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Inside Lavo, LA’s Open-Air Italian Showstopper on the Sunset Strip

Upscale touches, ample greenery, and a retractable roof make this a big new player on the LA scene

A dim dinner destination with plants shown from a corner.
Open air and lots of green at the new Lavo Ristorante.
Wonho Frank Lee
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.

The Sunset Strip’s next great see-and-be-seen dinner destination is here. Lavo Ristorante from the nightlife-famous Tao Group Hospitality promises all the usual details — lush plants everywhere to lots of stone and wood — but in a package that feels a little more restaurant, and a lot less club.

The new Lavo takes over at the former Roku space along the Sunset Strip, across from Soho House and within reach of the money and customers that come with Beverly Hills, West Hollywood, and the Hollywood Hills. Spread across multiple dining and drinking areas and some 250 seats, the jewel-toned Italianate destination is draped in the kind of luxury that has made hits out of spots like Olivetta nearby. Think extra-tall dining space, glittering chandeliers, and a horseshoe bar wrapped in copper and gold. The masterpiece for the property, though, is the retractable roof over the primary dining area, which opens year-round to the sky and is ideal for the ongoing COVID moment. Venice locals Studio Collective even added accordion-style windows that breeze right out onto Sunset for near-wraparound airflow and views.

Two hands grate cheese over a ravioli plate.
A sprinkle of cheese.

Not to be confused with Lavo, the nightlife destination in Las Vegas, Lavo Ristorante is intent on turning down the sparkler energy and amping up the cool kid dinner vibes. “It’s definitely not the party atmosphere the other Lavos have,” Tao’s chief culinary officer Ralph Scamardella recently told the Robb Report, citing the lack of a “dreaded DJ booth” and a focus on the kitchen.

From the pass, Scamardella and his day-to-day LA team will oversee a menu that does include some Lavo Italian-American staples like the signature one-pound wagyu meatball, while also offering a variety of pastas, crudos, and LA musts like roasted vegetables, salads, and cocktails. Expect tableside preparations and chocolate layer cake for dessert, while beverage director Craig Schoettler (Alinea, MGM) oversees spirits and wine.

The artsy, Italian Lavo Ristorante opens on Tuesday, March 15 at 9201 Sunset Boulevard, keeping evening only hours to start — 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. during the week, including Sunday, with an extension to midnight on Friday and Saturday night (closed Monday). Reservations can be made on OpenTable. Expect brunch down the line as the seats fill up for one of the bigger, more glamorous recent openings so far in greater Los Angeles.

A pink and wood dining room with marble checkered flooring.
A glamorous entrance.
Red seats and low ceiling at a bar inside a restaurant.
The horseshoe-shaped bar.
Art on the walls and a wide run of booths in tan color.
Pendant lighting illuminates the top of a table inside a dining room.
A long look at a dining room with art and glass chandeliers.
A bar top with greens and dim lights at daytime.
A textured wooden ceiling and lamps with red seats in a new restaurant.
A run of marble cafe tables with red seats at night.
A wide look at a dining room with plants and retractable roof.
The full view of greenery and open sky.
Round tables and black chairs at a tall open dining room at night.
Triple-height ceilings — or beams at least.
A dark dining room looks out onto a busy street.
Windows out to the street.
Tilted look at a long brown banquette inside of a restaurant at evening.
Windows into different rooms.
Round tables in a cavernous brick room.
The barrel-shaped brick private dining room.
A cocktail at the ready with pomegranate, on a marble table.
A clear liquid poured over pomegranate in a glass cocktail piece.
A light pink cocktail with a lime garnish.
An espresso martini in a flute on a marble table.
A light yellow salmon citrus raw fish dish.
A citrus-y crudo.
A tall salad with chopped vegetables.
Always have a salad.
A wide cast iron dish with a sauced meatball and ricotta.
The famed one-pound wagyu meatball.
An overhead shot of a ricotta ravioli with sage.
Pasta for all.
A left side view of pizza with lemon.
A right side view of a burnished pizza with basil.
A full overhead shot of pasta and pizza and Italian food dishes.
A tall tiered cake with frosting and a sign reading Lavo.
A long lens look at a table with wine glasses.
An evening look into Lavo, a dinnertime restaurant.

Lavo Los Angeles

9201 Sunset Boulevard., West Hollywood, CA 90069
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