noho in New York.

Now that popular Mexican comfort food concept is arriving in Venice. Executive chef Marisol Corona gathers classic dishes from the original spot for her menu, but it’s not just a carbon copy. “We are here to provide comfort, crafting delicious, simple, flavorful food without taking shortcuts,” she says. “We want Atla to be part of the neighborhood, sharing Mexican vibes and fostering a strong sense of community through our culinary offerings.” For the Los Angeles location, the kitchen has added, of course, our beloved avocado toast, served on local darling Jyan Isaac’s seeded sourdough.

The space, designed by Alonso de Garay — who also created striking settings for Damian, Cosme, and Atla Noho — accommodates 140 seats. Nab a table inside or on the serene outdoor patio and order up flaxseed chilaquiles, a lobster burrito, or the famous chicken soup with chayote and avocado. Line up for heirloom corn tacos stuffed with shrimp and black beans, short ribs and avocado salsa crude — or, for the vegetable virtuous, Brussels sprouts with spicy peanut butter, aleppo pepper, and avocado. On the other hand, what about pork al pastor tucked into a flour tortilla with pineapple butter? Or a barbacoa consommé garnished with onions, lime, salsa, and cilantro? There is a lot to love here, including the impressive list of tequila and mezcal. 1025 Abbot Kinney Blvd., Venice, 209-306-8720; eatatla.com. S.I.V.


Eastern Mediterranean cuisine meets California flavor at DALIDA. Photography by Maren Caruso.

Belle of the Bay
Nestled within San Francisco’s picturesque Presidio Park, a former military post with views of the Bay Bridge, the anticipated new concept restaurant Dalida, from husband-and-wife team Sayat and Laura Ozyilmaz, is a mess hall beyond measure. In Polish-Yiddish, dalida translates to “dahlia,” which is the name of Sayat’s mother, as well as the official flower of San Francisco. The couple commissioned Oakland-based artist Emily Parkinson to create a vibrant hand-painted botanical mural in the dining room, and the menu puts a California spin on traditional Eastern Mediterranean fare, with standouts including a reimagined tahdig (Persian crispy rice) topped with Santa Barbara uni, Monterey Bay seaweed, and a preserved yuzu sauce. Taking full advantage of the surroundings, fresh oysters are served with a mignonette made from pressed quince flowers harvested from the couple’s plot in the Presidio’s Community Garden. 101 Montgomery St., Ste. 100, S.F.; dalidasf.com. K.M.


Feature image: The historic A-Frame building in Culver City now houses BEST BET. Photography by Pascal Shirley.


This story originally appeared in the Fall 2023 issue of C Magazine.

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