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Remembering the Restaurant Design of the ’80s and ’90s in Los Angeles

Plus, Uncool Burgers relocates to West Hollywood, and Spoons Patisserie goes on hiatus

General View Of Kate Mantilini Restaurant
Outside Kate Mantilini restaurant in 2014
Photo by Mark Davis/Getty Images
Matthew Kang is the Lead Editor of Eater LA. He has covered dining, restaurants, food culture, and nightlife in Los Angeles since 2008. He's the host of K-Town, a YouTube series covering Korean food in America, and has been featured in Netflix's Street Food show.

Architect D. Fletcher Dunham, who promotes supportive housing and works at Koning Eizenberg, noted the experimental and radical designs of restaurant interiors and exteriors in a series of tweets last night, highlighting many places that are now long gone physically but still entrenched in the memories of Angelenos. Many of these restaurants built and designed in the 1980s and 1990s featured sweeping lines and commonplace materials.

Examples include Thom Mayne and Michael Rotondi’s 72 Market Street in Venice, Angeli Caffe on Melrose, Kate Mantilini in Beverly Hills (which was the set of some famous scenes in Heat), Rebecca in Venice, and Nicola in Downtown LA. Hilariously, one of the only remaining buildings featuring the wild, often postmodern design of the ‘90s is the KFC on Western near Beverly by Elysee Grinstein and Jeffrey Daniels. Another example of a wild ‘90s restaurant interior that persists is Wolfgang Puck’s Chinois on Main, whose colorful interior by Barbara Lazaroff seems to be untouched by time. Though many of these restaurants are closed, there are still plenty of classic LA restaurants that are still very much open.

In other news:

  • Uncool Burgers is leaving its spot on Larchmont to move over to West Hollywood. There’s no announced location in WeHo, though Uncool says it will have later hours until 2 a.m. and have a full bar, which is a nice bonus.
  • Speaking of older restaurants, the P.F. Chang’s in Santa Monica has shuttered without very much notice, according to Toddrickallen.
  • Spoons Patisserie made the sad announcement that due to personal circumstances, pastry chef Steven Cheung will not be serving his colorful pastries in Los Angeles for the next year. However, Cheung promises that he will return after spending the next year mostly working out of San Francisco, one of his two established bases.
  • LA Magazine has a quick roundup of either the newly opened or soon to open restaurants in Downtown Los Angeles. Places like Girl and the Goat just opened while Yangban Society could debut by next month. Others like Yess from Junya Yamazaki and Caldo Verde from Suzanne Goin and Caroline Styne are further afield but will likely be notable openings for the neighborhood.
  • L.A. Taco has a feature on Benjamin Padilla, a taquero who specializes in tacos al vapor in East LA. Those steaming hot beef bits look incredible.