A new year is upon us, encouraging optimism and hope even as we contend with the spread of the latest Omicron variant. While much remains up in the air, the last two years have proven our ability to adapt-and nowhere is this more evident than within our local restaurant and hospitality industries. When faced with social distancing orders and shutdowns, they figured out how to innovate their offerings in a to-go format. When dining was limited to al-fresco experiences, they transformed city sidewalks and parking lots into string-lit paradises where we could once again break bread with friends. And now, on the cusp of a new year, they’re delighting us with the promise of new dining destinations, mixed-use spaces, membership clubs, and cafes that are sure to become the backdrop of this year’s best memories.
Spanning a Korean-American deli and super, a two-story Mexican marketplace, a Black-owned membership club, and several new debuts from celebrity chefs, here are 18 2022 openings in LA to get excited about:
Downtown LA Opening date: January 10 Partners and chefs Katianna and John Hong (The Restaurant at Meadowood, The Charter Oak) are slated to open their innovative Korean-American deli and super in the heart of the Arts District this January. The elevated convenience store concept will celebrate the Hongs’ respective backgrounds with a menu that blends Korean flavors with regional California ingredients and deli culture, and will include Yangban Super, which will act as a stand-alone minimart within the space, offering house-made pantry staples, snacks, beverages, and spirits, plus fun random items that reflect some of Katianna and John’s passions outside of the kitchen, like hip hop, fashion, and streetwear.
Echo Park Opening date: January 13 Adam Fleischman, the accomplished restaurateur and founder behind Umami Burger and 800 Degrees Pizza is unveiling a new Asian smokehouse concept in Echo Park with Slow Burn. The restaurant’s menu takes craveable Asian flavors and adapts them to a classic smokehouse format, with an emphasis on smoked proteins, veggies, and reinvented Asian sauces. Expect bold flavors, colorful dishes, and signature shared plates like pork belly burnt ends with an Asian BBQ sauce; a sushi casserole with crab, crispy rice, yuzu, roe, nori, and eel sauce; and a yuzu kosho potato salad. Fleischman has also curated a wine list that features bottles and wines by the glass from lesser-known wine regions like Sardinia, Corsica, and Armenia. The mid-century-inspired dining room features exposed brickwork and wooden beams for an elevated industrial feel, with a spacious, string-lit patio for outdoor dining. The restaurant has plans to upgrade to a full bar with craft cocktails and there’s a possibility of turning the adjoining unit into a mini-market and wine shop.
Beverly Grove Opening date: January Mexico’s renowned, family-owned restaurant group, Grupo Hunan, is debuting their first stateside concept with Alma at The Grove. Adjacent to the outdoor shopping center’s iconic fountain, the two-level space features a coastal palette and materials, and will house a walk-up taqueria, marketplace, and cocktail bar on its ground floor. On the second floor you’ll find a full-service fine-dining Mexican restaurant, with signature dishes like tacos al pastor, birria, and escamoles.
Downtown LA Opening date: January Top Chef winner Stephanie Izard brought a new location of her beloved Chicago restaurant Girl and the Goat to the Arts District last year and is following that successful launch with the opening of Cabra Los Angeles on The Hoxton‘s rooftop this winter. Expect a shareable food menu and adventurous cocktail list, paired with hanging plants, a pool, and views of Downtown’s sparkling skyscrapers.
Mid-City Opening date: January Chef Niki Nakayama first got our attention with n/naka, an interpretation of the Japanese culinary art form kaiseki that celebrates seasonality by presenting ingredients in their most natural state, that’s since earned recognition as one of the World’s 50 Best restaurants. During the pandemic, Nakayama, alongside her partner Carole Iida-Nakayama, pivoted to n/soto, a California Japanese izakaya with a focus on market-driven product, first with bento boxes and then with a residency at the Japanese American Cultural & Community Center in the fall. This winter, the couple will open a brick-and-mortar in Mid-City.
Culver City Opening date: late January After more than 25 years of craft roasting coffee beans in the Bay Area, Equator Coffees is expanding to their first Southern California location in Culver City’s new Ivy Station complex. Founded by partners Helen Russell and Brooke McDonnell, the sustainable B Corp coffee roasting company is known for boutique chef blends and Fair Trade organic coffees, plus house-made waffles, toasts, paninis, and more. The Culver City location boasts 1,400 square feet and more than 50 seats in the indoor-outdoor cafe that’s designed by Kellie Patry. Look forward to collaborations with the local culinary community, including a special collaborative beer, Bengal Brew Coffee Kolsch, with neighbors Los Angeles Ale Works that’s already available for online ordering and pick-up at Los Angeles Ale Works’ Hawthorne location and wherever Los Angeles Ale Works is sold.
Silver Lake Opening date: January/February Spanish-inspired Bar Moruno was previously a tenant at the Original Farmers Market and a beloved stall at Grand Central Market, and now the same team of Mozza alums is bringing it back to life in the former Kettle Black space in Silver Lake. Helmed by chef Chris Feldmeier and David Rosoff, the menu will feature the same Spanish flavors, including favorite dishes like rotisserie chicken, roasted butternut squash with dukkah, tinned fish, plus an emphasis on Spanish wines and vermouth.
Silver Lake Opening date: January/February Next door to Bar Moruno and from the same team, Causita will transform the space that formerly housed Sawyer into a Nikkei Peruvian restaurant that will be helmed by Chef Ricardo Zarate.
Silver Lake Opening date: January/February On the same block as Bar Moruno and Causita and helmed by the same team, Rapido is taking over the space that previously housed the small retail shop Scout and will offer curated retail items and grab-and-go options from Bar Moruno and Causita.
West Adams Opening date: Winter First established in Atlanta in 2016, the mission for The Gathering Spot really came to fruition after their second location opened in Washington DC, where co-founders Ryan Wilson and TK Petersen were attending Georgetown University during the George Zimmerman trial. Recognizing the need for safe, supportive spaces for Black communities to gather, the duo decided to expand their membership club across the country. The Gathering Spot will launch its third location in the historic West Adams neighborhood this winter, featuring three stories of state-of-the-art workspaces, a members-only restaurant and bar, private gathering spaces, and curated events. To tease its arrival, the members-only club hosted an intimate screening of Candyman on the rooftop of E.P. & L.P., as well as a conversation series called “The Art of Storytelling” at Black-woman-owned Sip & Sonder coffee shop in Inglewood. The Gathering Spot plans to open clubs in Houston, Charlotte, New York City, Chicago, and Detroit in the coming years.
Hollywood Opening date: Winter Arriving in Hollywood’s burgeoning Vinyl District and joining the Mediterranean-inspired rooftop spot Bar Lis at the newly opened Thompson Hotel is renowned chef Lincoln Carson’s ode to the bustling cafés and brasseries from Paris to Lyon, while highlighting the seasonality of Southern California produce. The menu will reinterpret classic French dishes with a modern approach, while utilizing the freshest ingredients from local farms and markets, including the neighboring Hollywood Farmers’ Market.
Downtown LA Opening date: January/February 2022 Chef Jon Yao is moving Kato, his ambitious Taiwanese tasting concept, to ROW DTLA this winter and will celebrate the launch with a menu of new dishes-plus a few fan-favorites. The bar experience will be completely new since the previous location of Kato lacked a liquor license, so expect craft cocktails in addition to beer and wine. Longtime general manager Nikki Reginaldo, known for her warm personality and giving special attention to each diner, will continue running the floor and service.
Hollywood Opening date: Winter Hollywood’s emerging Vinyl District is where you’ll find MAGARI, a new Tokyo-Italian cuisine concept from California-based restaurant group Ozumo Concepts. Chef-owner Yoshiyuki Okuno, behind the Michelin-awarded La-Brianza, will team up with 2019 James Beard award-winning chef Tony Messina (UNI), and executive chef Enrico Merendino (Cara), who hails from Sicily, to debut an inspired blend of Italian cuisine with Japanese influences and approaches. Diners can expect fresh-made pasta dishes with Japanese toppings, a crudo bar with fresh seafood, and charcoal- and wood-fired mains, including hand-selected A4 Wagyu beef. The beverage menu will feature a large selection of craft cocktails alongside an impressive Italian wine program.
West Hollywood Opening date: January/February Tao Group Hospitality is opening the fourth location of Italian eatery LAVO Ristorante in an airy, 250-seat space on the iconic Sunset Strip. The new location will be lighter and brighter than its Vegas, NYC, and Singapore counterparts, with Italian architectural influences on the interior and skylights that offer crystal-clear views and vibrant plant life scattered throughout the expansive outdoor patio with a retractable roof. The menu is helmed by chef and partner Ralph Scamardella and acts as a celebration of coastal Southern Italian cuisine, featuring signature dishes from LAVO’s NYC location, including wood-fired pizzas, house-made pastas, and the one-pound Wagyu meatball, plus new items that pull from Southern California’s abundant produce selection.
Downtown LA Opening date: Late February Here’s something you don’t hear everyday: Chef D Brandon Walker, co-founder of The Mar Vista and The MV Grab and Go, is taking a 7,750-square-foot mixed-use space at the corner of Olive and 9th Street and launching The Art Room, an imaginative, day-to-night cafe and creative space with an elevated fast-casual dining concept and art gallery. The hub intends to address the labor shortage by replacing the restaurant industry’s notoriously toxic work culture with a model that provides staff with the opportunity to work a variety of positions and limits each single shift to six hours. Most of the staff coming to The Art Room has been with Walker since graduating from his culinary training program at the St. Joseph’s Center.
West Hollywood Opening date: Early March Launching within LA’s upcoming members-only fitness club HEIMAT is Mother Tongue, a first-of-its-kind concept from celebrated restaurateur and chef Michael Mina and the MINA Group. The restaurant will feature international dishes with meticulously sourced, clean ingredients for a flavorful, plant-forward menu, alongside a full bar program that celebrates natural wines, low ABV and spirit-free cocktails, plus a “gazoz” cart filled with the refreshing sparkling sodas that hail from Israel. The restaurant is designed by Martin Brudnizki and unlike other services at HEIMAT which are members-only, will be open to the general public.
Three new restaurants from chef José Andrés
Downtown LA Opening dates: Winter/Spring Celebrity chef José Andrés is returning to LA with not just one, but three brand-new restaurants that will be housed in the Frank Gehry-designed, mixed-use development complex The Grand LA and Conrad Los Angeles hotel. Conrad Los Angeles marks the contemporary luxury brand’s California debut and will launch two concepts from Andrés’ ThinkFoodGroup (TFG) in winter and spring 2022, including an open-air rooftop destination on the 10th floor arrival lobby with a Latin- and Asian-inspired menu, as well as another 10th floor restaurant that will highlight classic Spanish flavors alongside market-fresh ingredients, with a dedicated lobby bar that showcases popular West Coast spirits and flavors like agave and sours. Later this year, Andrés will open Bazaar Meat by José Andrés as a stand-alone restaurant in The Grand LA, bringing his beloved signature restaurant back to the city where it first debuted in 2008.
Belmont Shore Opening date: Spring One of Naples’ most historic pizzerias (famously known as the pizza place from Eat Pray Love) is opening a new location in Long Beach’s Belmont Shore neighborhood this spring. L’antica Pizzeria da Michele first crossed the pond in 2019, landing in a spacious location in Hollywood, and their new Long Beach property promises to be just as impressive with an 8,000-square-foot “Italian Village” that radiates a resort-like vibe and will house Antica Pizzeria as well as the first-ever Antica Café. Expect the same shipped-next-day Italian ingredients and dishes on the Belmont Shore menu, including hand-pulled pastas and crispy, fluffy pies, plus craft cocktails and Italian wines. Both spots will share a peaceful al-fresco courtyard that sits in the middle of the establishment.
Santa Monica Opening date: Spring/summer The classic, century-old Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows will debut a new bar salon with Georgina’s, named after Georgina Jones, the wife of the hotel’s original founder, who also planted the 80-foot-tall fig tree that stretches across the hotel’s entryway. The concept will feature an elevated and intimate atmosphere complete with an oceanfront terrace and bar, high tea service during the day, and cocktail service and a champagne bar paired with a sushi menu from chef Masa Shimakawa of Soko at night.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.