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Makani in Venice Reopens With a New Menu Meant to Appeal to a Wider Dining Crowd

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Fine dining chef refreshes fare at nine-month-old Rose Avenue hideaway

Makani in Venice
Brian Wilkinson reboots menu at Makani in Venice
Frank Wonho Lee

Makani in Venice reopened for dinner service last night following a 10-day hiatus. Debuted last spring, the Rose Avenue spot has made an impression on the neighborhood, as well as food media, in its nine months of operation, with Forbes declaring it The Best New Los Angeles Restaurant You’ve Never Heard Of late last year.

A new culinary team is in place with the departure of opening chef Kevin Lee. Taking the reins is executive chef Brian Wilkinson, who has spent time in the kitchens of Eleven Madison Park and at Union Square Hospitality’s Marta. He moved to Los Angeles to assist with the opening of Casey Lane’s Viale dei Romani in 2017.

Wild-caught whole fish with Fresno pepper gremolata
Frank Wonho Lee

Characterized as Venice comfort food by Wilkinson, the seasonally-driven, shareable menu includes little nibbles like olives and pickles to start, an entire section devoted to vegetable-centered dishes, and wood-grilled proteins like wild-caught whole fish and a half chicken for two. “We want Makani to be a place that you feel comfortable coming to any day of the week and not just for special occasions,” shares Wilkinson. “The menu touches on some of my Southern upbringing mixed with the feel of being in Venice.”

Bar director Gabriele Mercadante’s cocktail program is intended to complement Wilkinson’s menu, with offerings like the Green Dragon with yuzu and perilla, and the Espadin Negroni with mezcal and Campari. Hours are Tuesday to Thursday from 5:30 pm to 10 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 5:30 pm to 11 p.m., and Sunday from 5:30 pm to 9 p.m. Look for happy hour to make an appearance later this month.

Espadin Negroni
Frank Wonho Lee

Makani. 512 Rose Avenue. Venice, CA.

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