Mexican comfort food
Chef Mario Alberto
When husband-wife duo Josh Loeb and Zoe Nathan (Cassia, Esters, Huckleberry, Molo & Olive, Rustic Canyon) opened Cassia with Chef Bryant Ng in summer 2015, expectations were low. But by the end of the calendar year, Ng’s masterpiece found itself atop many “Best of” lists. Loeb and Nathan have returned to the table, again debuting a new brand on the Westside, the area of Los Angeles the duo know best. Their newest restaurant, Tallula’s (named after their daughter), is nestled within the Rustic Canyon neighborhood of Santa Monica and offers visitors simple and refined comfortable Mexican fare.
Chef Mario Alberto uses fresh, organic, and sustainable ingredients, many of which are sourced from the nearby Santa Monica Farmers’ Market. This produce, along with sustainably sourced seafood, gives rise to a menu whose highlights include grilled market fish tacos, lamb barbacoa, and heritage turkey tacos.
As with their other properties, Tallula’s encourages diners to imbibe throughout their stay. The restaurant boasts an extensive wine list, featuring wines from all over the world. Kathryn Coker, who oversees wine for the entire Rustic Canyon Family of restaurants, curated the list ensuring the tastes of the menu and the wine come together from the first sip.
Laurel Almerinda and Nathan (the baker extraordinaire behind Rustic Canyon’s delicious delectables) worked together to concoct a whimsical and authentic dessert menu including staples such as pan dulce and tres leches cake.
Neapolitan style pizzeria
Chef Daniele Uditi
Pizza lovers from Pasadena to the South Bay can thank Candace & Charles Nelson – husband and wife power couple behind Sprinkles – for Pizzana, the newest Brentwood hot spot you don’t want to miss. The Nelson’s partnered with Chris O’Donnell (Scent of a Woman) and his wife Caroline, bringing a passion for Italy’s finest ingredients and classic recipes to the table. Pizzana demonstrates a whimsical adoration for the Naples region while masterfully utilizing science in some of the city’s finest bread baking.
Pizzana head chef Daniele Uditi reimagines Neapolitan pizza, allowing his dough to ferment for a full 48 hours before adding consciously sourced San Marzano tomatoes grown exclusively for Pizzana in the Neapolitan countryside.
The menu boasts a long list of specialty pies (all of which can be prepared with a gluten-free crust) whose toppings range from truffle to cilantro and zucchini blossom to crispy prosciutto crudo while also offering refreshing salads (perfect for summer) and a selection of antipasti that spotlight specific ingredients, letting them shine on the plate such as polpette al forno (wood-fired meatballs) and carciofi arrostiti (charred artichokes).
During dinner, guests are encouraged to imbibe on Amanda Crawford’s curation of wine and beer produced by small Italian and California craftsman and indulge in the Candace Nelson-driven dessert menu, where she has debuted a Neapolitan ice cream terrine alongside Italian-inspired sweets such as salted caramel panna cotta.
Reimagined Middle Eastern flavors
Chefs Sara Kramer and Sarah Hymanson
Newly minted members of Food and Wine’s 2017 Best New Chefs list Sara Kramer and Sarah Hymanson bring one of Los Angeles’ most satisfying culinary destinations to life in Kismet. Though nestled in Los Feliz, this restaurant is undoubtedly worth drive time. The minimalist and quaint interior is home to one of the city’s finest Middle Eastern restaurants and one of the few places you can order rabbit for two – a feast that can definitely serve more than two, as it comes with flakey bread, roasted legs sprinkled with sesame seeds, a stew with the braised meat, and green garnishes that are possibly too pretty to eat.
Throughout the menu, Hymanson and Kramer pay homage to traditional Middle Eastern flavors (for three meals a day, mind you) while utilizing the freshness of California market ingredients. The perfect accompaniment for any dish, especially the rabbit feast, is the jeweled crispy rice with egg yolk and a sprinkling of pepitas and currants. These two dishes alone make for the perfect meal at Kismet, especially when washed down with the rose-lemonade
Dinner and drinks
Chef Rudy P. Lopez
The newest venue opened by previous CSQ Visionaries John Terzian and Brian Toll, Delilah offers a previously underserved trio – dining, craft cocktails, and after dinner entertainment. Paying homage to the Roaring ’20s, Delilah follows in the shoes of her predecessor – The Nice Guy – bringing a space to life and seemingly whisking you away from the city.
Head Chef Rudy P. Lopez oversees a menu whose standouts include baby back ribs, filet mignon, Truffle mac n’ cheese (because why not), and possibly the menu’s most infamous item – Kendall’s Slutty Brownie. The cocktails were envisioned by The h.wood Group’s F&B wizard Adam Koral and are brought to life by master mixologist Matt Seigel. We suggest the Pink Pussycat or the Loca Loni and no matter what, order a bottle of champagne after dinner and stay for the show.