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LA’s Most Inventive Barman Eyes 12-Seat Dinner Spot in Malibu

This is Matthew Biancaniello’s first major project in years

Matthew Biancaniello
Matthew Biancaniello [official]
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.

Popular Los Angeles barman Matthew Biancaniello is branching out, opening up a tiny twelve-seat omakase food and drink experience in the wilds of Malibu.

Food & Wine was first to the news of Biancaniello’s upcoming Mon Li, a still-in-process project from one of LA’s most well-regarded bartenders. The idea is to bring Biancaniello’s natural inclinations — pairing food with cocktails in unusual ways, and often in the same glass — to the forefront, but skew the ratios so the whole thing feels like a meal with alcohol, rather than a drinks flight with bite. What that will actually shake out to look like remains to be seen, but expect heavy foraging, the use of some local farms in greater Malibu.

Biancaniello puts Mon Li together with the backing of Calamigos Guest Ranch and Beach Club. He’ll be putting down a dozen seats at the company’s beach club property just off PCH three nights a week, within skipping distance to the Pacific Ocean. Per Food & Wine, Biancaniello could find himself manning a grill in an open courtyard to start, followed by a seated and coursed-out experience at a nearby counter. Chef Ricardo Morales from Calamigos will also be helping out with the project.

As for price and timing, expect something in the $125 to $175 range, though reps for Biancaniello tell Eater that the project is still very much in flux, so hard numbers aren’t possible at the moment. Neither is a deadline, though word is the place should be up and running in Malibu by July. In the meantime Biancaniello has been popping up at Ysabel in West Hollywood, doing his thing and drawing crowds, so it’s still possible to find him there on Wednesday nights.

Mon Li
26025 Pacific Coast Hwy
Malibu, CA