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Everything to Know About Somni, José Andrés’ Ambitious $235 Tasting Counter

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Saam chef Aitor Zabala serves 20 courses in a new fine dining experience

Dishes at Somni, SLS Beverly Hills
Dishes at Somni, SLS Beverly Hills
Jill Paider
Matthew Kang is the Lead Editor of Eater LA. He has covered dining, restaurants, food culture, and nightlife in Los Angeles since 2008. He's the host of K-Town, a YouTube series covering Korean food in America, and has been featured in Netflix's Street Food show.

SLS Beverly Hills will soon host one of LA’s most ambitious new restaurants, Somni, which comes from José Andrés’ ThinkFoodGroup beginning March 9. It’s helmed by ThinkFoodGroup’s culinary director and former Saam lead Aitor Zabala, a seasoned Spanish chef who’s cooked with Andrés for years.

Somni takes over the Saam at the Bazaar, a celebrated, but perhaps lessor-known dining room tucked into The Bazaar. The dinner price reflects its ambition, at $235 a person including valet, but not beverages, service, or tax. That means $620 for two people, including a 20% service charge that’s split between non-management employees, and also designated to cover employee benefits.

Wine pairings are equally high-minded, with an approachable “unique” selection of small production bottles for $175. A special vintage pairing runs $500 which aught to impress the most discerning of oenophiles, and moderate “prized” pairing for $250. Basically, Somni is poised to continue Saam’s legacy inside the ritzy boutique hotel.

Aitor Zabala, ThinkFoodGroup
“Pa amb tomaquet” — tomato bread at Somni
Jill Paider

Onto the food, it’s 15 20 courses of modernist techniques, Spanish inspiration, and “multi-sensory” elements. Think of Somni as LA’s equivalent to DC’s minibar or Vegas’s é, comprised of a chef’s counter made of large, single piece of oak. Like Dialogue, Maude, The Rogue Experience, and Trois Mec, it’s an experience that gives diners a first row look into the kitchen’s work.

There aren’t any photos of the interior available at the moment, but Saam previously had enough to fit a few dozen diners, so it’s interesting to see Andrés condense this room into a more exclusive situation. The food draws heavily from LA and Catalonia, and some of the sample dishes in the photos come with vague descriptors: ‘egg’ with uni and parmesan papyrus, ‘curry’ with pigtail curry bun, ‘vienetta’ of almond ice cream and chocolate croquant, and ‘pa amb tomaquet,’ a tomato bread.

Somni comes on the tail of LA’s emergence in globally-inspired fine dining. Dave Beran’s Dialogue and Jordan Kahn’s Vespertine consumed much of this Michelin-minded audience last year, with Wolfgang Puck’s The Rogue Experience also creating some waves in those circles. As LA’s international culinary profile continues to grow, it seems like it’s only time before the Michelin Guide and the World’s Fifty Best begin explore LA’s fine dining scene in earnest.

Somni tickets are available right now on Tock for dinners beginning on March 9 through April 28. Dinners available Tuesday to Saturday, with seatings at 6 and 8:30 p.m.