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The Biggest LA Restaurant Openings to Know in April

From a massive motorcycle-loving Arts District warehouse to Mid-City’s n/soto, the long-awaited follow-up from the unstoppable n/naka team

Kushikaki skewers with meat.
Skewers from n/soto.
Wonho Frank Lee

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Los Angeles is no stranger to splashy restaurant openings situated in iconic buildings and helmed by big-name chefs. Consider this monthly rundown a go-to guide for the newest and boldest debuts across the Southland. For more under-the-radar restaurant openings, check out this companion list.


April 2022

Kodo

The new Kodo looks nothing like anything the Arts District has seen before. Matching light slate tones and lots of stone with blonde wood finishes — all while toggling between smooth lines and sharp corners across multiple dining spaces — the restaurant feels like something pulled across eras. It is both modern and timeless, Japanese and Angeleno, culled from the creative class and plunked down with heavy authority inside of a former firehouse. The Kensho Group restaurant’s menu comes by way of Yoya Takahashi (Hamasaku) and features traditional Japanese flavors as well as a modern sake bar, cocktails, and more.

An overhead shot of a variety of Japanese dishes, mostly on stone plates and bowls.
An overview of Kodo’s menu.
Wonho Frank Lee

N/Soto

The last time Niki Nakayama and Carole Iida-Nakayama opened a new restaurant was over a decade ago with n/naka. The restaurant remains one of the most difficult reservations in Los Angeles, and now with n/soto, perhaps diners have another chance to try their Michelin-rated food. The restaurant — housed inside a Mid-City space that’s filled with white oak, a long bar, and deep blues and grays — will evolve its menu with the seasons, including recent options like a carrot fennel tartare, Hokkaido scallop sashimi with pickled cauliflower, pepita seeds, and ume plum blossoms, or grilled kushiyaki meats. The new n/soto is a big step for the beloved chefs, a challenge they’re ready to take on.

Carrot and fennel tartare dish from n/soto in Los Angeles.
Carrot and fennel tartare from n/soto.
Wonho Frank Lee

Causita

Chef Ricardo Zarate opened his Nikkei Peruvian food restaurant Causita on April 19 next door to the recently reopened Bar Moruno in Silver Lake, marking a strong return for the once-dominant force behind spots like Paiche and Mo Chica. The seafood-heavy menu includes starters of ceviches and tiraditos, along with a nigiri causa nikkei. Zarate serves Peru’s traditional potato or causa, with sushi-like preparations of tuna, salmon, and other raw fish served with a side of potato. There are innovative creations here too, like foie gras churro bombs with the citrusy lucuma fruit and cranberry, and a multi-course Nikkei steak omakase that costs $100 a person. As for the former Sawyer space on Sunset, expect a pared-back aesthetic, long corner bar, and that same leafy tiled patio.

An assortment of plates at Causita restaurant in Silver Lake, California.
Small plates at Causita.
Wonho Frank Lee

Outer Reef

Chef John Tesar, known for his many James Beard Foundation award nominations, his time on Top Chef, and penchant for (ahem) speaking up, has finally landed in Orange County. After promising a coastal restaurant there for years, Tesar has this month opened Outer Reef as an ode to the bounty of the sea, moving from many raw preparations like a razor clam tartare, geoduck sashimi, and dry-aged tuna, to grilled items and larger mains. There’s also shareable spot prawn ramen, roasted half lobster, kimchi-glazed halibut, and a black cod milanese to go along with housmade pastas and at least one steak. Outer Reef serves from inside the Laguna Cliffs Marriott Resort & Spa in Dana Point, so expect a more upscale experience and views to the sea.

A wide, largely white dining room with ocean scenery beyond at a new restaurant.
The dining room at Outer Reef.
Kevin Marple

Bike Shed Moto Co.

Massive new motorcycle-influenced cafe and bar Bike Shed Moto Co., based out of London, opened its doors in early April at 1580 S. Industrial Street in the Arts District. The multi-hyphenate space is located across from the Flying Embers Taproom and just down the street from Caboco, with plans to bring this section of Los Angeles all the deep leather, wood, and motorcycle talk it can handle. Motorcycle fans and diners of all stripes can stop in for the all-day menu, the in-the-round cocktail bar, the private membership club, or just to get a haircut, a tattoo, or pick up some merch. Yes, it really is that big (and cool).

A lively evening bar inside a warehouse space.
Hanging out inside Bike Shed Moto. Co.
Wonho Frank Lee

March 2022

Benny Boy Brewing, Lincoln Heights

After years of development and extensive work at other breweries, Ben Farber and Chelsey Rosetter have opened their cidery and craft brewing operation in Lincoln Heights with a breezy indoor-outdoor space. Sourcing local apples from Five Mile Orchard near Santa Cruz and using a whole flower hop method, the cider gains a natural instead of forced carbonation. Beers are European-influenced, like a California saison with fresh basil. The casual everyday drinking spot also has wine from Pali Wine and pommeau from Spirit Guild Distillery. Hours run Wednesday to Sunday, and parking can be kind of tight, so be sure to bike, walk, or Uber there.

Benny Boy Brewing’s patio in Los Angeles, California.
Benny Boy Brewing’s patio in Los Angeles, California.
Marie Buck

Magari, Hollywood

The former Paley at Columbia Square in Hollywood has switched over to Japanese-Italian Magari as of early March in a modern, rather gorgeous space that retains sweeping windows and gains a nice outdoor patio. The fare, from a trio of chefs in Yoshiyuki Okuno, Enrico Merendino (who is likely to be at the pass most nights), and consulting chef Tony Messina, is indeed Japanese-influenced pasta, crudo, and wood-grilled items. The portions and pricing can be a little head-scratching, but there are gems on the menu like the wood-roasted orata with a katsuoboshi acqua pazza.

Magari’s dining room in Hollywood
Magari’s dining room in Hollywood.
Wonho Frank Lee

Bar Moruno, Silver Lake

After a more than five-year hiatus, Bar Moruno’s Chris Feldmeier and David Rosoff have reopened their acclaimed Spanish restaurant in Silver Lake in the former Kettle Black space. The new look is grown up, filling the walls and high-ceiling dining room with both intimate seating and a lively bar. Spanish-inspired drinks might mean a meal starts with a gin and tonic or vermouth, before ordering a tinned fish board. Later dishes could be a tortilla española or Feldmeier’s signature roasted squash with cashews. Bar Moruno fills a real niche filled in LA’s dining scene with modern Spanish fare, a cuisine the city sorely needs more of.

A tall ceilinged restaurant with a wide bar and green stools, plus yellow seats.
Bar Moruno, Silver Lake.
Wonho Frank Lee

Tuk Tuk Thai, Sawtelle

Popular West LA Thai restaurant Tuk Tuk Thai finds a new home on the northern edge of Sawtelle with its spicy, flavor-packed street-inspired dishes like chicken satay, Isaan sour sausage, green curry, and pan-fried noodles. Operators Amanda Kuntee and Katy Noochlaor have experience running their family restaurants Chao Krung and Same Same. The millennial pink interior and modest patio are great for dining on-site while everything travels well for delivery and takeout. The Westside always needs more Thai food, and the return of this spot is a huge boon for the neighborhood.

Dishes from Tuk Tuk Thai in West LA/Sawtelle Japantown with satay and rice noodle dishes.
Dishes from Tuk Tuk Thai in West LA.
Tuk Tuk Thai

Asterid, Downtown

Ray Garcia, previously of Broken Spanish, is back in Downtown, with a set of modernist, LA-inspired dishes located in the former Patina slot at Walt Disney Concert Hall. Meant to be a landmark restaurant for an iconic space, Asterid starts with an octopus roll with Aleppo yogurt, or a cashew muhammara with ancho chiles, pomegranate, and feta. A lamb shank with chile Japones features charred eggplant puree with flatbread while the chicken liver mousse covered with fresh citrus almost looks like dessert. This is fancy but shareable food with Garcia at his most creative, working well for pre-show dinner or a fantastic middle-of-the-week date night.

An assortment of dishes at Chef Ray Garcia’s Asterid in Downtown LA.
Dishes from Ray Garcia’s Asterid in Downtown LA.
Wonho Frank Lee

Ronnie’s, Hollywood

Serving a slew of comfort food likely found in chain restaurants, but upgraded with a chef’s approach, Ronnie Muñoz gained fame during the pandemic with some well-read profiles before taking his food truck and pop-up operation to the multi-faceted building on the corner of Sunset and Tamarind avenues. Expect a bloomin’ onion, chicken tender, skillet cookie, and loaded fries served in a friendly neighborhood-style venue, with cocktails, craft beer, and wine as well.

A light green background with fried tenders and french fries in a black basket.
Fried tenders and french fries.
Ronnie’s Kickin’

Manzke, Pico-Robertson

Chefs Walter and Margarita Manzke didn’t plan to open a Michelin-level upscale restaurant when they took over the former Picca and Sotto building along Pico Boulevard. But when they opened Bicyclette in the subterranean dining room, they decided to make the upstairs and its adjoining mezzanine a true ode to their lengthy careers and the stellar cuisine of Los Angeles. With a mostly French point of view, the Manzkes take the best ingredients available in LA and from the Pacific Rim to do a decadent, luxurious dinner priced well over $250 before drinks come into the equation. While the event isn’t going to be cheap, the quality is there from start to finish thanks to a dedicated staff, stellar vintage wine and spirits selection, and an understated but well-appointed dining room that feels like it’s been there for generations.

Abalone with black truffle in a shell-looking dish.
Abalone with black truffle at Manzke.
Wonho Frank Lee

February 2022

Camphor, Arts District

Alain Ducasse veterans Max Boonthanakit and Lijo George lead the kitchen at Camphor, located inside the former Nightshade. The former highly regarded restaurant from chef Mei Lin closed unceremoniously during the pandemic, with partner Cyrus Batchan retaining the space and reopening with more or less the same interior. The young chef duo of Boonthanakit (who was the pastry chef at Nightshade when he was awarded Eater Young Gun) and George have a conceptual, mostly French bistro menu with influences from Southeast Asia. Sample dishes include fried baby shrimp gunpowder or roulade of chicken with thyme and jus. The food looks precious and fancy, and the early word is mostly positive.

Bar and open kitchen at Camphor restaurant in Downtown Los Angeles
Kitchen and bar counter seats at Camphor.
Wonho Frank Lee

Pizzeria Sei, Pico-Robertson

Providence and Ronan veteran William Joo opens a small nine counter-seat pizza restaurant with his wife Jessica So in Pico-Robertson with the aim of making of the city’s most notable destinations for the Italian specialty. Modeled after the revered Tokyo pizzerias of Savoy and Seirinkin, Joo makes Neapolitan pizzas with blobby, mochi-like crusts and farmers market ingredients at higher than $20 per pie. There’s a selection of salads and small plates that would make any Italian food lover smile, then a tight list of pizzas featuring everything from a basic marinara or margherita to the more meaty and spicy diavola.

William Joo of Pizzeria Sei puts a pizza into a woodfired oven.
William Joo of Pizzeria Sei.
Matthew Kang

Angelini Ristorante, Pacific Palisades

Longtime Italian chef Gino Angelini has finally expanded his restaurant to the West, this time in conjunction with Amici owner Tancredi Deluca, who took over a space in the Rick Caruso-owned Palisades Village in Pacific Palisades. Find familiar Angelini favorites like seafood risotto, tagliatelle bolognese, and lasagna verde “Nonna Elvira.” Expect a midcentury modern ambience with speckled or marble tabletops, globe lighting, and top notch service as would befit a typical upscale Westside Italian restaurant.

An assortment of dishes and cocktails from Angelini Ristorante & Bar in Brentwood, California
Pasta and cocktails from Angelini Ristorante & Bar.
Dylan + Jeni

Tommy’s, Beverly Hills

This is a pretty confusing name for anyone who likes chili cheeseburgers in LA, but Tommy Salvatore thinks Beverly Hills denizens will likely think differently. Taking over the former Bouchon space in the heart of the Golden Triangle, expect a lot of A-list celebrities and people who crave attention from paparazzi at this grand venue. Chef Vartan Abgaryan does a menu of Italian-inflected fare like cavatelli in light poblano coconut cream sauce or chicken parm with smoked mozzarella. Be ready to dish out cash, and maybe pose for a few errant snapshots.

An overhead photo of two roasted artichoke halves.
Roasted artichoke from Tommy’s.
Tommy’s Beverly Hills

Kato, Downtown

Jon Yao and company are back, this time with a much-upgraded space and kitchen in Downtown LA’s Arts District. With partners Ryan Bailey and Nikki Reginaldo, the Michelin-starred Kato has a full menu overhaul plus cocktails and wine, in a 48 seat dining room. The interior decor has a few flourishes, from Yao’s grandfather’s artwork to some adjusting lighting but overall the former M.Georgina vibe remains, albeit with fewer diners and more tweezers (to make each dish). Customers coming in from SGV will love the shorter drive while Westside fans will have to brave more traffic.

Local black cod wrapped in hoja santa with a broth of fish bones and preserved vegetables.
Local black cod wrapped in hoja santa with a broth of fish bones and preserved vegetables from Kato.
Wonho Frank Lee

Maude, Beverly Hills

Curtis Stone’s Michelin-starred tasting menu has a new chef in Osiel Gastelum, who transfers over from the now-closed Somni. Closed for the past two years, the overall recipe is familiar, with a mostly fixed tasting menu drawing from Gastelum’s upbringing in Sinaloa and Southern California, as well as Stone’s elegant perspective. The plateware looks refreshed too, still conjuring grandma’s dishes but with more precision than ever.

Crab with citrus and apple at Maude.
Crab with citrus and apple at Maude.
Andrea D’Agosto

Ryla, Hermosa Beach

Chefs Ray Hayashi and Cynthia Hetlinger are a husband-and-wife team who won’t let anything stop them. Their new restaurant Ryla just opened in Hermosa Beach with a fantastic bifurcated dining room that splits more casual bar seating with an izakaya-esque dining section with modern design. On the plate, there’s everything from fluke sashimi and uni-topped agedashi tofu to Peads and Barnett tonkatsu and glazed New York strip steak. Be sure to order the Penicillin-inspired Grandma’s Cigarettes cocktail for a smoky take on the classic drink.

Wild fluke sashimi with tosazu, mandarines, serrano chile, crispy lotus root at Ryla.
Wild fluke sashimi with tosazu and mandarines from Ryla.
Wonho Frank Lee

Selva, Long Beach

Colombian food doesn’t quite have a strong foothold in Southern California, though that perception might change with Selva, with Carlos Jurado opening earlier this month with experience from Vespertine to Catbird Seat and Husk in Nashville. There are arepas and ceviches, as one would expect, but also grilled specialties, smoked chicken, and buñuelos to go along with the aguardiente sours and other Colombian drinks.

Ceviche from Selva in Long Beach in a dark bowl.
Ceviche from Selva in Long Beach.
Wonho Frank Lee

Ella, Beverly Hills

The team behind Melrose Umbrella Company have taken over the food and beverage situation at the Sixty Hotel in Beverly Hills with this built-for-the-neighborhood restaurant with chef Brian Min at the helm. The versatile Californian menu with international influences and local produce has everything from glazed duck wings and dry-aged branzino to charred eggplant dip and tomahawk steak. The bright dining room, designed in part by Austin Melrose, along with the drinks by Zach Patterson and Dorian De Tappan, make this a swanky good time in Beverly Hills.

Dry-aged grilled branzino at Ella restaurant in Beverly Hills
Dry-aged grilled branzino at Ella.
Wonho Frank Lee

January 2022

Yangban Society, Arts District

At Yangban Society, owners Katianna and John Hong serve up Korean flavors and a new kind of mixed dining experience that offers lunchtime staples, sit-down dinners, and snacks and merch to-go. Along with branding firm Folklor, the Hongs redesigned the former Bon Temps space to include an airy ground floor complete with an alleyway patio, a bold blue mini-mart, and plenty of communal seating. The centerpiece deli pulls influences from Korean, Korean-American, California cooking, and more. The ever-evolving menu can include things like griddled potato bread, galbi pork ribs, and honey walnut carrots. For dessert, buffalo milk soft-serve from Petaluma’s Double 8 Dairy is a must.

A side angle of long communal tables and empty deli cases in a closed restaurant.
The downstairs deli cases and communal dining room at Yangban Society.
Wonho Frank Lee

Ipoh Koptiam, Alhambra

Home cook Kenji Tang garnered praise on Chinese-language social media platforms before opening Ipoh Kopitiam in Alhambra. The Malaysian cafe’s opening menu includes many Singaporean and Malaysian favorites like kaya toast, Hainan chicken, roti canai, beef rendang, and dry wonton noodles. House-specials include the bak kut teh, an herbal pork rib soup, and char kway teow, Chinese-influenced stir-fried rice noodles.

Ipoh Kopitiam serves Malaysian and Singaporean cuisine at the corner of Garfield and Valley Boulevards in Alhambra.
Ipoh Kopitiam serves Malaysian and Singaporean cuisine at the corner of Garfield and Valley Boulevards in Alhambra.
Ipoh Kopitiam

Mother Wolf, Hollywood

Pasta impresario Evan Funke explores the Roman culinary diaspora at Mother Wolf located inside Hollywood’s historic Citizen News Building. The Martin Brudnizki Design Studio-built space boasts a 3,000-square-foot open kitchen and 150 dining room banquettes, booths, and two- and four-tops. On the menu are classic Roman pastas, like cacio e pepe, rigatoni all’amatriciana, and spaghettone alla gricia, along with burnished Roman-style pizzas and starters like fried squash blossoms and artichokes. To drink are cocktails, Italian wines, and a roaming amaro cart. Snag a seat at the bar or the pizza bartop to look in on the action.

A long look down the middle of a dining room to a red-tiled open kitchen in the back.
The Martin Brudnizki Design Studio-built space at Mother Wolf inside the historic Citizen News Building.
Wonho Frank Lee

Cabra, Downtown

Chef Stephanie Izard takes over the rooftop dining deck at Downtown’s Hoxton Hotel with Peruvian spot Cabra. Partners Rob Katz and Kevin Boehm of the Boka Group are backing the new spot, which follows Izard down a Peruvian path to dinnertime dishes like quinoa and tuna salad, avocado dip with taro and sweet potato chips, and heartier mains like skirt steak saltado, skin-on pork shank, and lots of roast fish and chicken to share. A full bar is also available from beverage director Daniel Dooreck, with options like tonics, pisco sours, and local and Peruvian beers and wine.

An angled photo of a full table of food and drink at daytime inside a new restaurant.
Peruvian fare from Top Chef star Stephanie Izard at Cabra.
Stan Lee

Fanny’s, Mid-Wilshire

Though Fanny’s (named for Fanny Brice) technically opened last fall with daytime fare for folks visiting the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures in Mid-Wilshire, dinner service commenced just this month. Restaurateur Bill Chait, partner Carl Schuster, and chef Raphael Francois head up this 10,000 square foot, two-story space with a bend towards Hollywood’s Golden Age. Expect to find plenty of tableside flourishes, with suited captains rolling through for cheese service or to slice off a just-seared steak. All manner of preparations happen by cart, from freshly-prepared salads to saucy finishes; the prime rib cutting is a show unto itself. To drink are cocktails from Julian Cox.

A side angle of a thick cut pork chop in a black container on wooden board.
Pork porterhouse at Fanny’s in Hollywood.
Wonho Frank Lee

The Dutchess, Ojai

The Dutchess comes from Zoe Nathan and Josh Loeb of Santa Monica’s Rustic Canyon empire (Milo & Olive, Huckleberry, Tallula’s). The duo partnered with chef Saw Naing, pastry chef Kelsey Brito, and Kate Pepper of Kate’s Bread for the new eatery. Daytime offerings led by Brito and Pepper lean into breads, pastries, and breakfast fare, while Naing, who previously oversaw Tallula’s in Santa Monica, brings his Burmese-Indian background to dinner. The evening menu includes tea leaf salads, chicken tikka skewers, naan, paratha, aloo puri, and biriyani with yogurt-marinated lamb shoulder.

Cocktails, dishes, and desserts at the Dutchess.
Cocktails, dishes, and desserts at the Dutchess in Ojai.
Elise Freimuth
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