It's hard to keep up with all the restaurant and bar openings, closings, chef swaps and revamps that happen every day in this city. What's worth spending your money on and what's all just hype? We're here to help you out with that. At the end of each month, I'll give a recap of the most exciting additions to enter LA's dining and drinking scene, whether it's a new ice cream shop or a creative cocktail bar. Here are a few September openings that are worth a visit.
Did you miss our favorite openings from August? Check out the list from last month.
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Barcito is an Argentine bar serving cocktails, wine, beer and small plates. Tucked into the former ChocoChicken space, it's a considerable upgrade from the previous tenant (we could never really get behind white chocolate mashed potatoes). Here you'll find polenta, empanadas baked in-house, and beverage director Angel Meza's five rotating cocktails on draft, like Fancy Free (bourbon, maraschino liqueur and bitters) or Yerba Brava (yerba mate, vodka, lemon-honey and mint).
This just might be the most exciting opening of the year. After four years and more than $10 million in renovations, Clifton's Cafeteria has reopened, bringing back a beloved institution that was once a landmark of Downtown's bustling Broadway. New owner Andrew Meieran has filled the five floors with intricate detail, from vignettes of famous LA sites to taxidermy to a massive tree that shoots up through the building. The first floor cafeteria offers plates of comfort food and that famous Jell-O, while the floors above include multiple bars (including a tiki bar!) and dining nooks. Here are five other things to look out for.
Everson Royce Bar—also known as E.R.B.—is upping the Arts District's cocktail game with expertly crafted drinks and a twinkling patio for imbibing. Owned by Randy Clement (Silver Lake Wine) and Matt Molina (Osteria Mozza), E.R.B. draws on the background of both, offering stellar drinks and small bites to enjoy inside the sexy space or on the outdoor patio.
With a design inspired by transcontinental train travel, Gardner Junction pays tribute to 1930's train culture with shiny, copper fixtures and booths that are cozy enough for a cross-country trip. Chef Steve Brown switches up the menu every six weeks, visiting the Santa Monica and Hollywood farmers' markets for the freshest ingredients. You'll find dishes like mushroom wheat berry risotto, fried chicken, ceviche and oysters, and brunch-goers can join Brown's Runyon Brunch Club: every Sunday, 50 attendees hike Runyon, followed by a decadent brunch at Gardner Junction.
Ooh la la! Le Petit Paris has planted its French flag Downtown with a massive—and very Parisian—restaurant. From blinged-out chandeliers to a giant mural of the Eiffel Tower on the wall, there's a lot of glitz and glam going on here. Still, it maintains a suave and sophisticated feel, and there's no denying that the space, with a beautiful bar at the top of a sweeping staircase, is stunning. Open for breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner, Le Petit Paris' menu includes a traditional lineup of pastries, omelets, escargots, lobster papardelles and more.
Dubbed “Nuevo Ranchero,” chef Anne Conness branches out of her former digs at Tim Roof Bistro, Simmzy’s and Water Grill to pave her own Mexican-inspired culinary oasis in El Segundo’s Sausal. Interiors boast a modern-meets-rustic hybrid with a dual-sided white brick fireplace and hand-stenciled murals to complement traditional Mexican flavorings with a reimagined twist. From grilled artichoke rellenos to pork pozole over hominy grits to beef and goat birria atop chili broth and cilantro-onion relish, the menu practically begs for a paired margarita. And speaking of cocktails—there’s plenty to savor, like the “Prickly Pear Caipirinha” packed with cachaca, lime cubes, prickly pear and housemade grenadine.
You can call it PCP for short. The Paramount Coffee Project, an Australian-owned coffee shop, has brought flat tops and mezcal salmon salads to Fairfax. It's as suitable for brunch as it is for a quiet espresso, with a menu that includes pork shoulder and fried egg roti—and a Vegemite butterscotch shake. Yup, that's happening.