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James Beard-Winning Chef to Open New Japanese-Italian Restaurant in Hollywood

A trio of chefs from Boston, Tokyo, and LA collaborate on what could be the glitziest Hollywood opening next year

A side angle view of an Art Deco restaurant with swooping lines, tile, and gilded touches.
Inside the former Paley in Hollywood.
Wonho Frank Lee

Hollywood’s ascension as one of greater Los Angeles’ most exciting dining neighborhoods continues apace today, with news that a prominent James Beard Foundation Award winner is joining forces with some fine dining chops to take over a familiar space at 6115 Sunset Boulevard. The upcoming project, titled Magari, will be a three-way collaboration that pairs Italian and Japanese flavors together under one gilded roof.

Leading the new Magari charge is a triumvirate of talent, including former Boston chef Tony Messina, who left that East Coast city earlier this year to pursue projects in LA. Messina won the 2019 James Beard award for Best Chef: Northeast while working at his restaurant Uni. He’ll be joined by Tokyo-based chef Yoshiyuki Okuno, owner of Michelin Bib Gourmand designee La Brianza, and Sicilian-born chef Enrico Merendino, previously of Cara inside Cara Hotel; the latter is on as executive chef in charge of day-to-day cooking.

All told, the three names will run Magari alongside ownership group Ozumo Concepts, known for Japanese restaurant Ozumo in San Francisco. They’ve chosen the former Paley space on Sunset for their first LA foray, with its swooping lines, Art Deco touches, tall ceilings, and ample sunlight. The restaurant is well-situated in the neighborhood. It’s close to Netflix’s massive offices and a variety of incoming hotels and tourist destinations. And there’s the steady stream of people going in and out of the next door shared work complex NeueHouse.

As for the Japanese-Italian menu, expect pastas with Japanese flourishes, as well as raw bar items and meat from the grill (including imported Japanese wagyu). There will be cocktails, Italian wine, and a total of 190 seats — including 50 on the patio — with design from Cass Calder Smith. A rendering of the space is below.

Look for Magari to open in Hollywood in early 2022, though no formal date has yet been set. Once the place opens, it will join a slew of other talented restaurants both new and old, including Wes Avila’s incoming Ka’Teen, Evan Funke’s soon-to-arrive Mother Wolf, Lincoln Carson’s new Mes Amis, and hot new recent opening Horses.

A rendering for a patio and lit-up restaurant, shown at night with interior lights going and lots of greenery.

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