While fall in L.A. may not have the crisp weather or brilliant foliage found in other cities, it does bring with it an onslaught of buzzy new openings. From craft whiskey cocktails in Santa Monica to SUGARFISH-approved hand rolls in DTLA, Charlotte Steinway rounds up the 10 launches you need to know about this fall
From the sushi chef behind cult favorite SUGARFISH comes KazuNori, the casual new Downtown space devoted entirely to the art of the hand roll. Choose one of three set menus (of three, four or five rolls, from $10.50 to $17.50), all of which are made with housemade sauces and chef Kazunori Nozawa’s signature warm rice. All sets come with the hand roll of the day (either toro or yellowtail), a bay scallop roll and the brand’s famous blue crab hand roll.
The NICE GUY
The NICE GUY is the first restaurant from the nightlife-heavy h.wood group, who are responsible for L.A. and Santa Monica hot spots Bootsy Bellows, Hooray Henry’s and Shorebar. The space features dark, clubby decor reminiscent of a ’70s mafia hangout. The menu features all of L.A.’s favorite sides — black Tuscan kale chips, roasted cauliflower and Brussels sprouts — plus inventive takes on Italian staples like chicken parm wings and a squash blossom and chorizo pizza.
Salt & Straw
Portland ice cream transplant Salt & Straw just opened its first L.A. outpost on Hancock Park’s tony Larchmont Boulevard, living up to its ever-so-Portland credo of using small-batch techniques, all-natural dairy and the “best local, sustainable and organic ingredients” the community has to offer. But the L.A. menu is as Angeleno as it gets; think flavor options from avocado and strawberry sherbet to Santa Ynez walnut oil, plus Portland’s favorite: almond brittle with salted ganache. Make sure to splurge on the waffle cone; this may be a fro-yo town, but ice cream requires certain caloric sacrifices.
Image by Leela Cyd
Opening its first flagship store in the heart of Sunset Boulevard was only fitting for Wildfox, one of the most quintessential L.A. brands. Originally known for vintage-inspired graphic tees and sweats, Wildfox has since expanded into denim, sunglasses and kids clothes, all of which the new store will carry. Like the brand, the space is high-gloss, with mirrored display cases and silver and gold lamé furnishings. Be sure to sneak a peek at the back patio, which features a Hollywood Regency–style cabana and sitting area.
Cocktail gurus Julian Cox and Josh Goldman (of the Soigné Group) shook up the burgeoning Santa Monica cocktail scene this August with the opening of Brilliantshine, a craft cocktail bar and small plates eatery on Wilshire. Many of the drinks are whiskey-based (we love the Rye n’ Goslings, made from Knob Creek and Goslings 151), the draughts are Californian, the ginger beer is housemade, and the rustic indoor-outdoor space lends itself to date nights, group gatherings and even Sunday brunches.
Image by Andy Keilen
Set in a second-floor roof deck space resembling a greenhouse, Commissary is the Line Hotel’s newest vegetable-focused food and beverage venture. And while the Roy Choi–helmed restaurant isn't strictly vegetarian — the menu offers hearty proteins like steak and schnitzel — it certainly is heavy on the produce, even down to the cocktail menu, which features drinks infused with cucumber, Japanese shisho leaf and rhubarb. The menu itself is laid out “choose your own adventure” style: Diners are required to match ingredients with a “seasonal preparation” plus five sauce choices.
Image by Audrey Ma
DusitD2 Constance Hotel
Thai hotel chain Dusit chose downtown Pasadena as the location of its first U.S. venture, DusitD2 Constance Pasadena Hotel. Located at the entrance of the South Lake Avenue shopping center, the hotel originally opened in 1926 as the Constance. The 136-room property’s contemporary design complements its modern amenities: in-room iPads that serve as a virtual concierge, small plates of farmers market Asian fare at D2 restaurant, and, come 2016, 25 new club level guestrooms plus a rooftop pool and fitness center.
Earlier this year West 3rd’s iconic AOC moved its operation a few blocks west, making room for an equally buzzy new restaurant. Cue Pistola, the modern Italian take on a midcentury New York steakhouse. The highly anticipated project comes from Chef Vic Casanova and GM Seth Glassman, formerly of BOA steakhouse, the restaurant that put L.A.’s meat-minded cuisine on the map.
L.A. residents have always had to wait when it comes to big name brands coming in from overseas — or travel to New York for a sneak peek. First it was H&M, then Topshop, and now it’s Uniqlo the city has been waiting for. The wildly successful Japanese knitwear and denim brand will open four SoCal locations this fall, in some of the area’s biggest malls: South Coast Plaza, Northridge Fashion Center, Glendale Galleria and, perhaps the most anticipated, the Beverly Center. The openings come just in time for Angelenos to shop the brand’s covetable +J collection by Jil Sander, which Uniqlo is reissuing pieces from this fall.
From its beginnings in Paris under the aesthetic guidance of design maven Philippe Starck, Mama Shelter has since become one of Europe’s premier boutique hotel brands thanks to sleek yet quirky design touches, rotating DJ sets, and locally beloved restaurants at the chain’s five locations. The Hollywood outpost will be Mama Shelter’s first U.S. outpost, set to open at the end of this year in a renovated 1920s hotel rumored to have hosted both Ava Gardner and Jimi Hendrix. For now, we know there will be 70 guestrooms, two restaurants and bars, and a killer rooftop — and if it’s anything like the other Mamas, expect free WiFi, pet-friendly rooms and complimentary in-room movies.