Cultural Feasts: Los Angeles Museum and Restaurant Pairings

Opt for Mediterranean cuisine at Cleo before taking in the new King Tut exhibit at the California Science Center.

Discover Los Angeles museum and restaurant pairings to satiate the hungriest art lovers.

By Marina Kay, adapted from WHERE Los Angeles magazine

California Science Center <>  Cleo

Marking 100 years since the discovery of Tutankhamun’s tomb, Los Angeles welcomes the largest King Tut exhibition outside Egypt. King Tut: Treasures of the Golden Pharaoh, a special ticketed exhibition at the California Science Center through next year, showcases a bounty of artifacts: Guests can follow the pharaoh’s life-after-death journey by learning how each burial object assisted in his reaching the afterlife. There’s a wooden guardian statue of the king that marked his way from the underworld to his rebirth at dawn, and a gilded wooden shrine depicting scenes of the pharaoh and his wife, Ankhesenamun. The exhibition encompasses nine distinct experiential galleries, 3-D visuals, multimedia displays, custom soundscapes and an audio-guided tour. See website for entry times. $19-$30. California Science Center, 700 Exposition Park Dr., L.A., 323.724.3623.

Cleo » Chef Danny Elmaleh’s Mediterranean restaurants are named after Cleopatra, who, like Tut, is famously associated with Egypt. The location closest to the Science Center is at L.A. Live; the newest is within the Orlando Hotel on West 3rd Street. Try 
a cornucopia of Mediterranean dishes, including crowd favorites such as babaganoush and lamb shawarmas. There’s a social hour, too, for sipping margaritas while noshing on mushroom flatbread. See website for hours. Cleo, 800 W. Olympic Blvd., downtown.



For scrumptious Israeli cuisine, stop by the newly opened Jaffa on 3rd Street.

The Skirball <> Jaffa

Delve into the creative spirit and legacy of Leonard Bernstein 
at the Skirball Cultural Center’s Leonard Bernstein at 100. Presented in partnership with the Grammy Museum, the centennial celebration, which opens April 26, displays the composer’s personal effects, including his first childhood piano, handwritten West Side Story score sheets and a Harvard study notebook from 1939. 
This is the most comprehensive retrospective of Bernstein’s life and career to be staged in a museum. Aspiring singers, take note: A vocal booth allows you to sing the lead in West Side Story. Tu-F noon-5 p.m., Sa-Su 10 a.m.-5 p.m. See website for museum admission. 2701 N. Sepulveda Blvd., L.A., 310.440.4500.

Jaffa » On June 7, the Skirball will host a Taste of Israel food fest. In the meantime, try Jaffa, where chef Anne Conness serves modern Israeli cuisine made using local seasonal ingredients, well-raised meat and sustainable seafood. Start and end your meal with shots of arak, a traditional anise-flavored liquor, and order the hummus, lamb couscous, and chicken and matzo-ball soup. See website for hours. 8048 W. 3rd St., L.A., 323.433.4978.



Inko Nito photo by Ed Rudolph
Located a 10-minute walk from the JANM, try one of Inko Nito’s refreshing cocktails.

Japanese American National Museum <> Inko Nito

In Hawaiian, hapa means “half” and is often short for hapa haole, or “half white”—a phrase used to describe Asian/Pacific Islander Americans of mixed descent. To promote awareness and give voice to multiracial people, artist Kip Fulbeck traveled across the United States to photograph more than 1,200 volunteers who identified as hapa, in turn creating The Hapa Project (2001). As the follow-up to a book by Fulbeck and kip fulbeck: part asian, 100% hapa (2006), the first museum exhibition that explored hapa identity, the Japanese American National Museum presents—15 years of the hapa project, opening April 7. Here, original photographs and statements from the former exhibition are hung alongside contemporary portraits of the same individuals with newly written statements to show their changed appearances and points of view. Visitors can also visit 
an interactive section to have their portraits taken and write their own statements. Tu-W 11 a.m.-5 p.m.; Th noon-8 p.m.; F-Su 11 a.m.-5 p.m. See website for museum admission.  100 N. Central Ave., downtown, 213.625.0414.

Inko Nito » Zuma restaurants founder Rainer Becker conceived casual Japanese restaurant 
Inko Nito and planted it in 
downtown’s Arts District, a 
10-minute walk from the JANM. From the robatayaki section, try the bone marrow with garlic toast and lamb-shoulder chop with wasabi-shiso marinade. Consider the Plum Highball made with Suntory Toki from the menu’s “Drinks Pod.” See website for hours. 225-227 S. Garey St., downtown, 310.999.0476.



Viale dei Romani
Tucked inside La Peer Hotel, Viale dei Romani dishes up Italian cuisine with influences from France & North Africa.

Getty Villa <> Viale dei Romani

On April 18, the Getty Villa will debut newly reinstalled galleries for its antiquities collection that offer a more historically accurate representation of ancient classical art. The new display traces the chronology of how art developed in the Etruscan, Greek and Roman cultures from the Neolithic period through the late Roman Empire (circa 6000 B.C.–A.D. 600). Also debuting is a new exhibition, Plato in L.A.: Contemporary Artists’ Visions, featuring works by celebrated artists such as Mike Kelley 
and Raymond Pettibon. See website for hours. Free, parking $15. 1200 Getty Center Dr., L.A.

Viale dei Romani » Chef Casey Lane’s Viale dei Romani, in West Hollywood’s new La Peer Hotel, is a trek from the Getty Villa, but it’s worth braving the traffic. Situated off the lobby, the modern trattoria and its courtyard bar serve seafood-driven Italian cuisine that incorporates California ingredients and influences from Southern France and North Africa. Standout dishes include a traditional chickpea crêpe Cecina served with falafel, crudo and marinated local vegetables. See website for hours. 627 N. La Peer Drive, West Hollywood, 213.296.3038.

Tintorera photo courtesy of White Oak Communications. Inko Nito photo by Ed Rudolph.

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