This new ground-floor eatery and hangout at Venice’s Erwin Hotel offers a counterpoint to the property’s popular rooftop bar, and celebrates the edgy nature and laid-back attitude of Venice denizens. It serves breakfast, brunch and dinner of rotating “barn-to-belly” dishes and drinks with an emphasis on simplicity and fresh ingredients including fried green tomatoes with tomato confit, frisee and whipped merlot; smoked fish tacos with citrus, cumin, radish and cilantro; and fried Rocky Free Range chicken with peas, carrot cumin puree and local micro onions. Cocktails are inspired by the same ethos, and one entry on the list contains moonshine, honey, rhubarb preserves and lavender.
1697 Pacific Ave., Venice, CA 90291, (424) 214-1063; jdvhotels.com
Finally giving us a place on West 3rd Street’s restaurant row where we actually want to come and kick back over classy cocktails and wood-fired pizzas (among other specialties) is this new restaurant adjacent to the Orlando Hotel from Beau Laughlin and Brett Cranston (the guys behind The Hudson in West Hollywood) with chef Jason Tuley (formerly of the lauded Square One restaurant in Santa Barbara) manning the kitchen. The salvage-chic restaurant features design pieces and furniture from Croft, and several different socializing areas including a buzzing, high-ceilinged bar, an open front patio, a cozy corner of banquettes near the kitchen, and some communal tables and booths on the second floor (where you’ll also find a photo booth for memorializing your night).
Start with a signature cocktail like the Clementine with chamomile-infused Bulleit Rye, fresh lemon juice, honey syrup, Dolin Bianco liqueur, and Regans orange bitters, served up and with a twist. Graze on a few of the starters like the chopped salad with romaine, Treviso, pancetta, olives, fresh mozzarella, heirloom tomatoes and sherry vinaigrette; the seared sea scallops with honey-grilled stone fruit and romaine-sorrel butter; and a selection of the house-cured meats including a smooth and creamy foie gras mousse. Order one of the pizzas to share (we’d suggest the one with marinated artichokes, pistachios, burrata and olives) before moving on to main course like the whole-roasted rock fish with roasted fennel, olives, corno di toro peppers and eggplant puree; or the potato gnocchi with braised rabbit, blistered tomatoes, and luscious sheep’s milk ricotta. End things with the fluffy warm spiced doughnuts with apple puree and bourbon-bacon caramel. You might have come to hang out, but there are plenty of reasons to stay and eat.
8384 W. 3rd St., Los Angeles, CA 90048, (323) 655-8384; the-churchill.com
This newest restaurant from the burgeoning Spacecraft Group empire (Kitchen 24, Osaka, Mohawk Bend, Boho, Stout Burgers and Beer, etc.) landed in Silverlake this month with a typically design-focused redo of the space that formerly held Tantra, and a heavily Indian-influenced fusion menu of dishes like samosa stuffed with kidney beans and cheese and seared tuna with roasted cumin coriander and avocado raita, as well as ossobuco with onion-tomato sauce. Wash it all down with a cocktail like the Relapse with rye, lychee, pomegranate and Cointreau.
3705 W. Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90026, (323) 663-8268; nayasunset.com
Oldfield’s Liquor Room
The folks at the 1933 Group (The Thirsty Crow in Silverlake and Bigfoot Lodge in Los Feliz) have worked their special alcoholic alchemy again to open a nostalgic cocktail bar in Culver City named after early 20th-century speed racer and showman Barney Oldfield, who is a hero of owner and designer Boby Green. Behind the bar will be a motley who’s who of LA mixologists including men and women who have spent time muddling and stirring at La Descarga, A-Frame and Rivera. They’ll be mixing up cocktails like the Blitzen Benz (named after a car Oldfield raced in) made with Cynar, Maraschino, Peychaud bitters, fresh lemon and egg white. The lounge will also feature cheese plates and bar-style sandwiches by Chester Hastings, the author of The Cheesemonger’s Kitchen.
10899 Venice Blvd., Culver City, CA 90034, (310) 842-8066; oldfieldsliquorroom.com
Renowned Peruvian restaurateur Adolfo Suaya brings his Asian-influence Peruvian fusion cuisine to the U.S. with this new Hollywood location of Osaka. To reach the restaurant, guests cross a stone path over a pond and enter the expansive bar and lounge area, where bartenders serve signature libations with a focus on Peru’s national liquor, pisco, like the Spice Pisco Sour infused with chilies and mixed with lemon, orange and demerara sugar. On the food menu, guests will find specialties like tiradito with raw white fish, yuzu oyster sauce and shiso aroma; crab causitas with stone crab meat, avocado and rocoto pepper cream, and, of course, a selection of ceviches.
6327 Hollywood Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90028; (323) 785-0360; osaka.com
Take a Bao
We don’t often venture to the Valley, but we might just be more inclined to head over the hill to enjoy chef Gavin Portsmouth’s Asian-inspired menu at this new location of Take a Bao (the first is at the Century City mall) in Studio City where he’ll be dishing up specialties like seared togarashi-crusted ahi tuna and daikon salad with English cucumber, avocado, jicama, radish sprouts and mixed greens; and an array of bao buns stuffed with delicious fillings like duck confit with grilled scallions and plum Hoisin sauce; and banh mi with grilled pork loin, pate, pickled vegetables, diced chilies, cilantro and garlic aioli; along with a selection of noodles, rice, soup and curry dishes. For dessert, our bet is on the banana Nutella bao with bruléed banana, Nutella, marshmallow and chopped hazelnuts on a cinnamon-sugar bun.
11831 Ventura Blvd., Studio City, CA 91604; takeabao.com