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Fried fish sandwich with beer-battered Pacific striped bass, American cheese, Kewpie mayo, dill pickles, and potato bun at Little Fish.
Fried fish sandwich with beer-battered Pacific striped bass, American cheese, Kewpie mayo, dill pickles, and potato bun.

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Get Hooked on LA’s Fanciest Filet-O-Fish Sandwich at Echo Park’s New Daytime Spot

Cult-favorite seafood pop-up Little Fish is opening its first restaurant on Sunset Boulevard

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Cathy Chaplin is a senior editor at Eater LA, a James Beard Award–nominated journalist, and the author of Food Lovers’ Guide to Los Angeles.

Cult-favorite seafood pop-up Little Fish is opening its first brick-and-mortar location today, December 13, at 1608 Sunset Boulevard in Echo Park. While the menu will focus mostly on seafood dishes, the owners want to provide enough choices at the new location to appeal to a wide audience. “We’ve had such a good response to the seafood aspect of our business but that’s still not for everybody,” says co-owner Anna Sonenshein. “We’re trying to make a menu that feels like anybody could stop in for breakfast or lunch regardless of if seafood’s your thing.”

Expect to find smoked whitefish and cured trout tartines, fish and mushroom porridges, and cottage cheese pancakes on the morning menu, while lunch brings tri-tip steak sandwiches, broccoli rabe melts, and a few salads including a classic wedge and a chicory Caesar with celery, Parmesan, and breadcrumbs. Little Fish’s signature fried fish sandwiches — crispy white fish filets served on plush potato rolls with Kewpie mayonnaise, dill pickles, and American cheese — will be available after 11 a.m. Breakfast is served Wednesday through Sunday from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. and lunch from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Cured trout tartine at Little Fish.
Cured trout tartine.
Mushroom congee at Little Fish.
Mushroom congee.
Wedge salad at Little Fish.
Wedge salad.

Sonenshein and co-owner Niki Vahle take a seasonable and sustainable approach to sourcing ingredients. “Our food is only good because of the ingredients,” says Sonenshein, who will be cooking alongside Vahle in the new location. “Niki is a meticulous researcher: everything we use, how it’s prepared, and making sure that everything is treated in the [best] way.” Little Fish also plans to reduce waste in its kitchen by using “every part of the fish,” including crisping up fish skins as a garnish for the wedge salad and simmering fish bones to make porridge stock.

Sonenshein and Vahle launched Little Fish from their Echo Park home in September 2020 after facing pandemic-related layoffs at chefs Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo’s seafood restaurant Son of a Gun. “The pandemic really lowered the barrier to entry in a huge way for people to make food,” Sonenshein says. “All of a sudden, you didn’t have the overhead.” As Little Fish caught on to a larger audience, Sonenshein and Vahle expanded their reach with stints at Smorgasburg and periodic pop-ups around town at places like Wine + Eggs in Atwater Village, Checker Hall in Highland Park, and McCall’s Meat & Fish Co. in Los Feliz. “It’s just been growing exponentially,” Sonenshein says.

Exterior at Little Fish in Echo Park.
Exterior.
Outdoor seating at Little Fish Echo Park.
Outdoor seating.

When the owner of the former Dinette space on Sunset Boulevard approached Sonenshein and Vahle to run the takeout window and 40-seat patio last year, the two jumped at the opportunity to establish more permanent roots. “We’re essentially dropping our food into an existing space,” says Sonenshein, who likens the setup to “a long-term residency,” as she and Vahle are not leasing the space. “We’re essentially renting for six-month increments with the plan to stay there longer. We’re calling it indefinite,” she says.

While Little Fish will be serving breakfast and lunch, a different vendor will furnish beverages, including coffee and wine, and a rotating roster of local bakeries will be filling the massive pastry case. All three businesses will operate under the Dada umbrella, named after the building they share. “It’s a really new way I think this space can operate,” Sonenshein says. “Everybody can really focus on the thing that they do best and then just like all work towards this system together.”

Looking ahead, Sonenshein and Vahle have signed a lease to open a bigger, full-service Little Fish next summer in Melrose Hill on the same block as Kuya Lord and Ggiata. For now, though, the two are focused on getting Little Fish in Echo Park off the ground. “There’s just so much about it that just feels like a huge breath out [for] us, just having a place where people know that they can try our food,” says Sonenshein. “I’m so grateful that people go through so many extra steps to try to find it, but it’s great that they won’t have to.”

Little Fish is located at 1608 Sunset Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA, 90026, and is open Wednesday through Sunday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Little Fish in Echo Park.
Little Fish in Echo Park.

Little Fish

1608 1/2 Sunset Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90026 Visit Website
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