Each week we spotlight top Los Angeles restaurants, dining and drinking experiences you need to try.
Edited by Christina Xenos
Beauty & Essex
The hotly anticipated 10,000 square-foot TAO Group concept is now open in the Dream Hotel complex in Hollywood. The third outpost of the restaurant will be the second largest restaurant in Los Angeles (with soon-to-open Tao being the largest). Celebrity chef Chris Santos is behind the menu that features signature international dishes like grilled cheese and tomato soup dumplings, tuna poke wonton tacos, oven-braised chicken meatballs and tomato tartare. The venue offers outdoor seating for the first time in the concept’s history with a ground floor courtyard and second floor patio. Like the other concepts, you enter through a working pawn shop off the alley on Selma. 1615 Cahuenga Blvd., L.A., 323.676.8880. beautyandessexla.com
James Beard award nominee, Mirko Paderno arrives as the new chef de cuisine at Vinoteca, the stylish wine bar in the Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills. He shares his northern Italian cooking point of view with a spring menu of pizzette, pasta and gnocchi that is hand-rolled with specialty flour sourced from Molino Paolo Mariani in Barbara, Ancona. Stand-out signature dishes include Affumicata & Tartufo Pizzette deep-fried with parmesan, truffle honey, arugula and smoked mozzarella; Gnocchi Malfatti, chef’s braised sugo of the day with parmesan; and Prosciutto Panini with San Daniele prosciutto, tomatoes, buffalo mozzarella and salsa rosa. 300 S. Doheny Dr., L.A., 310.273.2222. culinarestaurant.com/vinoteca
Opens April 1. Despite what its name suggests and its opening date, downtown’s newest cocktail bar is for real. Stop by for crafted tacos and burgers from executive chef Ricardo Sanchez paired with beverage whisperer Dave Whitton’s cannabis terpene cocktails, wine and beer. Prank is the first LA bar to offer the cocktails, which contain no THC or CBD and are thought to have health benefits—including curing hangovers. The striking Ricki Kline-designed bi-level space seamlessly blends the indoors with sidewalk and sky. 1100 S Hope St., downtown, 213.493.4786. prankbar.com
The Strand House Culinary Masters Series
April 3. The Manhattan Beach dining destination brings back one of its own for the first dinner in the Culinary Master Series this year. Opening consulting chef Neal Fraser (Redbird) mans the stoves along with the Strand House’s recently appointed executive chef Austin Cobb and chef/partner Greg Hozinsky. Dine on a six-course dinner that includes dishes like sautéed Monterey Bay abalone; duck breast with black rice; and grilled lamb belly. The courses are accompanied by wine pairings from Challen Winery in Santa Barbara County; proprietor and actress Challen Cates will introduce each pairing throughout the evening. $150/pp. 6:30 p.m. cocktail reception, 7 p.m. dinner. 117 Manhattan Beach Blvd., Manhattan Beach, 310.545.7470. thestrandhousemb.com
Barbara Jean Boozy Brunch with Guest Chef Mark Peel
April 2. The chef behind storied Los Angeles restaurant Campanile who currently operates Bombo in Grand Central Market, takes on brunch at Barbara Jean with chef Jason Fullilove. The four-course menu includes dishes like chicken liver butter sourdough toast; sour cream waffle; Mark’s wheat berry risotto; and corn sorbet. Noon-3 p.m. $45/pp. Barbara Jean, 7274 Melrose Ave., L.A., 310.876.1194. Tickets.
Chef Claudio Marchesan has hit his stride on Montana Avenue with his rustic Italian restaurant. The cozy spot features comforting housemade pastas, creamy risottos and salads. Signatures include Risotto Al Frutti Di Mare with creamy italian rice, assorted shellfish, light tomato sauce; and creamy soft burrata with pesto, blister grape tomatoes, garlic crostini and prosciutto. 714 Montana Ave, Santa Monica, 310.395.6619. bigoliosteria.com
Lunetta All Day
The modern neighborhood diner in Santa Monica offers all-day breakfast, lunch and dinner from chef/partner Raphael Lunetta (JiRaffe). Dine on signatures like like breakfast sandwich are perfected with fried egg, bacon, aged white cheddar, cultured butter and housemade jam; sandwiches and robust salads for lunch; and hearty dinner diehse like pasilla negro-rubbed grilled carnitas. 2424 Pico Blvd., Santa Monica, 310.581.4201. lunettasm.com