Los Angeles is no stranger to the opening of lavish restaurants housed in iconic buildings and helmed by celebrity chefs. Consider this monthly list a guide to the latest and boldest debuts in the Southland. For more under-the-radar open restaurants, take a look this list of companions.
Bar Chelou, Pasadena
For Bar Chelou, chef Doug Rankin has partnered with Whole Cluster Hospitality to take over the former Saso space in Pasadena. Chelou translates to “strange” or “unexpected” in French. The chef draws from his love of Spanish, French and Asian flavors to create an eclectic menu of shared plates organized from lighter to heartier dishes. Smaller plates include marinated olives, sprouted cauliflower au poivre with Szechuan peppers and carrot rapet with coconut dressing, lime leaves and pommes allumettes. Heartier dishes include bone-in dry-aged fish eye and Iberico pork chop with cabbage, fennel dust and furikake.
Cafe Basque, Center
Celebrated chef Daniel Rose of New York’s Michelin-starred restaurant Le Coucou has quietly opened Café Basque in late 2022 at the Hoxton Downtown Hotel. The chef settled on French Basque cuisine for his West Coast debut because of the similarities between the food traditions, temperate climate and “fun, free-spirited” lifestyle of the two regions. The menu begins with a sampling of pintxos, including traditional Basque corn cakes (talo) and raw oysters with Espelette gelee. Larger entrees follow, such as braised chicken with peppers and tomatoes or grilled duck breast with cherry preserves. AIME Studios/Ennismore updated the interior to capture “an elegant yet relaxed feel,” says Rose. The Hoxton chef’s culinary footprint spans the entire ground floor and even extends outside to a terrace adorned with umbrellas and wall sconces.
The family behind the Peruvian Chinese restaurant Chifa in Eagle Rock is debuting a new concept in Arcadia called Monarch. While Chifa draws inspiration from the family’s first restaurant in Lima, Peru, Monarch takes its culinary cues from Hong Kong, but don’t expect to find standard Cantonese dishes and presentations here. Chef John Liu’s menu is designed to appeal to those familiar (or not) with the Cantonese canon. Liu’s Pork Cutlet Baked Rice features a seared pork cutlet served over fried rice with tomato sauce and topped with Gruyere cheese. His wok-tossed lobster tails get a cracked pepper usually reserved for steaks. The celestial dining room, bathed in pale blue and scalloped edges, was designed by Umberto León with architect Michael Loverich.
Corridor 109, Chinatown
Who doesn’t love a secret restaurant, especially one that serves unique seafood prepared to a high standard? The new Corridor 109 is just that—except it’s not exactly hiding anymore. Once a familiar dish created by longtime fine chef Brian Biak and served from his family restaurant Kobawoo in Koreatown, the latest iteration brings the upscale menu to Chinatown’s Far East Plaza. Here, Baik imposes heavily (but not exclusively) Korean and Japanese flavors, using his time in Michelin-starred New York restaurants to produce clean dishes with quality ingredients such as Hokkaido scallops, snail and black truffle. With only three services per week and eight nights per service, this is still a difficult booking to rate.
Casa Madera, West Hollywood
Casa Madera on the Sunset Strip is a cool rooftop destination where the party is as important as what’s on the plate. This latest project from the team behind Tocaya Organica and Toca Madera lands atop the Mondrian Hotel as a see-and-be-seen Hollywood Hills location. Expect lots of green gazebos, rattan touches and sweeping views of the Los Angeles Basin beyond, paired only with colorful cocktails, luscious steaks and contemporary takes on Mexican fare like duck carnitas and chicken al pastor tacos. For ultra-cool nights out among some of LA’s richest and most beautiful people, this is the place.