fig santa monica
Bread balloon from Chef Yousef Ghalaini at FIG Santa Monica.

Each week we spotlight top Los Angeles restaurants, dining and drinking experiences you need to try.

Edited by Christina Xenos

Los Angeles Restaurants

The new restaurant at the InterContinental Los Angeles Century City at Beverly Hills marks the end of the hotel’s multi-million-dollar renovation, and they definitely saved the best for last. Executive Chef Jonathan Wood and his culinary team draw on global flavors and local produce to weave into dishes—both delicate and robust—like beef cheek with aji panca, burnt carrots and potato puree; Hokkaido scallops with carrot-lime puree, pickled cauliflower, peas and cilantro oil; and a formidable Dream Burger with grilled onions, bacon, 100 island dressing, lettuce, tomato and fries. The restaurant rests alongside the hotel’s Copper Lounge, which celebrates fine whiskeys and offers more casual fare (think chicken gyoza, lamp kofta and rock shrimp tempura) and a curated cigar menu. Mari is open daily for breakfast, lunch (6:30 a.m.-2 p.m.) and dinner (5:30-10 p.m.); Copper Lounge offers coffee and quick breakfast from 5 a.m. and seats guests from 11 a.m.-1:30 a.m., offering happy hour from 3-7 p.m. 2151 Avenue of the Stars, Century City, 310.284.6536.

FIG Restaurant
Chef Yousef Ghalaini is no stranger to Mediterranean cuisine; he grew up watching his father work in their family bakery in Lebanon. Now, he works the wood-fire oven at FIG in Santa Monica to turn out an exciting menu of delicacies paying homage to the flavors of his early life like wood-roasted beets with mint yogurt and zaatar, whole grilled salmon with artichoke panzanella and horseradish yogurt; and grass-fed lamb shank with heirloom carrots, pomegranate molasses, almond and pickled onions. Ghalaini’s “bread balloon” is a staple of the menu—somewhere between a flat bread and a pizza—it expands in the oven and is served with accompaniments like eggplant salad, marinated lentils and hummus. The FIG experience also includes a highly curated selection of cheeses from the restaurant’s fromager Eric Brazel. He’s happy to create a plate of his favorites from around the globe for you, or you can choose your own adventure. 101 Wilshire Blvd., Santa Monica, 310.319.3111.

For Blackhouse Hospitality’s newest restaurant, owner/founder Jed Sanford and Chef/Partner Tin Vuong channel inspiration from the freshly manicured lawns and meandering streets of an idyllic neighborhood for an all-day American eatery. The menu draws inspiration from Middle East, Vietnam and beyond through dishes like Hawaiian classic “Loco Moco” with steamd rice, grilled hamburger, brown onion gravy and a fried egg; Sichuan spicy beef tendon with mushroom XO sauce, cilantro, scallions, supreme soy and peanut; and Abura Style Ramen a “soupless” bowl with shitake, edamame, corn, chili oil, shoyu, salted pork and miso flavor. Also find a playful cocktail menu with drinks like The Notebook (ryan + gosling) with black tea infused vodka, peach, lemon, and mint, each accompanied by a personalized Ryan Gosling love note. 247 Avenida del Norte, Redondo Beach, 424.398.0237.

Los Angeles Food + Drink Events this Week

Sotto + Attilio Bachetti
Aug. 21. After his stint at DeSano Pizza Bakery last weekend, third generation master pizzaiulo Attilio Bachetti (from Pizzeria Trattoria da Atillio in Naples) pops up at Sotto. In addition to Sotto’s regular menu you can sink your teeth into Attilio’s special pies—each pizza comes with a glass of Peroni Nastro Azuro as well. Dine on specialities like Montanara, a fried pizza with tomato sauce, cow’s milk mozzarella and basil; Carnevale, an eight-point star-shaped pie filled with hand dipped ricotta, center of the star with blended San Marzano tomatoes, cow’s milk mozzarella and sausage; Pizza Spicchi di Limone with buffalo milk mozzarella, lemon slices, avocado and shrimp; among others. $22-$28/per pizza. 5:30-9:30 p.m. 9575 W. Pico Blvd., 310.277.0210.

All-American Rib Fest
Aug. 21. Suzanne Goin and Caroline Styne present their annual feast of slow-cooked ribs, hot wings, and sides that has become a Lucques tradition since 2000. A week of preparation goes into the smoking of pork, beef and lamb ribs to turn them into dishes like St. Louis-style pork ribs, braised beef back ribs and spiced lamb spare ribs. Also find sides like cole slaw, baked beans and buttered corn on the cob. Warm peach cobbler with strawberries and buttermilk ice cream completes the menu. Cowboy hats welcome. Noon-9 p.m. $55/pp. 8474 Melrose Ave., L.A., 323.655.6277.

BBQ Blowout
Aug. 20. Chef Kris Morningstar of Terrine will bring his California-brasserie cuisine to the grills at Tenants of the Trees in Silver Lake. Feast on Texas beef brisket with chimichurri, smoky marinated mushrooms with pickled shallots and charred corn and summer squash salad. Also find DJ sets from Them Jeans and Hit City U.S.A., photo booth by The Tommy B. Admission is free, food is $10 per plate in advance and $15 per plate at the door. 2808 Hyperion Ave., L.A.

Tiki Bash at Descanso Gardens
Aug. 21. Get your hula on at Descanso Gardens. The event offers a Hawaiian dance performance, Tiki cocktails and hula buffet dinner. Highlights include Hawaiian-style kalua pork, teriyaki-glazed chicken, banana and macadamia nut crusted white fish and more. $75/pp. 1418 Descanso Dr., La Canada Flintridge, 213.864.2241.

Long Beach BBQ Festival
Aug. 19-21. Feast on endless barbecue fare like ribs, pulled pork, tri-tip, sausages, chicken and more from top American pit masters. For those who want to taste them all, make your way to the VIP Rib Village for a special AYCE options. Also expect non-stop live music and children’s activities. Rainbow Lagoon, 400-403 Shoreline Village Drive, Long Beach.

Taste of Brews
Aug. 20. The craft-beer festival features local, regional and national craft breweries. Noon-5 pm (alcohol service ends at 4 pm). Advance purchase $30–$40. Shoreline Aquatic Park, 200 Aquarium Way, Long Beach, 714.375.1132.

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