While we all breathe a sigh of relief that 2016 is behind us, and look with trepidation toward the coming year, there's one thing at least we can look forward to: 2017 is already shaping up to be a pretty thrilling time for Los Angeles restaurant openings. Big names are coming to town from both New York and San Fransisco. Established L.A. chefs are opening new projects. And one of our most talented chefs, who has been absent for a couple of years, is looking to break back onto the scene in a big way. Here are the six openings we're most excited about in 2017.
6. Unnamed Highland Park project from the E.R.B. team
Randy Clement and Matt Molina have created what is basically the perfect neighborhood bar with their Everson Royce Bar in the Arts District downtown, but fans of Molina's cooking at Osteria Mozza have wondered when he'd bring his talent for Italian food back to the forefront. That's exactly what he plans to do at the duo's new Highland Park project, which takes up a large swath of real estate along Figueroa Street. There aren't many details about what exactly Clement and Molina are planning (and there have been rumors about what Clement is bringing to the space for years), but they confirm that it will be "an Italian eatery on Figueroa whose concept is under development." Knowing Clement, who is partner in Silverlake Wine in Silver Lake and downtown, and Everson Royce wine shop in Pasadena, there's likely to be a wine component as well. (Please, Lord, bring a decent wine store to Highland Park. Thank you, amen.)
Chef Daniel Humm and restaurateur Will Guidara are New York City culinary royalty. So the fact that they're bringing the NoMad hotel and restaurant to downtown L.A. is both exciting and interesting. Will a concept that thrills New Yorkers necessarily thrill Angelenos? Is it a replicable experience? Or will it be substantively different? For the time being (the hotel and restaurant are slated to open in the fall), the NoMad truck is making the rounds, doing popup events with some of the city's best chefs and restaurants. So, at the very least, they're starting with a lot of good will. thenomadhotel.com/LosAngeles.
Sotto's Steve Samson has already established himself as one of the city's most valuable purveyors of Italian food, and his new project, located on San Julian Street in the Fashion District downtown, is likely to bolster that reputation even more. Rossoblu, which could open anytime, will be a tribute to the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy, where Samson spent summers as a child with his grandparents. Given the wonderful food Samson has already given L.A., we'd be foolish not to be drooling in anticipation for Rossoblu. rossoblula.com.
3. Tartine Manufactory
Chad Robertson and Liz Prueitt's Tartine Manufactory is to San Francisco what Gjusta plus République is to L.A. It's a bakery, a restaurant, a way of life. Sometime in 2017, the Arts District downtown will get a giant L.A. version of Tartine Manufactory, housing a bakery and ice cream retail component as well as serving casual, counter-service breakfast and lunch and full-service dinner. Again, this is a question of another city's magic and whether that magic will translate in our sprawling oddity of a city, but something tells me that Tartine is going to go over just fine.
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(Bonus! Another San Francisco giant, the Slanted Door, is opening an L.A. location next year in the same Fashion District complex as Rossoblu.)
2. Cosa Buona
Another chef who proved himself in the Sotto kitchen, another exciting Italian opening in the new year. (There really is a LOT of Italian coming down the pike, isn't there?) Zach Pollack, whose Silver Lake restaurant Alimento just keeps getting better, will be opening a more casual joint in the former Pizza Buona space in Echo Park. There will indeed be pizzas at Cosa Buona, as well as Italian-American classics and comfort food. (One wonders if the success of the awesome chicken milanese at Alimento was an inspiration.) It was slated to open in late 2016, so we take that to mean it could come to life any minute. cosabuona.com.
We lost a wonderful part of L.A.'s eating life when chef Evan Funke left Bucato, the Culver City Italian restaurant where he was slinging some of the most beautiful pasta in the city. In 2017, he'll return with Felix, in the old Joe's location on Abbot Kinney in Venice. And he's not pulling any punches: "I want to make this pasta program here the most comprehensive pasta program in the United States," Funke told L.A. Weekly earlier this year. To do that, he's bringing the pasta making right into the dining room, for everyone to see. There's a lot of ambition in this project, and we can't wait to taste it. felixla.com.