The transformation of the former Nomad Hotel into Hotel Per La is now complete with today’s debut of Per L’Ora restaurant and the adjacent Cafe Ora. While the restaurant serves an upscale dinner nightly, the more casual daytime cafe offers espresso drinks, bottled wine, canned booze, and house-made gelato.
Even with the new tenants removing the heavy, tapestry-like curtains from the building’s massive windows and bringing in a brighter color scheme, the restaurant and lobby still feel very much like an old-school hang, especially at the 30-seat bar. Hotel Per La originally opened on Olive Street near Seventh in early July, along with rooftop spot Bar Clara.
The Nomad Hotel barely got a chance to dig its heels into Los Angeles. The New York-based Sydell Group opened the property in early 2018 and closed it permanently in March 2021. HN Capital and Sage Hospitality Group took over the historic bank building and shifted the Nomad’s East Coast-centric sensibilities to one emphasizing West Coast themes and talent.
Third-generation Angeleno and chef Courtney Van Dyke — whose resume includes time at Montage Beverly Hills and Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire — developed the restaurant’s menu, along with Bar Clara’s. “This menu is very much inspired by LA,” says Van Dyke. “It’s not only the neighborhoods, but all the cultures around LA. I look at this menu and I see all of my friends, I see everyone I’ve grown up with, all the neighborhoods, and [things I’ve seen while] I’m running around LA.”
Starters include savories on toast, like Spanish mackerel with spicy tomato; chorizo and manchego; and avocado with chile oil and chapulines (the Mexican delicacy grasshopper). From there, Per L’Ora’s primo section continues with a tuna carpaccio, crab cakes, lobster tagliatelle, and bucatini with Spam, egg yolk, and nori. Generously-sized main courses include a spatchcocked chicken with aji verde and potatoes, and a bone-in veal milanese with fermented chile vinaigrette.
The desserts from pastry chef Sohrob Esmaili, formerly of Jean-Georges Restaurant in New York City, have a tropical bent. On the menu is a mango semifreddo, chamoy zabaglione, mango-lime granita, and a honey tart with black sesame caramel, brown nougat, and sesame chantilly.
As for Per L’Ora’s cocktails and wines, Redwood Bar and Spring Street Bar veteran Coleen Morton created an entirely different experience from the one served at Bar Clara. The menu is well-organized, with a section dedicated to twists on classics, another geared toward wine cocktails, and a list of experimental cocktails, like the Insta-famous, with mezcal verde, apertivo, Genepy liqueur, and lime.
Director of wine Rick Arline focuses on bottles that represent new wine making techniques and favors vineyards in Italy, France, Spain, Germany, and California (Santa Cruz, Lake County, and El Dorado County) that are off-the-radar and not the standard-bearers.
Cafe Ora is open from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m., while Per L’Ora operates from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m., with bar service from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m.