From star-studded celebrity chef openings to ambitious hotel restaurants, Los Angeles is kicking off 2022 with promising new places to check out as everyone emerges from a second pandemic winter. With restaurant dining back in full force, it’s time to get to know the newest hotspots in town.
Tatel Beverly Hills (Beverly Hills)
Cristiano Ronaldo, Rafael Nadal, and Pau Gasol are just a few of the superstar investors at this opulent contemporary Spanish restaurant. The Tatel restaurant group already has locations in Madrid and Ibiza. At the Beverly Hills edition, which opened in the fall, the wraparound red leather booths and nightly live flamenco and jazz performances bring a vibrant taste of the Mediterranean to California. Simply prepared seafood and meats shine, with options such as whole-grilled Spanish turbot for two, whole-roasted Cornish hen with a peri-peri crust, and decadent veal Milanese topped with a soft poached egg and fresh shaved truffle. Seafood paella is a favorite to share among friends, while those with lighter appetites can snack on Ibérico ham and Spanish deep-sea prawns. The outdoor patio has quickly become a hotspot for people watching and late-night cocktails.
Caldo Verde (Downtown)
A.O.C. chef Suzanne Goin and restaurateur Caroline Styne are one of the city’s most iconic culinary duos (with a James Beard Award to boast), and Caldo Verde marks exciting new territory for them as their first hotel project. Tucked in the Proper Hotel Downtown Los Angeles, the lobby-level Portuguese and Spanish restaurant and bar exudes a modernist Mexican vibe — succulents line the large windows and textured clay tiles deck the walls — courtesy of celebrity designer Kelly Wearstler. The menu features boule from A.O.C. that’s perfect for soaking up the namesake caldo verde, a hearty Portuguese stew full of local rock crab, grilled linguiça sausage, kale, and mussels. Charred chanterelle and maitake mushrooms over pillowy polenta and prawns with arbol chile and salsa verde are more must-order dishes. The all-day menu is equally good, making Caldo Verde — already named a best new restaurant by Los Angeles Magazine — a worthy choice for a downtown power lunch.
Caboco (Arts District)
LA’s first modern Brazilian restaurant and caipirinha bar, which opened doors in September, introduces Angelenos to a world of delicious Amazon-inspired ingredients. Menu highlights here include garlicky yucca fries, mocofava lima bean stew with calves feet, and steak tartare served alongside beet-infused tapioca crepes instead of the typical crackers. Caboco is a partnership between Brazilian chefs Rodrigo Oliveira and Victor Vasconcellos in the vibrant Arts District, and many of the knowledgeable servers and cooks here are also Brazilian, eager to share their culture and cuisine. The vibe is animated and inclusive, with cocktail-friendly small bites and generously portioned entrees. Vegans will adore the moqueca stew with cashew fruit, plantain, and hearts of palm.
Sugar Palm Ocean Avenue (Santa Monica)
The colorful new indoor-outdoor restaurant at the Viceroy Santa Monica, which began service in fall 2021, is open daily for brunch and dinner, with poolside cabana dining for up to eight guests. Chef Jason Francisco’s eclectic menu draws on international flavors, from vegan cauliflower tikka masala and Thai curry risotto with wild mushrooms to an excellent raw bar featuring the best line-caught Californian seafood. Fresh and fruity cocktails feature house-made syrups and juices with a focus on agave spirits, reflecting food and beverage director Mario Leal-Cruz Jr.’s Mexican heritage. Brunch highlights include extra-fluffy frittatas, duck confit chilaquiles, and chicken and waffles.
After making her splashy LA debut with Girl & The Goat in the Arts District last year, Top Chef winner Stephanie Izard is back with a second location of Peruvian-inspired Cabra on the rooftop of The Hoxton, Downtown LA. The restaurant serves familiar items from the original Chicago location, such as Izard’s addictive avocado dip, cheesy choclo corn, and the very shareable chicharrón del puerco, a skin-on fatty pork shank dressed with a mess of vibrant sauces and sides. There will also be exclusive new West Coast additions, including sweet and sour whole branzino and a sunshower tonic cocktail with cilantro rum and pickled green mango syrup. Expect plenty of Izard sightings in the kitchen during these first few months.
Tokyo-based chef Yoshiyuki Okuno is partnering with 2019 James Beard Award-winning chef Tony Messina of Uni in Boston and chef Enrico Merendino for this 183-seat Japanese Italian restaurant, poised for an early March opening. The menu is all about Italian food prepared with Japanese flair, an impressive cultural double play that surfaces in dishes such as freshly made yuzu tagliatelle pasta with uni and crab, served in a crab shell, as well as gnocco fritto draped with mortadella and nashi pear. Expect craft cocktails and an extensive Italian wine list. The space is casual but modern, with Italian wall tiles, light ash wood lattice, and a long, suspended tubular light, reminiscent of Japanese paper lanterns.
Tried them all? Check out other options here.