From delectable sips to mouthwatering bites, L.A.’s hottest new restaurants have it all.
Chef Walter Manzke PHOTO: BY ANNE FISHBEIN
The Concept From the minds behind Republique comes Bicyclette, a Parisian-inspired, convivial neighborhood spot filled with elevated French bistro cuisine, a killer cocktail list and more. “Simply put, Paris is my and my wife’s favorite city in the world, so everything about Bicyclette is inspired by our many trips there,” says chef and owner Walter Manzke. “My hope is that Bicyclette transports our diners to Paris in an authentic way, inspires them and gives them the joy that Margarita and I experience when we’re in Paris.”
The Highlights Start with a cocktail from the extensive list, including two of Manzke’s favorites: Le Maris, a variation of the Mauresque, a classic pastis cocktail found in the south of France; or Pica Fresca, an homage to Manzke’s restaurant Petty Cash. Notable dishes include soft egg in the shell, topped with Kaluga caviar, espelette pepper and chives; and the caramelized onion tart tartine, a breathtakingly beautiful—and delicious—dish inspired by an apple dessert.
Designer Sean Leffers’ sunshinesoaked interiors at Soulmate. PHOTO: BY KATRINA FREDRICK
The Concept “When you walk into Soulmate, you feel like you’ve stepped out of L.A. and into an open-air garden,” says general manager Nick Schulz. “We wanted to create an environment that made people feel relaxed and at ease—an oasis from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.”
The Highlights Chef Rudy Lopez’s local, seasonal Spanish Mediterranean-meets-California menu is made up of bold, shareable dishes. “Our chicken croquettes are a great way to start with a traditional Spanish tapas dish,” says Schulz. “We lean a little more Mediterranean with our crispy egg plant that’s served with a quinoa salad and egg plant puree. And our spicy paella bites put a Spanish twist on spicy tuna with crispy rice, but uses the seafood rice from paella to create some very bold flavors.” The restaurant has one of most extensive Champagne lists in WeHo, and the cocktails are worth a try too, especially the Sunshine Pop (tequila or mezcal, pineapple and sage) or the Weekend in Palm Springs (vodka, passion fruit, orange and lime).
Soulmate’s Flutter cocktail. PHOTO BY KATRINA FREDRICK
Hibiscus meringue at Damian PHOTO: COURTESY OF DAMIAN
The Concept Envisioned as a twin brother to Cosme, the acclaimed restaurant in New York, the latest project from chef Enrique Olvera, Santiago Perez and team has a menu rooted in Mexican culture and traditions that celebrates California cuisine. “Just like all of our restaurants, our location is most important in guiding the identity of the food,” says chef de cuisine Jesús “Chuy” Cervantes. “Our foundation is Mexican with the use of classic techniques and ingredients, but our inspiration comes from what’s closest and healthiest around us.”
The Highlights “Our most popular dishes are zucchini tlayuda, uni tostada and pescado a la brasa,” says Cervantes. “The tlayuda feels celebratory to eat and share. The tostada is a play on the classic Caesar salad. We top the tostada with beautiful uni from Santa Barbara. The grilled fish is sourced from Liwei Liao, a popular fish supplier here in L.A. who takes his fish an extra step by dry aging it, much like you would dry-aged steaks. This produces an incredibly flavorful fish with the most crisp skin for making tacos.”
Cha Cha Chá’s dreamy rooftop patio in DTLA PHOTO: BY WONHO FRANK LEE
The Concept Blending the best of Mexico City and Los Angeles, Cha Cha Chá avoids typical U.S. Mexican restaurant references and instead offers something fresh and distinct. “[Architect Lena Kohl’s] greatest inspiration came from midcentury Mexican architecture, the kind you find in Acapulco and Mexico City,” says owner Alejandro Marin. “She then cross-referenced with local inspirations that hold similar values, like Palm Springs. When you are sitting in our dining room, you feel like you are in a tropical, lush and intimate garden just hovering over the street’s sidewalk and looking at the downtown skyline.” Chef Alejandro Guzman’s menu is inspired by the dishes he had growing up in Mexico City, but reinterpreted with locally sourced ingredients.
The Highlights Some of Marin’s favorites include the tuna tostada (blue fin tuna, crispy cilantro and chili morito aioli over a crunchy tostada), the carnitas, the Carajillo cocktail and the very unique Strawberry Milk Punch.
An Old-Fashioned at Gigi’s. PHOTO: BY MOSES TRUZMAN
The Concept One of the hottest reservations in town, Gigi’s is just one reason drawing people to the popular Sycamore District in Hollywood. “We felt there was a void in L.A. for restaurants that were both beautiful and classic in their design, and also accompanied by great food and service,” says Alexander Wilmot, Gigi’s owner and operator. “My partner, Samantha Ressler, and I wanted to create an environment similar to restaurants we used to frequent in New York City.”
The Highlights Executive chef Matt Bollinger’s menu is packed with elegant bistro fare, including a lovely seafood tower, uni toast, smoke trout rillettes, and more hearty dishes like roasted chicken, Parisian gnocci and a solid cheeseburger. The thoughtful wine list and cocktail menu are also of note. “I’m partial to the Wilmot,” says Wilmot of his namesake drink. “It’s our version of the classic Gibson martini with a pickled ramp in lieu of a cocktail onion. It’s dangerously delicious.”
The Basics Hollywood, gigis.la
A savory spread at Issima, Marissa Hermer’s new restaurant at Kimpton La Peer Hotel in West Hollywood PHOTO: COURTESY OF RESY
The Concept “The inspiration for issima was really derivative of [husband] Matt [Hermer’s] and my choice beach club haunts, from Formentera to Mykonos to Ramatuelle,” says Marissa Hermer, co-owner of Issima and partner at Boujis Group. “We know many Angelenos are itching for a European holiday, which of course is tricky with the pandemic still within our midst, so we brought the holiday close to home. We want issima to be an escape for our guests.”
The Highlights Some of Hermer’s favorite dishes from chef Michael Fiorelli’s menu include the shrimp ceviche, the citrus marinated steak, the whole boneless sea bass fish tacos and the lobster arrabbiata. “Not only are these dishes visual showstoppers, but they have the flavor to back it up,” she says. Make sure to try the Rome cocktail (Ilegal mezcal, caramelized pineapple, mint, mascarpone, lime, angostura) and the Mocktail Med with Ghia (Ghia alcohol-free aperitif, lychee, watermelon juice, citrus, Fever Tree club soda).
A.O.C. recently opened a Brentwood outpost PHOTO BY: FI CAMPBELL
The Concept “The menu is based on a small-plates format of seasonal, market-driven dishes from the wood-burning oven and wood-burning grill, as well as a wide variety of vegetables, grains and fresh, vibrant salads,” says chef and co-owner Suzanne Goin, who runs the restaurant with Caroline Styne, wine director and co-owner. “The idea, which we started years ago at the first A.O.C., is a more communal way to dine where the guests share their food, passing plates and experiencing flavors and tastes together. The menu is always based on what is freshest from the market and working with those ingredients to bring out the best in them and surprise the diners with deeply flavored and layered dishes with an unexpected twist or two.”
The Highlights Start with the farmer’s plate, a seasonally inspired offering of roasted vegetables, muhammara and chickpea puree, burrata and grilled toast; then move on to the arroz negro, squid and saffron aioli. “This is an A.O.C. classic,” says Goin. “It’s the perfect wood oven dish and a nod to my love of big rustic Spanish flavors.”
Co-owners chef Suzanne Goin and wine director Caroline Styne. PHOTO BY: RAY KACHATORIAN
Outdoor seating at Girl & the Goal PHOTO: KATRINA FREDRICK
The Concept To the delight of Angelenos, Stephanie Izard has brought her Chicago hot spot Girl & the Goal to the City of Angels, with a menu steered toward a West Coast sensibility. “We worked with the same designer as we did with Girl & the Goat Chicago to purposely give some nods from the original restaurant to its sister restaurant on the West Coast,” says Izard, executive chef and owner. “Los Angeles is more airy and bright, while Chicago is more rustic and badass. Similarly with the menu, in L.A., Girl & the Goat is highlighting the produce here.” The combination of upbeat music, bright and exciting dishes, and the light and airy decor makes this new restaurant one of L.A.’s toughest reservations to snag.
The Highlights While every dish on the menu sings, make sure to try some of Izard’s favorites, including scallops seared with a Hunaneseinspired chile sauce paired with a crunchy peanut and herb salad; the duck tartare; and the grilled sweet corn. Cocktailwise, go with the Goat Fashioned, Girl & the Goat’s take on the Old-Fashioned.
Girl & the Goat in DTLA’s Arts District. PHOTO BY KATRINA FREDRICK
Inside Matu in Beverly Hills PHOTO: BY VIRTUALLY HERE STUDIOS
The Concept “The inspiration behind Matū is the 100% grass-fed wagyu beef produced in New Zealand by First Light,” says Ryan Gianola, Matū co-founder. “There is more to this beef than its best-in-class flavor that has won awards around the globe. It is sustainable, using regenerative, climate-friendly farming practices. It is healthful, containing significantly higher heart- and brain-healthy omega-3s, lower saturated fats and more antioxidants. And it is certified humane and certified GMO-free.” The 2,800-square-foot space— accented by walnut and brass detailing with an open kitchen—was designed by Marmol Radziner.
The Highlights “Matū’s unique five-course Wagyu Dinner is the heart of the menu,” Gianola explains. “It starts with a bone broth made with a 24-hour cooking process and progresses through four additional courses that highlight many different cooking methods—wood fire, slow braising and high-heat searing—and a variety of cuts of beef that feature ribeye, New York, picanha, filet and beef cheek. Each cooked course is paired with a vegetable to create a balanced dinner.”
Baked pasta at The Barish. PHOTO: COURTESY OF THE BARISH AT THE HOLLYWOOD ROOSEVELT
The Concept “At its heart, The Barish menu is inspired by my summers spent cooking over open fires in Italy,” says chef and restaurateur Nancy Silverton about her new restaurant at The Hollywood Roosevelt. Named after her paternal grandmother’s family, the restaurant pays tribute to Silverton’s family via authentic sepia photographs and treasured heirlooms placed throughout. The hotel's soaring ceilings and old Hollywood look and feel were highlighted by Nickey Kehoe. “They did an incredible job with the renovation of the dining room, preserving the hotel’s Spanish Colonial Revival details and melding with vintage-inspired custom furnishings and lighting to make the space feel like it has always belonged,” she says.
The Highlights Executive chef Armen Ayvazyan and chef Molly Mueller’s Italian steakhoue menu features many highlights cooked in the wood-fire hearth, from dry-aged steaks and fish to pasta. Some of Silverton’s standouts include the 40-ounce porterhouse steak, the smoked beets and the baked rigatoni.