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Star OC Chef Daniel Godinez Returns to LA With a Modern Mexican Steakhouse

The upscale Polanco lands inside the Ayres Hotel near Manhattan Beach this month

An uncooked steak from Polanco

It’s shaping up to be one heck of a summer at the beach, and that means lots more dining along the coast. Next up is Polanco, a New Mexican-leaning steakhouse set near upscale Manhattan Beach — making the name (a nod to an affluent neighborhood in Mexico City) all the more appropriate.

Polanco represents a return to Los Angeles County for chef Daniel Godinez. He’s amassed a following in neighboring Orange County, with restaurants like Anepalco and Fonda Moderna, but has only really tried to open big in the greater Los Angeles area once before. That was at Maestro in Pasadena back in 2017, and suffice it to say the project was not a fit. Now, four years later, there is Polanco.

The slightly elevated restaurant will focus on fine dining touches with a lively atmosphere, meaning the music is turned up a little so that it bounces off the stone walls, deep wood tables, and long leather banquettes. There will be bar carts for tableside service (when allowed), a French salon-esque lounge area, and more than 100 seats across the interior of the restaurant (including a private dining room), plus more on the patio.

As for the food, Godinez says the menu will feature lots of steaks, of course, seared off and seasoned with an eye toward the ranches and cattle farms of northern Mexico. There will be seafood preparations that nod to the coasts and lots of staple Mexican dishes from sopes and enchiladas to chile rellenos. Polanco also has a full bar run by Miguel Valencia that will focus on margaritas, tequilas, mezcal, and more, and a wine list entirely devoted to Mexican and California wines.

The restaurant takes over a chunk of the ground floor of the Ayres Hotel at 14400 Hindry Avenue in Hawthorne, near Manhattan Beach, with a grand opening set for May 21. What Now LA says that Godinez will also open a second Polanco soon, in the former Preux & Proper space in Downtown LA.

Polanco

14400 Hindry Ave., Hawthorne, CA 90250

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