Posted on 4 Aug
Felix Trattoria in Venice
From an oyster and rosé bar at an iconic Hollywood hotel to an Israeli-inspired eatery in an historic building Downtown, these five L.A. restaurants top our list of new arrivals to try before summer’s end.
Helmed by chef Even Funke of Culver City’s short-lived but much-loved Bucato, Felix Trattoria is a modern Italian eatery that actually lives up to its hype. Housed in a bright and inviting space on Venice’s buzzing Abbott Kinney, the interior, with its vintage-inspired wall paper, cozy banquettes, and glass-enclosed, temperature-controlled pasta fabricating room (yes, you read that right), is equal parts old world and modern. As it turns out, that is also a perfect description for the food. Funke’s handmade pasta, served incredibly al dente, is undoubtedly the star of the show (try the pea-green Trofie pasta or the Pappardelle), but don’t skip the fried artichokes, cooked in the Roman tradition, or the savory grilled octopus.
There’s something about the dog days of summer (the sunshine? The heat? The Labor Day parties on the not-so-distant horizon?) that makes us crave lighter fare. This new plant-based eatery from the folks at Cafe Gratitude is the perfect place to while away a warm L.A. evening and wake up feeling refreshed and beach ready. Fans of the restaurant group’s Venice location will take delight in the menu, dreamed up by chef Dreux Ellis, which includes innovative salads, bowls, and entrées. Try the Warm Hearted, a bright summer polenta, or the Elated, savory mole enchiladas—and don’t skip one of beverage director Jason Eisner’s health conscious (yet still surprisingly stiff) summer sips.
The phrase “Awww Shucks!!” doesn’t typically connote a good time, unless it’s in the form of a bright, neon sign outside The Roosevelt Hotel’s new oyster and wine bar. Housed in a cabana suite adjacent to the hotel’s iconic David Hockney-painted swimming pool, The Rosy Oyster just might be the sexiest place to slurp bivalves in L.A. Boasting an interior as playful as its name, with decor that riffs on the oyster’s aphrodisiac qualities (including a collection of Israeli artist Amit Greenberg’s signature cartoon nudes), the menu features a wide array of oysters and hard-to-find, limited-quantity rosés curated by model-turned-sommelier Lelanea Fulton. Should you need something a little more substantial than oysters to satiate your appetite post-swim, the shrimp cocktail, mini lobster rolls, and complimentary candied bacon should do the trick.
The only thing better than one Jean-Georges is three. Located inside the new Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills, the collection of restaurants from the much revered, Michelin-starred chef, offers three unique dining experiences, each in a different corner of the posh hotel. The undisputed star of the trio is Jean-Georges Beverly Hills, the hotel’s signature, all-day dining option and the largest of the three eateries. Featuring a refined menu in keeping with the chef’s New York outposts such as Georges NYC and APC Kitchen, starters include sea urchin and caviar, while classics such as rigatoni with meatballs, organic chicken, and Colorado lamb chops are sure to please your palate. Several stories up, The Rooftop by JG serves as an elite gathering place for hotel guests only, offering sweeping views of Beverly Hills and lighter, snacky bites designed to be enjoyed poolside. Finally, those with a hankering for a midnight snack will take pleasure in a burger and nightcap at the Jean-Georges Beverly Hills Bar.
L.A. is clearly having an Italian moment, so when news broke that The Exchange, a decidedly non-Italian, Israeli-inspired restaurant, was moving into the historic Commercial Exchange Building downtown, gluten-averse foodies everywhere had reason to celebrate. Tucked inside the progressive, hostel-style Freehand Hotel, the expansive restaurant, headed by Angeleno chef Alex Chang, serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner, with a mediterranean slant that still manages to pay homage to L.A. For dinner, start with an order of Labneh, served with shaved squash, preserved lemon ponzu and crispy fish belly, then venture into big plate territory with the daily catch and Paryiyo (chicken), served with shawarma spice, carrot molet, and yogurt.