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Inside LA’s Modern Fine Dining Restaurant Movement, and More A.M. Intel

Plus a Downtown brunch pop-up and a sausage taco situation in Orange County

Lounge area at 71Above, Downtown LA
71Above, Downtown
Wonho Frank Lee
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.

Fine dining remains

Food & Wine has a piece out on Vartan Abgaryan, the chef/partner at Downtown’s 71Above. Long known for his inventive, elevated food at places like Cliff’s Edge, Abgaryan took on a stunner of a space inside the U.S. Bank Tower and is turning out a menu that would absolutely qualify as modern fine dining in Los Angeles. And he’s far from alone.

Places like n/naka, with its California-centric kaiseki menu, have also been keeping the modern fine dining drumbeat alive for years, beyond classics like Melisse and Providence. Orsa & Winston too is turning the notion of tasting menu food on its head, while chefs like Jordan Kahn and Dave Beran are looking to tighten and reframe the experience altogether from inside semi-secret chef’s counters or spaceships come to Culver City. Fine dining is alive and thriving in Los Angeles; it’s just a matter of perspective.

More on Meals by Genet

The LA Times has a nice video feature out on Genet Agonafer, the namesake chef/owner of Ethiopian mainstay Meals by Genet. The 17-year-old restaurant is still firing on all cylinders, they say, as is the lively Agonafer herself.

Royce Burke brings the party

Chef Royce Burke is doing an alleyway pop-up in the Arts District this weekend, turning out a Father’s Day brunch in front of Daily Dose Cafe both Saturday and Sunday. Details are below, with the shindig happening between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. both days.

Pool taco party

Alma at the Standard is expanding its poolside dining menu, adding a tacos and pitchers of natural wine sangria. Sounds like the party is on Sunset Boulevard this summer.

Todo Bien to Woodland Hills

Ventura Blvd. Magazine has details on Todo Bien Kitchen & Tequila Bar, a new option for Woodland Hills. Run by a longtime caterer, the restaurant at 22616 Ventura Boulevard serves the usual supply of tacos, chips and guacamole, and of course cocktails and tequila.

Taco Brat spoils Orange County

Speaking of tacos, there’s a new fusion-y joint headed for Orange County called Taco Brat. The place mixes Mexican flavors with German beerhall sausage and beer vibes in Costa Mesa. Grand opening at 2101 Harbor Boulevard is Saturday. The opening menu is below.