The Six Top Tables For Summer

From a sleek omakase in Santa Barbara to a charming new arrival from the East Coast



From P-Town to Tinseltown
It seems the appetite for Italian American restaurants never abates. SAL’S PLACE joins in from the other coast, specifically Provincetown, Massachusetts, at the tip of Cape Cod. The original, founded in 1975, has a casual, bohemian vibe moderated with plenty of red sauce and parmigiana. At the new WeHo outpost, owner Siobhán Carew is going for a similar local-hangout feel. The restaurant is cash only and accepts reservations only by phone, but once you’re in, scarlet walls, striped booths, and billowy linen curtains provide old-school charm. The handwritten menu consists of freshened-up classics, with pistachio and shaved fennel perking up endive salad and a scattering of peas in the lobster alla vodka. Pasta is the strong suit, and mains just what you’d expect: filet mignon, roast chicken, pan-seared white fish. Desserts include tiramisu (no surprise) and, intriguingly enough, Basque cheesecake. Don’t miss the house martinis. 350 N. Robertson Blvd., West Hollywood, 508-487-1279;@salsprovincetown. S.I.V.

A Taste of the Middle East
A decade after closing DTLA’s Rivera and going home to New Mexico, John Sedlar is behind the stoves at ZOZO, a new La Brea district spot he has opened with partner Bill Chait. Inside the French homeware store Maison Midi, Zozo’s menu jumbles together southern France, Spain, Italy, and the Middle East. Start with handmade tortillas pressed with fresh flowers, Jerusalem hummus with za’atar, or escargots with jamón ibérico. The larger Abiquiu lamb with chayote chutney or scallops with sea beans and hoja santa are meant to share. Sedlar still can’t resist provocative plating — platters might be populated with a fainting nude statue or a bust of Jesus. 148 S. La Brea Ave., L.A., 323-746-4700; S.I.V.

Chef’s Choice in Santa Barbara
Santa Barbara’s Funk Zone pulls in the crowds for casual eats, but high-end omakase is a first. Lennon Silvers Lee has never been to Japan, but he fell in love with the delicate artistry of nigiri while cheffing around SoCal in his early 20s. “Almost in the blink of an eye,” he says, “I became a full-blown sushi chef and my career clicked.” At 26 he opened Sushi|Bar in Montecito with his restaurateur brother, Phillip Frankland Lee. Two years later it earned a Michelin star, one of Santa Barbara’s first. At the new SILVERS OMAKASE, the 29-year-old chef focuses exclusively on a seasonal 14-course menu for just 10 guests at a time. His rice comes from the Doyuuno farm in Japan’s Toyama prefecture. The aged caviar heaped on chūtoro tartar available during a recent visit bears his own label: Silvers Omakase’s Schrenckii sturgeon caviar from Astrea. For the drinks menu, he rounded up rare sakes and fabled burgundies. He’ s ready. Tue.–Sat., reservations only. 224 Helena Ave., Santa Barbara; S.I.V.

Old Hollywood, New Ideas
If you’re looking for dinner with a side of Golden Age glamour, head to SHIRLEY BRASSERIE, the high-ceilinged, white-table-clothed restaurant in the heart of the legendary Hollywood Roosevelt hotel. This bustling brasserie is heavy on marble, wood paneling, and leather banquettes, with sufficient vibe for a blowout birthday but enough intimacy for a discreet date night. Helmed by chef Craig Hopson — formerly of Guy Savoy and Le Cirque in Paris and New York, respectively — the menu is steeped in French tradition with a blast of Hollywood flair. Think duck leg confit, wood-fired chickens, and chops but also seafood towers befitting this storied hotel where many a silver screen great has resided since it opened almost 100 years ago. Clark Gable and Carole Lombard were long-term residents of the two-floor penthouse suite, which has undergone a recent redesign and features as a backdrop to the C Summer Issue cover story. We think they’d give Shirley Brasserie their nod of approval, too. 7000 Hollywood Blvd., L.A.; A.B.

Like Mamma Used to Make
Since its opening in 2010, OSTERIA MAMMA has served Larchmont and Hancock Park, delighting locals with its authentic Northeastern Italian fare. Founded by Filippo Cortivo and the beloved Loredana “Mamma” Cecchinato — whose legacy lives on despite her passing in 2015 — this quaint corner-room restaurant beckons diners from across the city to try its housemade pastas, tantalizing antipasti, and extensive array of Italian wines that adorn the walls. A recent addition is the $90 four-course tasting menu, featuring an exquisite tuna-flaked spaghetti Ali Baba and the succulent pollo alla pizzaiola. To enhance the dining journey, patrons should opt for the $30 wine pairing, which includes a selection of four glasses, including a Trebbiano from Spoletino. As a delightful bonus, each guest receives a copy of Mamma’s Cooking Book so they can re-create the magic of Osteria Mamma in their own kitchen. 5732 Melrose Ave., L.A., 323-284-7060; A.B.

Gran Blanco Looks East
Beneath Venice’s famed sign, GRAN BLANCO unveils a new persona this summer, embracing the soulful essence of Japan’s izakaya culture. While the restaurant’s original design — vaulted ceilings, earthy hues, illuminated bar — largely remains constant, a culinary rethink has swept through its kitchen. The Australian cofounders Sam Trude and Sam Cooper, also the visionaries behind Great White nearby, have introduced more-ish plates perfect for sharing, such as wagyu tartare crisps, crispy rock shrimp, and delicate yellowtail crudo, alongside crowd pleasers such as chicken katsu curry and succulent Australian wagyu steak. Complementing the new menu are yuzu-infused cocktails, fine sakes, natural wines, and amaros. The West Side’s culinary scene just got some extra wind in its sails. 80 Windward Ave., Venice, 424-433-8095; A.B.


Portions of this story originally appeared in the Summer 2024 issue of C Magazine.

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