2021 is a lot like its predecessor 2020 in that it feels like this year is flying by while simultaneously feeling like we’ve lived five years in the past six months. The pandemic has thrown no shortage of curveballs, forcing our hospitality industry to remain poised on agile toes in order to keep their businesses afloat and customers satisfied. That perseverance is worthy of recognition, and makes it all the more impressive that some ambitious minds are still able to look optimistically towards the future and conceive new concepts to help our city maintain its cutting-edge coolness.
From new rooftop destinations to decked-out shopping centers, and a flurry of exciting new restaurants ranging from Brazilian to Italian-Australian, our city’s hospitality experts are primed for a busy fall season. We’ve gathered some of the most exciting concepts slated to launch in the coming months, so even as we navigate the unpredictable waters of this pandemic, we’re reminded that there are still things to look forward to. So keep masking up and that vax card handy to make sure that we can eventually come out the other side of these rough tides. Here are 16 of the most exciting openings in LA this fall:
Los Olivos Opening date: Early September 2021 Okay, so we’re stretching the definitions of LA with this one, but after collab pop-ups with some of our favorite local restaurants (Anajak Thai, All Day Baby, and Gigi’s, to name just a few) throughout the summer, this forthcoming seafood tavern from Greg and Daisy Ryan and chef Brad Matthews of French-inspired Bell’s in Los Alamos has built up quite the buzz. The two-story, slate-blue brick restaurant features striped window awnings and a white trim, with a modern interior that includes triangle-tiled black-and-white floors, bright green wood paneling, and cozy, horse-shoe shaped velvet booths. Now that their summer tour is complete, the restaurant has been teasing their opening with a limited takeout lunch service on the weekends, including peel-and-eat shrimp by the pound, crispy soft shell crab on a bed of corn and avocado slaw, oyster po’boys, malt vinegar fries, and saffron lemonade. Expect a lengthier, European-inspired menu that honors Santa Ynez Valley farmer and fisherman communities when the eatery opens in full this fall.
Arts District Opening date: September 2021 Brazilian chefs and business partners Rodrigo Oliveira and Victor Vasconcellos traversed continents to debut their first stateside restaurant, an expansive take on Brazilian fare that pulls ingredients from California’s dynamic selection of produce. The pair have partnered with acclaimed restaurateur Bill Chait (Bestia, Otium, Tartine Manufactory, Tesse), but bring their own accolades to the project, including Oliveira’s award-winning Mocotó and Balaio IMS restaurants in São Paulo, both of which earned Bib Gourmands from the Michelin Guide. Landing in the former Church & State space, Caboco-a term used to describe the multicultural heritage of Brazilians-will offer a menu that explores the wide range of Brazil’s manioc (yuca) plant, including manioc flour, tapioca, tucupi, farofa, and yuca fries, as well as Amazonian fruit, and wild vegetables from southeastern Brazil, like ora-pro-nobis. It will also feature dishes that helped establish Oliveira’s Mocotó as a global destination, like mocofava, a hearty calf’s foot soup with beans, plus enticing new collaborations like a vegetarian moqueca de caju (cashew fruit stew), pirarucu (an Amazonian fish in cassava juice), and a housemade carne de sol (salt-cured beef with roasted garlic and biquinho peppers). Rounding out the food menu, the concept will also house LA’s first artisanal cachaça and caipirinha bar led by Marcus Ragas (The Chestnut Club), with numerous iterations of caipirinhas paired with local fruits, reimagined versions of Brazil’s classic cocktails, and international cocktails reinterpreted with cachaça.
Highland Park Opening date: September 2021 Beloved neighborhood Thai spot Sticky Rice forayed into nightlife with the launch of Spirit House, a hidden cocktail garden tucked behind their Silverlake location that occasionally hosts live music acts after dark. They’re expanding on that concept with The Goldfish, set to open in Highland Park this September, with a Sticky Rice window and patio seating out front, and a disco-ball-decked concert venue with a full bar and pool table on the interior. Intrigued? The Goldfish is giving locals a preview of their programming with a series of back-to-back nightly concerts at Spirit House, with the last one (for now) scheduled for August 19.
Gramercy Park Opening date: September 2021 Touching down near LAX this September is a brand-new hotel from Hyatt Place / Hyatt House, including two new dining concepts that will launch within the space. The first, a signature Greenleaf Kitchen & Cocktails that serves as an offshoot of the local, gourmet fast-casual chain, will anchor the restaurant’s main floor with mid-century design elements throughout an indoor/outdoor space. The hotel and Greenleaf are partnering on ShoresLAX, a rooftop dining destination that will bring SoCal-inspired flavors to a bohemian chic, poolside venue with indoor and outdoor seating, plus a grill, craft cocktails, and California wines. The restaurant will offer the highest rooftop in the airport district, while the hotel offers the only rooftop pool in the area, providing clear views of airport landings and departures.
Miracle Mile Opening date: September 30, 2021 Bill Chait has clearly been busy during the pandemic, evidenced by the fact that he’s also developing Fanny’s, the forthcoming Academy Museum‘s attached restaurant and cafe, alongside Carl Schuster, with support from philanthropist Wendy Stark. The 250-seat restaurant is named after Stark’s grandmother Fanny Brice, the renowned vaudeville, film, and radio star portrayed by Barbra Streisand in Funny Girl, and will be open seven days a week for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, with brunch served on the weekends. The chic main dining room features an art deco-style bar and lounge area, with a mix of curved booths and small group and communal tables imbued with natural materials like maple wall paneling, mable, zinc, and leather and mohair upholstery. Local artists and artisans were tapped to help design the space, including custom light fixtures by Atelier de Troupe and sheer, Pojagi-inspired curtain panels by textile artist Adam Pogue. LA artist and illustrator Konstantin Kakanias was tapped to create a dazzling wraparound mural for the main dining room that honors film and music legends from Hollywood’s yesteryears to present day. Stay tuned for more announcements ahead of the restaurant’s opening, including the chef, program director, and reservation bookings.
Hollywood Opening date: September/October 2021 LA is brimming with restaurants serving up Italian fare hailing from every corner of the boot-shaped peninsula, but will soon gain its first Italian-Australian eatery, with a menu helmed by Australia’s celebrated chef-couple, Monty and Jaci Koludrovic. But, as the name suggests, Grandmaster Recorders is so much more than a restaurant. Led by The Botanical Group (E.P. & L.P., Strings of Life), the multi-level concept takes over the historic recording studio in the heart of Hollywood that was originally created by legendary producer Alan Dickson and once served as home for entertainers like Stevie Wonder, Billy Idol, and David Bowie. The newly revamped space features a 130-seat formal fine dining experience on the ground level, and a studio bar and patio with cocktails and pizza fresh out of a custom-made mirrored pizza oven on the rooftop. Much like E.P and L.P.’s malleable rooftop space that transforms into an outdoor cinema after dark, Grandmaster Recorders’ invites guests to “Come for a meal, and stay for the night.”
Studio City Opening date: September/October 2021 Dating back to the 1800s and rising to prominence in the 1940s during Hollywood’s Golden Era, Sportsmen’s Lodge once served as the social center of the Valley. With more than 90,000-square feet of indoor and outdoor space, complete with lush landscaping and water fixtures, The Shops at Sportsmen’s Lodge will breathe new life into this landmark venue, including the debut of Erewhon‘s first Valley location, as well as forthcoming dining, retail, and wellness outlets that will arrive in phased openings. Some of the first tenants to open include SUGARFISH, an omakase-style restaurant helmed by noteworthy sushi chef Kazunori Nozawa; HiHo Cheeseburger, the first and only burger restaurant that exclusively serves 100% grass-fed Wagyu beef; and Roberta’s, a Brooklyn-born pizza joint serving wood-fired Neapolitan-style pies with unique topping combinations.
Hollywood Opening date: September 2021 Midwest hospitality arrives steeped in Hollywood glamour at The Godfrey, a new luxury boutique hotel with a famed Chicago location. Its 220 guestrooms are available for booking as early as September, and the hotel is also preparing to launch two new dining concepts in the coming months. Spanning 12,000 square feet, i|O will feature the largest rooftop in Hollywood, complete with chef-driven brunch and dinner menus and thoughtful craft cocktail and wine lists. ALK restaurant and bar will take a slight departure from the gastropub-meets-steakhouse fare of its Chicago outpost to borrow influence from the Southern California region, with a focus on plant-based dishes.
Echo Park Opening date: September/October 2021 After a successful pop-up run in Glendale, Quarter Sheets is taking a summer break while they prepare for the opening of their first brick-and-mortar on a quiet Echo Park side street that previously housed Trencher sandwich shop. Purporting to serve “Glendale’s least authentic Detroit-style pizza,” Quarter Sheets amassed a dedicated following for fluffy, crisp-edged pies with unusually delicious topping combinations, like the Golden Fleece, with red sauce, mozzarella, taggiasca olives, sheep ricotta, pepperoncinis, onion, oregano, and pecorino. The pop-up pizzeria will also feature fresh-baked pastries from chef and partner Hannah Ziskin, as well as a beer and wine list.
Inglewood Opening date: October/November 2021 LA’s nightlife scene is slowly bouncing back, evidenced by the fact that the city will earn its first dedicated Afrobeats nightclub this fall season. A vibrant mural is already underway at the location, so far depicting two faces in traditional Nigerian face paint. Led by Chibueze Chima, a Nigerian immigrant who wanted the local Afrobeats scene to more accurately reflect the cultures it stems from, The Tribe isn’t far from the new SoFi stadium and could represent a compelling after-game option once it opens. Chima plans for his nightclub to play Afrobeats exclusively, but intentionally chose to name it The Tribe to reflect a philosophy that all who call themselves lovers of the genre and its associated cultures are welcome.
Culver City Opening date: November 1 Arriving in Ivy Station, Culver City’s new, Metro Expo Line-adjacent development center, is The Shay, a modern boutique hotel with 148 rooms and 19 suites, two dining concepts, a game room, co-working space, fitness center, and rooftop pool. Order a welcome round of cocktails at the inviting Lobby Bar that’s centered around a fire pit, or nosh on wood-fired pies from etta, a neighborhood cafe that serves as Michelin star chef Danny Grant’s LA debut. After dark, head to the 5,000-square foot rooftop where Celestina serves up Mexican-inspired cocktails and dishes alongside stunning views of the city.
Hollywood Opening date: TBD 2021 LA is home to a large number of fame-seeking residents, which likely contributes to our reputation as a fitness capital, with just about every workout you can think of offered within our city limits. We’ll be earning a new concept fitness club, courtesy of global fitness and lifestyle leader RSG Group, later this year, one that hopes to redefine the industry by offering a holistic day-to-night fitness, wellness, culinary, and cultural concept all within one space. This “private yet inclusive” community will offer the latest in fitness equipment and technology, skilled instructors, and a variety of exercise options, plus events across multiple industries, a co-working space, wellness spa, and a public-facing restaurant led by a (yet to be revealed) award-winning chef. Promising to be one of LA’s most exclusive club memberships, HEIMAT also comes with a spacious rooftop where you’ll find a jacuzzi and pool, plus panoramic views of the Hollywood Hills.
Angelini Ristorante & Bar
Pacific Palisades Opening date: Winter 2021/2022 Gino Angelini’s Angelini Osteria has served as one of the city’s most beloved Italian restaurants for 20 years, and this winter, the acclaimed chef will debut a new outpost in Pacific Palisades in a partnership with close friend and restaurateur Tancredi Deluca (Amici, Ombra Wine Bar, Deluca’s Deli). Slated to arrive in the walkable Caruso Pacific Palisades village that opened in 2018, the new restaurant will sit adjacent to Hank’s Bar and Brill and join 40 additional food, shopping, and entertainment concepts. The restaurant will be open for lunch and dinner to start, with a weekend brunch service launching shortly thereafter. The space offers an intimate interior with 40 seats, as well as an outdoor patio and bar area with 60 additional seats.
Unnamed from Alice Waters
Hammer Museum/Westwood Opening date: Fall 2021 Chef Alice Waters is practically an institution within herself, beloved for her Berkeley restaurant Chez Panisse that has long championed the Slow Food movement, with dishes that feature hyper-seasonal ingredients presented in simple yet stunning formats. Waters’ new restaurant will be housed in the Hammer Museum in Westwood, and she’s bringing on chef and cookbook author David Tanis, as well as Jesse McBride (Chateau Marmont, Standard Hotels) as an operations lead. Oliver Monday will serve as the restaurant’s premier forager. Much like Chez Panisse, the eatery is expected to serve California-inspired cuisine that highlights local produce from farms that employ regenerative and responsible farming practices.
Unnamed from Josiah Citrin
Santa Monica Opening Date: TBD 2021 The Dirty Chicken plate for two remains one of the most frequently ordered items at celebrated chef Josiah Citrin’s Citrin and Melisse restaurant, featuring a whole bird encased in a thick, herbaceous crust that gives way to perfectly tender meat. Later this year, the much-lauded restaurateur will launch a new roast chicken concept in Santa Monica, with a similar crispy bird on the menu, plus a chicken salad, chicken sandwich, whole roast chicken, and rotating sides. Details beyond that have yet to be revealed, but if you’ve tried Citrin’s Dirty Chicken in the past, you understand why it deserves its own eatery.
Unnamed from Daniel Boulud
Beverly Hills Opening Date: TBD 2021 Globally renowned French chef Daniel Boulud, known for his titular, two-Michelin-starred NYC restaurant Daniel, is set to launch a new restaurant within the multi-million dollar SHVO development complex on Wilshire Blvd, not far from iconic neighborhood landmarks like Rodeo Drive and Beverly Wilshire Four Seasons Hotel. The acclaimed chef has thus far kept mum about details like cuisine, menu items, or additional names attached to the project, but told Eater LA that his first restaurant in the City of Angels will be elegant yet casual, comparing the city to the South of France.Want more Thrillist? Follow us on Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, TikTok, and Snapchat.
Situated in the Santa Monica Mountains and known for its vibrant creative community, Topanga is one of Los Angeles’s most prized destinations for art and outdoor enthusiasts alike. And while LA boasts its own sprawling landscape of fun to tap into, you’d be remiss to miss a chance to explore this tucked-away collection of state parks, and cafes, and restaurants-especially when it all rests just 20 minutes away from the city. From a quaint café with dazzling canyon views to a world-renowned, open-air theatre, here are the best ways to pass some time in Topanga now.
Book dinner at Inn of the Seventh Ray
Owner Lucille Yaney opened this iconic restaurant in 1975 after spotting the property on a drive through the canyon with her late husband Ralph, and it’s safe to say she had a good eye. The land perfectly fits into Yaney’s vision of a romantic, alfresco dining space with tables tucked into cozy nooks and gazebos, all beneath canapes and fairy lights. Today, Yaney co-owns the venue with executive chef consultant Brad Miller. Together, they continue to fulfil the restaurant’s original mission to serve pure, natural foods reflective of the season’s best. That approach appears in dishes like 8-Hour Black Vinegar Braised Short Rib with creamy rosemary polenta, duck bacon Brussels sprouts, and caramelized onion and fig jam; Roasted Mushroom Toast with oyster mushrooms and sherry tarragon cream; and Beets & Whipped Black Pepper Creme Fraiche. Consider the carbs here. Pastas and sauces are made in-house and from scratch, as is the bread (available regular or gluten-free), an order of which you won’t want to miss. Check out the wine list, too, which offers a robust organic and biodynamic selection that has helped the restaurant garner some impressive accolades in recent years.
Check into Topanga Canyon Inn
In addition to plenty of excellent Airbnbs available to rent in the Canyon, there’s Topanga Canyon Inn, a charming bed and breakfast comprised of two Mediterranean-style buildings-Casa Blanca and Casa Rosa-both built by the owners. Guests can enjoy bespoke design details in each room, along with gorgeous mountain views from their own private balcony. Come morning, join other travellers for breakfast, served daily at Casa Rosa.
Get coffee at Café on 27
Ready your camera for a coffee date at this AM eatery and café, where ample (and busy) outdoor seating offers some of the Canyon’s best views. A full breakfast and lunch menu is available (complete with hearty orders like eggs Benedicts, soups, and club sandwiches), but for lighter morning fare, spring for a pastry and any of their specialty drinks, such as the turmeric latte or Moroccan mocha.
Hike Topanga State Park
Spanning 11,000 acres and 36 miles of trails, Topanga State Park is the largest state park within the Santa Monica Mountains and one of the world’s largest parks within city limits. Visitors can access the grounds via more than 60 entrances. Once on the trails, enjoy sweeping vistas while exploring the region’s range of plants, habitats, and wildlife, including several resident bird species.
Grab lunch at Topanga Living Café
Guided by their Topanga upbringing and need for a community gathering spot with great eats, sibling team Agustina Ferguson and Bayu Suryawan opened this daytime eatery in 2016. Ever since, locals and visitors have found refuge in the café’s warm, airy space and nourishing, hyper-fresh fare-all California-inspired with global influences. Check it out in plates like the Island Style, a breakfast salad with Balinese corn fritters, a poached egg, and house-made chilli jam, or the tacos (Baja Fish or Baja Shrimp, Carne Asada, or Kabocha Squash), made-to-order and served on handmade tortillas. If you’re seeking something shareable, try the Farmers Market Crudite, a seemingly humble order whose bright beet hummus reminds us that eating your vegetables is, indeed, very cool. And take a drink to-go. The team here takes great pride in their coffee (organic espresso, courtesy of their iconic pink La Marzocco machine) and a lineup of made-to-order smoothies, juices, and teas. Shop your way through town
Visitors can stroll through the town centre’s most popular shops for various fun finds, including Moona Star, Pebbles, and Topanga Homegrown. Be sure to stock up on specialty, local snacks at Canyon Gourmet and satiate your sweet tooth while you’re at it. The organic soft-serve there is a must. Pro tip: Top it with any of their artisanal syrups for a winning combo, namely, the vanilla with cardamom.
Catch a show at The Will Geer Theatricum Botanicum
This beloved open-air theatre has hosted productions for decades and is recognized worldwide for its Shakespeare interpretations. In addition to its annual summer season, which includes works like Macbeth and A Midsummer Night’s Dream, the venue hosts concerts, rehearsals, and classes throughout the year for budding actors and playwrights of all ages.
Snag a slice at Endless Colour
This family-run pizza joint specializes in from-scratch pies with clever topping combinations (think purple potatoes, fontina, and truffle oil in the Purple Molly Potato or spinach, leeks, and goat cheese in the Super Greens). Bring some friends, order a pie or two, and check out the drinks list, which includes offbeat options like orange wines and hard kombucha.
Check out The Canyon Bakery’s “Sunday Funday”
Situated on the grounds of the aforementioned Will Geer Theatricum Botanicum, this bakery specializes in naturally leavened breads, pastries, cakes, and cookies using locally sourced, whole grain flours. There’s a takeout window on Sundays, from 9:30 am until the bakery sells out. A strong following lines up for favourites, such as whole grain croissants and gluten-free pizza, so be sure to arrive early to get your fill.
Try tacos to-go at La Chingona
On your way out of town, grab some tacos at La Chingona, where a team puts forth fresh, organic, gluten- and dairy-free tacos. Orders range to include options like grass-fed beef (carne asada), shrimp (wild-caught), and soy chorizo and can be fashioned into plates beyond tacos, too (think tostadas, salads, and bowls). Open only on Tuesdays, Fridays, and Sundays; this taco stand sees good demand. Plan accordingly, pending your travels, especially to savour an order or two of the churros.