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Celebrated Chef Enrique Olvera Is Opening Another LA Restaurant in Venice

The Damian chef, known globally for restaurants like Pujol and Cosme, is opening an outpost of New York City’s Atla on Abbot Kinney this spring

A chef with a graying beard stands in a black shirt with arms crossed.
Chef Enrique Olvera.
Enrique Olvera

Chef Enrique Olvera is expanding further into Los Angeles soon, opening his third restaurant on Abbot Kinney in Venice later this year. Atla Venice should open sometime around spring as a West Coast outpost of the existing Atla in New York City, which acts as an upscale neighborhood Mexican restaurant for that city’s NoHo neighborhood.

Since opening on Lafayette Street in 2017, the NYC Atla has been a beloved neighborhood restaurant known for its classic fonda dishes like epazote-herbed quesadillas, a comforting Mexican-style chicken soup, and brunch items like huevos rancheros with hoja santa. Atla Venice will be a much larger space when it opens at 1025 Abbot Kinney Boulevard (in the former Adrift Burger Bar space) this year, totaling 7,200 square feet with 140 seats split between an indoor dining room and a verdant outdoor patio.

Diners will get the same seasonal menu under the direction of executive chef Marisol Corona as the New York City branch, which currently features chilaquiles, branzino a la talla (barbecued fish) dressed with fresh greens, and gringas (a large flour tortilla with al pastor and cheese). Expect many other antojitos, with a local touch that reflects California produce, tastes, and ingredients — think bright, tart ceviches and spicy aguachiles, for a start.

The incoming Atla is part of Olvera’s hospitality company Casamata, which currently operates 17 esteemed restaurants in Mexico City, Cabo, Oaxaca, Riviera Nayarit, New York City, and Los Angeles under group CEO Santiago Pérez. The restaurants include some of the most highly sought-after dining destinations in the world, including Pujol, Criollo, Manta, and LA’s Damian, as well as the upcoming projects Atla Venice and Tacos Atla in New York City.

Pérez, Olvera, and Damian’s chef de cuisine Chuy Cervantes first spotted the space when dining at chef Evan Funke’s Felix shortly after opening Damian in October of 2020. “I was having dinner with chef Enrique and [chef] Chuy and we realized the space next door was vacant,” says Pérez. “We loved the neighborhood and wanted to contribute something to the fabric of that community.”

Respectfully integrating themselves into the local culture has been a theme throughout Casamata’s expansion into Los Angeles. The group has actively sought to have a conversation with diners about Mexican cuisine. Olvera’s coming upscale fonda adds yet another layer, focusing on a style of Mexican cuisine that highlights LA’s own Mexican heritage. “Our intention is to adapt to the local context,” says Pérez.