The 6 Best Restaurants That Opened in LA This Fall
From secret sushi joints to field-side cocktails
To keep tabs on every Los Angeles restaurant and bar opening is folly. But to keep tabs on the most worthy? Yeoman’s work, and we’re proud to do it. Thus we present Table Stakes, a monthly rundown of the five (or so) must-know spots that have swung wide their doors in the past thirty (or so). Let’s eat.
If there were ever a season for eating out in Los Angeles, it’s the fall. Outdoor dining? Never better. Heading over to see a game at a brand new stadium? Not too tedious. Luxuriating in a Venice supper club concert venue? The perfect Thursday night activity.
Whether you’re heading to a newly opened pasta joint (from the youngest chef to ever earn two Michelin stars), a tiny traditional sushi bar tucked into an iconic Santa Monica hotel or the full-blown culinary experience that just opened field-side at Inglewood’s sparkling new SoFi Stadium, fall in LA is for exploring. And yes, that also includes treating yourself to a sumptuous steak-and-martini night out at the matryoshka-esque restaurant-within-a-restaurant at Fia Steak. Maybe right after the in-laws leave, post-Thanksgiving? Below, our best picks for autumn dining in the city below.
The premise: Tatel is the kind of restaurant opening that turns heads — not just because of the food, but also because of the clientele. Already a beloved destination in Madrid and Ibiza, the Spanish staple launched in Beverly Hills this September, beginning with dinner service. Backed by Spanish tennis pro Rafael Nadal, and frequented by patrons like Lakers legend Pau Gasol and soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo, Tatel serves up brilliant Spanish chaos in the midst of LA’s most chi-chi neighborhood. With live music every night, baroque decor, and an international reputation for decadence, Tatel is more of a dining experience than simply a place to eat. Since opening, they’ve also launched their back patio with lunch hours Tuesday through Saturday, and a boisterous Sunday brunch.
What you’re eating: We’re talking whole plates of artfully arranged Iberico ham, Spanish tortillas with truffles — oh yes, black truffles are generously distributed across a number of plates here — and plenty of free-flowing wine. Boozy cocktails are front and center on a menu designed for partying, along with caviar, ham croquettes, grilled octopus and risotto or raviolo for that carb fix. All of it is decidedly European — the kind savory, buttery food meant for sharing. For main dishes, the Dover sole is an outstanding fish option, but whole-roasted Cornish hens, aged Tomahawk steak and even paella (with a rare vegetarian option) are temptations on a packed menu.
The premise: Chef Danny Grant graciously gave us a glorious, easy-to-make pasta for a recent recipe column, but honestly? Most of his dishes at Etta are not replicable at home. As the youngest chef to ever earn two Michelin stars, Grant has created a mini restaurant empire to showcase his skills, and the first West Coast iteration of Etta is a revelation. The Culver City spot is oriented around a massive garden, all of which is situated below the new Shay Hotel, and offers an easy elegance for after-work dinners, special occasions, or just a night out with friends. Nothing is too formal here — the “Porrón & a Polaroid” group cocktail is an interactive drinking experience that involves pouring a cocktail directly into your mouth and preserving the moment on film.
What you’re eating: Basically, anything and everything. Toasty, fluffy focaccia with honey, “bubbling shrimp” served in a sizzling skillet with ginger and lime, fluffy ricotta “pillows” for a gnocchi-like take on stuffed bread, cooled with squash and mint. A kale salad with Asian flavors via cilantro, garlic, and chile was a surprising favorite, but the real stars here are the pasta and pizza, expertly prepared hearth-style and served in large, ready-to-share portions. Try the wild mushroom with goat cheese — or hell, even a bone-in pork chop to finish it all off. Every ingredient in every dish is expertly sourced from local farmers, and the quality shows from start to finish.
The premise: One of Brazil’s finest chefs, Rodrigo Oliveira, has partnered with restaurateur Bill Chait to bring a modern taste of his native country to Los Angeles. Oliveira and his long-time business partner, Victor Vasconcellos, have opened multiple award-winning restaurants in Brazil, but this Downtown LA outpost is their first offering in America. Transforming the old, stately Church & State building into a sleek spot full of murals, their traditional menu is a delicious crash course for those who haven’t been exposed to the eclectic power of Brazilian cuisine.
What you’re eating: The extremely Instagrammable Dadinho de Tapioca, aka cheesy tapioca fries, arrive in perfect squares designed to be dipped in sweet chili sauce. The ultimate snack, it was almost hard to go on after a few of these paired with some spicy Caipirinhas, a Brazilian catch-all cocktail made with cachaça, or fermented sugarcane juice. The Moqueca de Cajú is a hearty vegetable stew served over rice, similar to curry in texture and flavor due to the coconut broth. Brazil’s reputation for expertly grilled meats is also on full display with the pièce-de-résistance item, the Carne de Sol
The premise: Maybe you miss live music but still feel hesitant about diving back into the scene after a pandemic? Enter Winston House, a supper club and concert venue that originated as an actual house show, and has now morphed into a more confined yet spontaneous live music haven. First of all, to enter the space at all, guests must show proof of vaccination; secondly, the smaller size keeps things intimate, even though the place is usually packed. If you want even more separation, head upstairs to the balcony, or grab a table downstairs before the show begins. Because no matter how great the entertainment is, half the appeal of Winston is their impeccable, new American-styled menu.
What you’re eating: Chef Jared Dowling, formerly of The Fat Radish, brings his playful Southern twists front and center with chips and dip that can be upgraded via a $65 portion of caviar, cheese balls with a side of truffle aioli, or a setup of crudites and tahini that would get any vegan on board. A bevy of classic mains like fish and chips, a double stacked cheeseburger, or another vegan-friendly carrot, avocado and kale dish gives way to the enormous truffle steak frites. Seared to perfection and served alongside thin-cut salty fries and gravy, this plate claims it’s for two but could probably serve three people easily.
The premise: Lots of restaurants like to say they’re tucked away, but Soko literally is. Located in the expansive lobby of Santa Monica’s iconic Fairmont hotel, this eight-seater sushi bar comes courtesy of chef Masa Shimakawa, and works as either a quick stop before a lengthier dinner, or for taking in a full-blown nigri tasting menu complete with sake and multiple courses of fish. The name, Soko, translates to “storeroom,” and is a tribute to the origin of sushi, which was initially a way of storing fish without refrigeration. Using fermented rice and salt, Japanese fishermen kept their fish in dark storerooms to preserve it longer, and considering this pop-up sushi bar was built into one of the hotel’s converted storage spaces, the name fits perfectly.
What you’re eating: If you give Chef Shimakawa the reins, omakase-style, you just might be presented with a literal boat full of nigri that blows all other contenders out of the water. Yes, there’s a place for shrimp tempura, or the Americanized rolls that swaddle fresh fish in a generous dollop of cream cheese — but there will be none of that here. Tuna, yellowtail and toro rolls round out that section of the menu, with standouts like Ora King Salmon and Selva Shrimp on offer for nigri. An entire bluefin tuna platter is another guest favorite, as multiple patrons indulged in the decadent setup during my visit. Don’t forget spicy edamame and miso soup to round out your dinner. And if you’re in the mood for a more rambunctious nightcap, The Bungalow is right next door, serving up fresh drinks well past dinner time.
The premise: Santa Monica’s Fia has been a celebrity darling for a minute. The brainchild of chef Brendan Collins and restaurant guru Michael Greco, this hidden garden has attracted the likes of Ariana Grande, Halsey and Selena Gomez. Pop fans will be even more delighted, then, to learn that the Fia masterminds have debuted a restaurant-within-a-restaurant concept with Fia Steak. Tucked into a large back dining room behind the bar, the Old Hollywood feel is meticulously maintained with a massive stained glass window, framed photos of pop icons, exposed brick, and red velvet-framed booths. A service bar in the center of the main dining room allows Fia’s lauded standard of service to shine, with tableside tartare and salad presentations.
What you’re eating: Portions are a point of pride here, so be careful what you wish for: A gorgeous bread service precedes classic steakhouse appetizers like a grilled or traditional Caesar and bluefin tuna tartare. An otherworldly cavatelli with truffles proves Collins’ cooking chops extend far past the grill, and more truffle is always available as an addition to other dishes for those who crave the expensive stuff. Go with the 45-day aged New York Strip and a side of creamy Dauphinoise Potatoes for the platonic ideal of steak and potatoes — and order another round of impeccable martinis to wash it all down.
Bootsy Bellows @ SoFi Stadium
The premise: Bootsy Bellows has been a go-to name in West Hollywood for years as part of h.wood group’s buzzy nightlife collective that includes contenders like Delilah and Harriet’s. When it comes to clubs, exclusivity and access are everything – what could be more coveted than a field-side spot for wining and dining? Designed to stand apart from the tired, predictable cuisine usually found in stadium suites, Bootsy brings their lavish decor, bottle-service setups and a full-blown menu to Inglewood’s biggest, brightest attraction.
What you’re eating: Sure, they have the cheeseboard, charcuterie and veggie plate spread, because grazing is always an option, but the ability to order hot food throughout the game instead of eating from a stale buffet is clutch. The menu, of course, nods to stadium classics, with soft pretzel and melty cheese pairings, elevated chicken tenders accompanied by an array of dipping sauces, hot dogs topped with peppers and onions, brisket sandwiches and even root beer floats. But the full bar, along with wine and beer pairings, is the obvious star here, giving guests the chance to imbibe high-level cocktails while rooting for the home team.
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