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The Saddest Los Angeles Restaurant Closures of 2015

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Plenty of openings, but lots of closures as well.

Trattoria Neapolis
Trattoria Neapolis
Elizabeth Daniels

Saint Martha

Saint Martha Koreatown

Photo: Elizabeth Daniels

Koreatown's now-shuttered Saint Martha was short on time, but never lacked for originality. First, the strip mall location, housed inside a former Bangladeshi ramen restaurant blocks south of Wilshire. And then there's the food, from breakout chef Nick Erven, which combined nearby influences with classic techniques, resulting in a neo-Continental cuisine that was at once playful and exciting, without being stuffy. Add in esoteric wines from opening GM and sommelier Mary Thompson, and Saint Martha was a near-instant hit. That is, until some rumored management kerfuffles kiboshed the whole thing near the end of the summer. —Farley Elliott

Dominick's

Dominicks

After 67 years of being a West Hollywood fixture, Dominick's shut its doors for the last time on December 20. The classic Italian-American restaurant has been a long-time celebrity haunt, being a favorite of everyone from the Rat Pack and Marilyn Monroe to Sean Penn and Kiefer Sutherland. According to the ABC, a new concept, Verlaine, will take over the Warner Ebbink and Brandon Boudet-owned space. —Crystal Coser

Bucato

Bucato was to me the saddest closure because it killed off Evan Funke's first restaurant effort, a kind of chef auteur's dream realized from a hand-rolled, and hand-cut sheet of pasta. That it lasted just over a year might just give it a kind of permanence now in the memories of those who got to try Funke's rustic wood-fired dishes and pitch-perfect pastas.  The Culver City scene has grown up in other ways, with the weight of the culinary scene shifting slightly west to the likes of Hatchet Hall. With places like The Cannibal and Craftsman & Wolves soon hitting the platform, the focus will come back closer to downtown CC. But Bucato was, for me, a precursor to the city's preeminence in the LA restaurant scene. —Matthew Kang

Mother Dough

Mother Dough Los Feliz

Photo: Yelp

The death of Mother Dough should be submitted as Exhibit A in The Country vs. LA Pizza, the landmark (and never-ending) court case that routinely puts this city's pizza bonafides on trial. Outside of places like Mozza, Sotto, and Bestia, there are few seriously high-quality, Neapolitan-style pies being made here — and one less now with the loss of this Los Feliz anchor. Owner Bez Compani simply couldn't hold on any longer, working the Stefano Ferrara oven every day himself, plus prep and clean up and all the other worries that come along with running your own small business. So down goes another one, while the case against L.A.'s pizza scene continues to grow more vocal. —Farley Elliott

Brilliantshine

Photo: Elizabeth Daniels

All felt well with the world when Julian Cox and Josh Goldman finally opened up a cocktail tavern of their own, Brilliantshine, rather than consulting for other restaurants and bars. Well the cozy Santa Monica space with bites by Richie Lopez (Paiche) hardly lasted a year before a partner split forced its closure. Although there was no questioning the high caliber of libations coming from Brilliantshine's bar, cocktail aficionados need not be too devastated, as Julian Cox now has another bespoke bar to call his own — The Fiscal Agent. —Crystal Coser

Il Grano

Il Grano Dining Room Main

Photo: Il Grano

People look to places like Alimento, Sotto, and Bestia for the current zeitgeist of California-Italian cooking, but Il Grano introduced fresh pasta and crudo to people almost two decades prior. Sal Marino is the kind of old-school (though not very old-aged) chef who puts elegant minimalist ingredients on the plate and lets them shine. The tomato tastings were epic, the result of Marino's obsession with the beautiful fruit. Il Grano probably suffered a bit from its more staid dining room (though not quite stuffy) and non-ideal location, but it was for many on the Westside, the height of Italian cooking (Valentino notwithstanding). —Matthew Kang

Short Order

Photo: Short Order

Perhaps no other restaurant came in with as much heart as Short Order did when first opening at the Original Farmers Market off Fairfax and Third. Due in part to the untimely passing of co-owner Amy Pressman just before the opening, Short Order emerged as an anchor to the many changes happening at the Market, with Nancy Silverton and opening chef Christian Page as the two stalwarts leading the very personal charge. Ultimately the bi-level burger place fell softly away in favor of a Sprout-backed Spanish tapas spot and upstairs bar, but there's still something soulful about those early days at Short Order. Hopefully that's not lost forever, even if the sign out front says something different now. —Farley Elliott

Trattoria Neapolis

Photo: Elizabeth Daniels

Trattoria Neapolis wasn't a perfect restaurant, but it was a serious, grown up Italian place in the heart of Pasadena. To me it signaled that this part of town was ready to graduate from chain restaurants and burger joints, and to better, more ambitious eateries. The decor gave that strange slotted space a robust, impressive look that made it great for taking the parents on special occasions. Once it morphed into the a steakhouse, I knew it was doomed, because there are other really good places for steak in the area. Union's arrival on the scene helped Pasadena's reputation, but Neapolis's closure was a step backward. Let's hope some top notch restaurants hit the 626 in 2016. —Matthew Kang

Twain's

The Valley mourned the loss of one of their own this year, with the slow demise of Twain's in Studio City. A Googie architectural landmark with a more than 50 year history, it seems the Ventura Boulevard location went the way of the dinosaur rather meekly, posting a dreaded ‘renovations' sign before word came down that the address would be taken over by an outlet of the Sharky's Mexican Grill chain. Even that has since been seemingly abandoned, as the forlorn facade sits today as untouched as it was nearly a year ago. The Valley's casual throwback diner breakfast scene may never recover. —Farley Elliott

Billys Deli

Billy's Deli

Plain and simple, Billy's was an old school Jewish deli, the place where I grew up and discovered my love of grilled reuben sandwiches. I spent many years in high school playing hooky here, or grabbing a massive meal for around $10. The place felt a little neglected in its last few years, and the city has grown up a lot, especially with brands like Shake Shack coming in. But Billy's was a remnant of the old Glendale, a small town next to a huge city, a place where you could step back in time and forget about all the development happening outside of it. I'll pour out one more egg cream for you, Billy's.  —Matthew Kang

Saint Martha

740 S Western Ave, Los Angeles, CA Visit Website

Bucato

3280 Helms Avenue, Culver City, CA 90034 310-876-0286

Short Order

6333 W 3rd Street, Los Angeles, CA 90036 (323) 761-7970 Visit Website

Il Grano

11359 Santa Monica Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90025 Visit Website

Trattoria Neapolis

336 S Lake Avenue, Pasadena, CA 91106 626 792 3000 Visit Website

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