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Memories of the Columbia Bar & Grill become increasingly distant with each successive new restaurant that occupies the building at the southeast corner of Sunset and Gower. Sort of like thinking back to the Harry Cohn era of Columbia Pictures during the studio's -- and the establishment's former namesake -- Coca-Cola years. The Patina Group's Pinot Hollywood and eat. on sunset gave the space a go but couldn't make the magic happen, and starting this past Tuesday, La Vida Restaurant and Lounge tries to inject some, er, life into the spot. Maybe using the two hospitality categories that have firmly supplanted the "bar and grill" titles preferred in the 80s and 90s will make a difference.
Sunset Entertainment Group (Pig N' Whistle, Cabana Club) has chosen Southern Spain as the inspirational jumping off point for decor by Touster Wright Design and California-Spanish eclectic lunch, happy hour, dinner, and late night menus by Executive Chef Joseph Panarello (formerly of Rivera). Specialties include baked black cod with verde sauce and Serrano ham, crispy squid with aji amarillo chile aioli, heirloom tomatoes with burrata and curried eggplant, black bean brushed quail, champagne braised branzino, various paellas, and anchiote rubbed Kurobuta pig steak with braised raisins.
Plus mixologist Pablo Moix's cocktails are also available at La Vida, perhaps more easily so than his creations served a few blocks east at the speakeasy-style rum wonderland, La Descarga. La Vida serves lunch from 11:30 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, dinner 5 p.m.-10 p.m., Tuesday and Wednesday and 5 p.m.-11 p.m. Thursday through Saturday. Happy Hour is from 5 p.m.-7 p.m., Tuesday-Friday, and late night menu is available 10 p.m-midnight, Thursday through Saturday.
La Vida: 1448 Gower St., Hollywood; (323) 962-0880.