L.A. Table Talk: Leviathan, Mora Rooftop and More

Spot prawn with tomato, quail egg and bottarga at Leviathan

New restaurants offer seafood in a courtyard, Italian on a rooftop and Cal-Ital near the boardwalk.

Owner-chef Phillip Frankland Lee and chef de cuisine Dylan Stage launch Leviathan in Encino, a 16-seat outdoor seafood restaurant in a courtyard below several other Lee concepts. Leviathan presents wood-fired small plates with unexpected riffs: striped jack with cucumber, melon and shiso; king crab with watermelon, goat cheese and basil; and pastry chef/co-owner Margarita Kallas-Lee’s sourdough panna cotta. Seating is at a chef’s counter with plexiglass barriers between parties or at one of four tables. Lee boasts the most consecutive wins on Food Network shows such as “Chopped” and “Cutthroat Kitchen.” Stage’s resume includes Michelin-starred venues in Spain. 16101 Ventura Blvd., L.A., 818.876.0818, scratchrestaurants.com

Funghi pizza at Mora Rooftop on 3rd Street

New Mora Rooftop at Comoncy is the second location of Encino’s Mora Italiano. The outdoor-only spot in the Beverly Grove shopping-dining district offers lush greenery, candlelit tables and views of the Hollywood Hills. Executive chef Mindy Oh helms the kitchen at both locations, offering a fresh approach to Italian classics using produce and ingredients from local purveyors and farmers. Menu standouts at the spot include squash toast with butternut squash “jam,” Calabrian chili salsa and arugula on sourdough; a charcuterie pizza; bottarga linguine; porchetta with fennel pollen and pistachio salsa; and olive oil cake. 8201 W. 3rd St., L.A., moraitaliano.com

Lobster fett’unta at Ospi in Venice

Cal-Ital? Or SoCal and so Ital? Jackson Kalb and Melissa Saka of South Bay’s Jame Enoteca open Ospi near the Venice boardwalk in the former Canal Club space, now made bright and airy. Fett’unta—olive oil-glossed country toast with toppings from simple garlic to chilled lobster with stracciatella, chili, lemon zest and radish—is a specialty. Rome-style pizzas with cracker-thin tonda-style crusts include one with minced pepperoni, slow-roasted pineapple and raw and pickled jalapeños. Among pastas is a cannelloni with lamb neck and pine nut alla sorrentina. The chef’s negroni toasts New World and Old with mezcal and gentian amaro. Ospitante is Italian for “host.” 2025 Pacific Ave, Venice, 424.443.5007, ospivenice.com

Photos from top: Alex Aristei, courtesy Mora Rooftop, Wonho Frank Lee.


Sign up for FREE to receive our exclusive Weekend Roundup!

Get the best things to do in our favorite SoCal spots delivered to your inbox every week

Los Angeles

Orange County

San Diego