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Santa Monica's Iconic Michael's Gets a New Chef and Fresh Interior Look

The longtime Westside resaturant has a long history and a young star at the kitchen's helm

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Farley Elliott is the Senior Editor at Eater LA and the author of Los Angeles Street Food: A History From Tamaleros to Taco Trucks. He covers restaurants in every form, from breaking news to the culture, people, and history that surrounds LA's dining landscape.

Plenty of big names have worked their way through the kitchen at Michael’s in the nearly four decades since the place first opened. The next man up is Miles Thompson, and he’s brought with him a wave of changes to the Westside dining icon.

First, the dining room itself has been spruced up quite a bit. The heavy darker red paint has been moved aside in favor of a brighter look, complete with reupholstered seating. Owner Michael McCarty is also rather famous for his art collection, more than half of which has been rotated out for new imagery along the walls. This isn’t a full-on rebuild, of course, but small touches go a long way to reintroducing one of the city’s most gifted talents to the scene.

That talent is Miles Thompson, a 28 year old who has been traveling around working stints in Healdsburg and the Caribbean after leaving Los Angeles in 2014. Thompson was the face behind Allumette in Echo Park, a critical darling that struggled to find mainstream success, as well as his own popular Vagrancy Project pop-ups.

Take the history of the place and roll it into the future

With Michael’s, the plan is to take the history of the place — where luminaries like Nancy Silverton, Jonathan Waxman, Brooke Williamson, and Sang Yoon have all spent time — and roll it into the future, pushing out market-driven dishes that range from a pork cheek sandwich on Brazilian cheese bread to smoked trout roe or a plate of duck confit with rose geranium and sweet potato. The full menu, including cocktails from the revamped bar menu by Meredith Hayman, is below.

Michael’s is now open again in Santa Monica, following the truncated refresh. Dinner hours in Monday through Saturday from 5:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m., and you can make your reservations on the restaurant’s website now.

Michael’s Wonho Frank Lee

Wonho Frank Lee

Wonho Frank Lee

Michaels by Farley Elliott on Scribd

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