Restaurants have been springing up all over town as of late. Here, we share a few that are hotter than the mid-summer SoCal sunshine
Words by KAREN PALMER
Bon Temps — Arts District
The details: The first solo project for chef Lincoln Carson, a former S.F. pastry whiz who made his name working with Michael Mina, among others.
The vibe: An airy former loading dock outfitted with floor-to-ceiling windows, a custom Carrara marble-top bar, a front lounge area with brown leather couch seating and modern fixtures. The 40-seat patio is perfect for warm summer days.
The menu: Expect contemporary takes on French cuisine, such as elegant canapes, twists on the raw bar (a prawn cocktail served with fried heads, for instance), and a reinterpreted version of the classic Zuni chicken. Here it’s a Jidori chicken adorned with truffle presented whole at the table, then served carved (breast, stuffed leg and a green salad with shredded meat and crutons atop pommes puree). Make sure you leave some room (and at least 20 minutes) for the chocolate souffle, anointed with chartreuse ice cream at the table.
The drinks: An extensive cocktail menu with a healthy selection of summer-ready “Avant” options, like the Vermouth Rouge and Chevalier Spritz, joins a wine list leaning toward biodynamic producers.
Pro tip: It may not sound like the most exciting of the two-piece canapes, but don’t miss the tomato tartare, an umami bomb reminiscent of a certain fast food chain’s Quarter Pounder (trust us on this one).
Bon Temps, 712 S. Santa Fe Ave., L.A., 213-784-0044.
Pizzana — West Hollywood
The details: Pizzaiolo Daniele Uditi and Candace Nelson of Sprinkles fame have joined forces once again for a second location of the always-buzzing Brentwood favorite located on a prime block of Robertson.
The vibe: The restaurant is more outdoor than indoor, with a long patio flanked by a 100 year-old brick wall painted in Pizzana’s signature bright blue. Only a handful of tables and a cozy marble chef’s counter are indoors, where you can witness the pizza-making action up close.
The menu: Uditi’s Neo-Neapolitan pies are the stars of the menu, which is anchored by perennial favorites like his Cacio e Pepe and Neo Margarita pies. He’s got a way with vegetables too, though, so don’t miss a salami-studded chopped salad and fried baby artichokes sprinkled with pine nuts. Nelson handles the dessert side of things, giving classics like pannacotta a signature twist in the form of a gooey salted caramel topping.
The drinks: The WeHo location is still waiting on its beer and wine license, but expect selections from small Italian and California producers in the near future.
Pro tip: Try the two new seasonal pies, the Sud a Sud (topped with tomatoes, bufala mozzarella DOP, garlic and thyme) and the super-fresh Salmone, a nod to Wolfgang Puck’s classic smoked salmon-topped pie at Spago. And stop by for late-night slices, which are exclusive to this location.
Pizzana, 460 N. Robertson Blvd., West Hollywood, 310-657-4662.
The Formosa Cafe — West Hollywood
The details: The 94-year-old dive bar has been under renovation for a couple of years, with 1933 Group (Highland Park Bowl, Harlowe and others) at the helm. It opened back up to the public in June.
The vibe: You’ll be seeing red (in a good way) in the form of shiny red banquettes and patterned wallpaper adorned with vintage photos. A gorgeous carved backbar, as well as gold and green leather accents, lend a luxe touch to the space.
The menu: Little Fatty’s David Kuo has updated the menu with the likes of fiery dandan noodles, a refreshingly crisp chicken salad, scallion pancakes and an entire section of dim sum favorites like egg rolls.
The drinks: Think tiki chic, with mai tais, Scorpion Bowls and the like.
Pro tip: The upstairs patio is set to open soon, too, so you’ll be able to enjoy a Two-Martini Lunch (that’d be two half martinis, one gin and one vodka) with a view.
The Formosa Cafe, 7156 Santa Monica Blvd., West Hollywood.
Yours Truly — Venice
The details: Fine dining chef Vartan Abgaryan has taken over the former Salt Air space on Abbot Kinney.
The vibe: White-washed walls and chairs, geometric-patterned orange banquettes and an exposed concrete floor set the scene for the beautiful people of Venice.
The menu: Although the menu’s global flavors defy an outright definition, the only way we can describe the food is “crowd-pleasing.” We’re talking avocado hummus, crispy octopus with strawberry harissa, and Nashville-style hot shrimp perched atop Japanese milk bread.
The drinks: There’s a wine list that leans towards France, Italy and California, as well as a selection of updated classic cocktails and aperitifs.
Pro tip: The restaurant recently launched brunch, so swing by on the weekends for equally inventive takes on brunch fare, such as a rye waffle with ricotta and yuzu kosho honey, or a savory Dutch baby with peas, morels and Parmesan cream.
Yours Truly, 1616 Abbot Kinney Blvd., Venice, 310-396-9333.
Mizlala — West Adams
The details: The popular San Fernando Valley Middle Eastern restaurant from chef Danny Elmaleh has opened a new location in West Adams.
The vibe: Picture a casual, greenery-lined outdoor patio with a couple of long tables that are perfect for piling plates of falafel and the like on top. Order at the counter, then snag a seat.
The menu: Simply grilled meats, like chicken shawarma and kefta, can be ordered in a pita, on a salad or as a plate (with rice, a swoosh of outstanding hummus and veggies). A handful of vegetable sides, like crisp fried broccoli with vegan aioli, are equally delicious.
The drinks: A beer and wine license is still in the works, but there’s plenty here to sample, like tahina shakes.
Pro tip: Make at least one trip to the sauce/pickle bar, where you can load up on harissa, garlic sauce, Israeli pickles and more.
Mizlala, 5400 W. Adams Blvd., 323-433-7137.
L’Antica Pizzeria da Michele — Hollywood
The details: A world-renowned pizza joint from Naples, Italy, has descended upon Hollywood to take over the old Cafe Des Artistes space.
The vibe: The sweeping outdoor patio — with the handmade clay pizza oven on full view in an exhibition-style glass-encased structure — is the perfect spot for a glass of wine and a couple of pies.
The menu: Double-fermented Neapolitan pizzas blasted for less than a minute in said oven are the reason you’re here. The menu is compact, but you can’t go wrong with the classics.
The drinks: Choose from the all-Italian wine list, or pair your pie with a cold Peroni.
Pro tip: Have a pre-dinner drink in the lounge, outfitted with leather sofas and a fireplace.
L’Antica Pizzeria da Michele, 1534 N. McCadden Pl., L.A., 323-366-2408.
Feature image: The smoked salmon at YOURS TRULY, featuring a scallion pancake, creme fraiche, lemon, soy, and salmon roe.
July 11, 2019