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Nobu Continues to See Opportunity in SoCal Coastal Expansion

Plus the return of Roberta’s, and a vegan food fair

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Nobu Newport Beach
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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.

Nobu gets glitzy along the coast

There’s a seriously gorgeous new Nobu property landing in Malibu this month: The Nobu Ryokan Hotel. Full of minimalist luxury and sweeping ocean views, the property is perched right next door to Nobu Malibu the restaurant, and will lean on them for not only dinner reservations but also in-room dining for the small hotel that caters to the rich and famous.

Many miles down south, the new Nobu restaurant in Newport Beach opens today. The Lido Marina space is full of sleek woods and fresh fish, with plenty of eye-catching waterfront to enjoy if you can afford it.

Add in the loud new Hollywood corner that TAO and Beauty & Essex have taken over, plus hotspots like Catch LA and luxe dining at Wolfgang Puck’s new Experience tasting menu spot (or the soon-to-come Vespertine) and suddenly it seems like there’s more room than ever before in the “seriously upscale” dining market in Los Angeles — even if the city is primarily known for its more casual vibes.

Roberta’s returns

Looks like chef Carlo Mirarchi of Roberta’s is coming back into town, selling porchetta out of Downtown’s di Alba space in the Arts District. The pop-up lasts for one night only (April 27), with a $24 dinner party that also includes vegetable sides and dessert from Zena Scharf. The return of Mirarchi should only add fuel to the speculative fire about Roberta’s landing permanently somewhere in Los Angeles soon.

Restaurant week

It’s Pasadena Restaurant Week soon, which means deals on lots of local spots from Bar Celona and Cafe Bizou to Ruth’s Chris Steak House and Sushi Roku. The week runs April 30 to May 5, with each spot doing their own deal for customers.

Chef’s Fable

There’s a fun Q&A panel happening at The Wiltern on April 30, featuring Roy Choi, Jon Favreau, David Gelb (Chef’s Table), Magnus Nilsson, Niki Nakayama, and Jonathan Gold. It’s called Chef’s Fable and will talk about the intersection of film and food, with a screening of the movie Chef to follow.

The Valley adds ice cream

Don’t look now, but there’s even more ice cream landing in Los Angeles. Yep, more. This time it’s in Calabasas at The Commons — that’s where you’ll find the next Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams, as the national company pushes for a summertime opening.

Prime rib time

The original Lawry’s in Beverly Hills is giving back soon, with a stellar April 27 deal for what is, apparently, National Prime Rib Day. For dinner only, guests can pony up $69 for a martini, appetizer, and the main classic prime rib dinner.

Easter from above

71Above is doing Easter brunch from hundreds of feet up, offering spectacular views along with a $45 set menu from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on Sunday, April 16. You can make reservations at OpenTable for the meal, which includes a slew of options across the two course brunch, like pork belly benedicts and charred octopus hash.

Vegan eats for all

Here’s the lineup for Eat Drink Vegan, the new plant-based party going down in Pasadena at the Rose Bowl next month. Tickets are on sale now for the May 27 shindig, which will include not only already vegan restaurants, but other culinary headliners doing meatless stuff for a change.

Firefly cooks up a new one

There’s a new chef working the stoves at the popular Firefly in the Valley. This time it’s Perry Pollaci, a New Yorker most recently of The Royce inside the Langham Huntington Hotel in Pasadena. Expect big, meaty mains as well as produce-driven starters, some pasta, and more — plus a slightly revamped restaurant interior to boot.

Gourmet tortillas and more

The OC city of Orange is getting a hip new tortilleria and cafe, all rolled into one. It’s called Taco Mesa and comes from chef Ivan Calderon, who is intent on making fresh non-GMO tortillas and using them in a variety of dishes, while also adding coffee and other speciality drinks. Opening at the end of the month. 3533 E. Chapman Ave., Orange, CA