clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

One of LA’s Most Cherished Spanish Restaurants Is Reborn at Bar Moruno

Five years after letting go of their dream, two LA hospitality veterans find a way to reopen in Silver Lake

An overhead shot of boiling oil in a cast iron pan with squares of blistered cheese.
Marinated feta baked in a wood-fired oven from Bar Moruno.
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.

If there’s a slight rolling, slicing, crinkling sound coming from the Sunset stretch of Silver Lake soon, do not be alarmed: It’s just stacks of tinned fish being opened simultaneously inside new Spanish restaurant and drink spot Bar Moruno, which debuts this weekend. The metallic symphony is cause for celebration because it means that one of Los Angeles’s more beloved bygone restaurants has returned after five years of slumber. This is the new Bar Moruno, all class, color, and wood-fired meats. It’s a summer abroad on the Iberian Peninsula, just steps from the Sunset sidewalk.

Calling Spanish food and fine vermouths a passion project of owners David Rosoff and Chris Feldmeier would be a disservice to the two longtime friends and collaborators. This new Moruno feels like an imperative first fused during their time at LA’s vaunted Campanile and later at Osteria Mozza. Together, they have plotted and planned for the kind of everyday Spanish restaurant they longed to have in their own backyard, while simultaneously cementing their solo LA legacies — Feldmeier as a foremost manifester of fire, Rosoff as a grinning, thoughtful wine savant. For years the pair have remained close, pushing through the too-quick closure of their first Moruno iteration to land eventually in Silver Lake, in this energetic restaurant reopening moment of 2022.

Bar Moruno, once again, is here.

A stand with the name Bar Moruno inside a new restaurant at evening.

As with the former Kettle Black that previously inhabited this tall, tiled space, all eyes at dinnertime will focus on the wood-fired oven in the back right corner. There Feldmeier and his team, including sous chefs Leigha Olson and Kelly Bangco, plan to bring heat and smoke to roasted salt spring mussels with butter beans and chorizo cantimpalo, or crispy hen of the woods mushrooms with fried egg and loads of garlic. Moruno’s popular butternut squash, crispy at the skin and soft inside with a wash of cashews, sesame seeds, and sumac, has returned. And it comes alongside rich, meaty mains and simple Spanish tortillas finished among the coals.

The best seats to catch the sizzle and pop of wood is right up close at the cement bar that looks into the smaller back kitchen. For everyone else, there’s the long, colorful Studio UNLTD-designed dining room draped in deep greens and pale yellows. Banquette seating runs the length of the room’s eastern edge, glowing beneath vintage art and design work, plus a few funky mirrors that give the room more depth. Two-tops hug the low wall that separates the dining room from the soaring bar, where emerald velvet stools soften all the dark wood and shining brass. For conservas and sherry — and lots of chatter — it’s best to find a seat at the bar, with Dave Kupchinsky (Eveleigh, Petit Ermitage) making martinis, gin and tonics, and old fashioneds made with iberico ham-washed bourbon.

A long lens view of a wood oven fired and ready for service.
The wood-fired oven remains.
Vegetables and cheese boiling in oil alongside a fiery piece of wood.

Working the room are general manager Jenny Jordan and Rosoff himself, who will spend time pouring splashes of Vermina (a vermouth he made alongside Central Coast winemaker Steve Clifton) and pointing out the latest crisp European whites or deeper reds to pair with Feldmeier’s food. Upstairs is the private dining table for wine dinners and special occasions, but the action for Rosoff and Feldmeier and the team is really down at the floor level, touching tables and talking trade. It’s an elegant vision of spinning plates and happy laughter that has led the two from Mozza to the Mediterranean, to this Spanish restaurant on this corner of Sunset Boulevard in this city.

Their dream, in that way, is the city’s dream: to be lucky enough to get to be passionate in one’s personal pursuits. To love what you do, and to have others love you for it. They get to serve great food in a town that knows how to eat and to follow that passion to the finish line and, now, beyond. LA is filled with people like Rosoff and Feldmeier who care deeply about feeding and serving. Los Angeles, in turn, is ready.

The new Bar Moruno opens today, Wednesday, March 23 at 3705 Sunset Boulevard in Silver Lake, with service from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday and Tuesday through Thursday, and an extension to 11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday nights (closed Mondays).

A long yellow and green bench inside of a new restaurant at evening, with art on the walls.
Bright colors, long lines, and lots of height.
A tall ceilinged restaurant with a wide bar and green stools, plus yellow seats.
A low wall breaks up the dining room and bar.
A cement bar set for dinner service looks into a wood-fired oven and kitchen.
Views into the kitchen.
Retro art on yellow and green walls inside of a new restaurant in the afternoon.
Green velvet stools and dark wood at a long bar in the afternoon.
A light green and tall ceilinged bar inside of a new restaurant at evening.
A wide bar, perfect for snacks.
A corner brick restaurant with lots of colored tile at evening.
The retro brick exterior along Sunset.
An open can of sardines with butter and bread.
Skinless sardines in spicy tomato sauce.
Chorizo scotch egg at Bar Moruno in Silver Lake.
Chorizo scotch egg.
A split butternut squash with roasted seeds and cashews.
Moruno’s famed oven-roasted squash with dukkah.
A cast iron pan of fried mushrooms with a coddled egg on a wooden table.
Crispy mushrooms and egg.
Crispy potatoes with raw onions shaved on top.
Fingerling potato salad.
A tall clear cocktail glass with a slice of grapefruit and garnish.
Hot grapefruit gin and tonic.
A tall Collins glass and aluminum can of cocktail on a marble corner.
Rapido’s canned cocktail from next door.
A light orange cocktail in a tall clear glass with wedge of orange.
Bràulio and tonic.
A coupe glass with a semi-clear drink inside and a large fig.
A cloudy salmon martini.
Four bottles of wine and vermouth inside a new restaurant in evening, laid out on the same table side by side.
The drinks are as important as the food at Bar Moruno.
Tinned fish, eggs, potatoes, and more shown from overhead on a wooden table.
An evening of snacking in Silver Lake.
A trio of smiling faces stand arm over arm at the front of a new restaurant.
Sous chef Leigha Olson, chef/partner Chris Feldmeier, and sous chef Kelly Bangco.
Two people, a man in chambray and a woman in leopard, stand side by side inside a new restaurant.
Managing partner David Rosoff, manager Jenny Jordan.

Bar Moruno

3705 Sunset Boulevard, , CA 90026 (323) 546-0505 Visit Website
LA Coffee

Go Get Em Tiger Employees Form the Largest Coffee Workers Union in LA

LA Restaurant Openings

Everything to Know About Donald Glover’s Silver Lake Boba Shop Jellyman

Eater Inside

Two Native Angelenos Just Opened LA’s Moodiest New Italian Restaurant