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What to Expect at Alma, the Grove’s New Two-Story Upscale Mexican Contender

The massive Grupo Hunan out of Mexico City promises everything from tacos al pastor to white tablecloth dinner service starting next month.

A far rendering of a two-story restaurant space with a fountain in the foreground.
A rendering for Alma, coming soon to the Grove.
Grupo Hunan
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.

Massive Mexico City-based restaurant consortium Grupo Hunan is edging ever closer to opening its first stateside project, the new Alma at the Grove that is taking up residence inside the closed home of Dominque Ansel’s former 189. Here’s what to know about the planned arrival, which is slated to come (at least in parts) before the end of the year.

For starters, Alma will indeed use both the first and second floor of the split-level space, with the ground floor casual cafe area opening first. There diners can expect a breezy, coastal-toned dining room and more laid-back service to go along with staple dishes like tacos al pastor, escamoles, and birria. The patio, facing the Grove’s famed fountain, will also be in heavy use, particularly during holiday season; expect this first phase to open in December of this year as a taqueria, cocktail bar, and marketplace.

A ground level rendering look inside of a modern Mexican restaurant with plants, open seating, and a patio.
A ground-floor rendering for Alma.

Upstairs, Grupo Hunan is targeting a more refined, fine-dining dinner setup designed by group founders Cuaik Architects. While the finished menu is still being sorted out, expect an upscale setup with more robust service details and white tablecloths spread on heavy tables across the open, light dining room and second-floor balcony. This portion of the space should open in January of 2022, complete with leafy plants, lots of blonde wood, and muted tones spread across the open dining area.

The new Alma is the first U.S. project for Grupo Hunan, one of Mexico’s largest independent restaurant groups. Within CDMX the group runs all Nobu locations as well as restaurants dedicated to Italian, Chinese, coastal Mexican, and other cuisines. Hunan, the group’s founding upscale Chinese restaurant, has served millions of customers since opening in 1993. In all, the group — run by siblings Pepe, Diego, Teresa and Santiago Cuaik — holds more than two dozen restaurants across Mexico.

A rendering of a wide dining room with tan tones, high ceilings, and lots of white tablecloths on tables.
The upstairs dining room.
An angled rendering of a bar and kitchen area inside of a new restaurant with grey tones, high ceilings, and white tablecloths.
A look into the kitchen.