Angler Is L.A.’s Major New Seafood Destination

San Francisco transplant Angler is set to make a major splash in Los Angeles, as Joshua Skenes’ innovative seafood-focused restaurant opens in the somewhat unlikely location of the Beverly Center. Angler is the latest and the most ambitious restaurant to join a fresh crop of spots, including Cal Mare and Yardbird, on the recently refurbished ground floor.

Diners will forget they’re in a mall once inside Angler’s luxurious yet relaxed northern fishing lodge setting, with stuffed marlins above the bar, a large aquarium previewing the catch of the day, and a bounty of flowers and fruits decorating the wood-burning hearth. Blankets on the backs of chairs and cushy sofas in the lounge area add to the cozy rustic ambiance, while the Psychedelic Furs and Dexy’s Midnight Runners liven up the new wave soundtrack.

It’s unlike any other restaurant in the city, and Skenes acknowledges that serving L.A. customers can be quite different than in San Francisco. “It’s very different in the details and similar in the underlying ethos. L.A. is its own market. The people want what they want here, and I have tried very hard to be aware of that in not only the menus but also the environment and the style of service,” he says.

The menu changes nearly every day, and Skenes, who earned three Michelin stars at San Francisco’s tasting menu-oriented Saison, is taking a more elemental approach at Angler, where smoking and aging techniques take center stage. The vegetable dishes also make use of fire and embers for complex preparations involving beets, mushrooms, artichokes — and a showstopper Hasselback potato with Taleggio cheese sauce.

Every detail is carefully chosen: The table gets a set of condiments in varied containers: a silver octopus shaker holds smoked salt, while pickled peppers rest in a crystal dish alongside a cruet of house-made hot sauce. The octopus motif continues to bowls decorating the bar and the restroom tissue holder. Cocktails like a Watermelon Spritz or a White Russian made with sherry and ember-infused cream are playful, yet carefully constructed. A hefty wine list, which makes use of Saison’s massive collection, runs more than 100 pages, packed with French burgundies that ascend to stratospheric prices, as well as plenty of more affordable options.

Each item at Angler is presented in its own unique vessel, adding to the distinctive character of the dishes. Delicate Pacific ruby fish rests on matching flowered pink china, while big eye tuna fills a cut glass plate that mirrors its crystal-like tomato jelly topping. Other unexpected presentations include a large head of radicchio with radicchio X.O. sauce, a sweet and savory dressing with shallots and garlic that play up the caramelization of the grilled vegetable, for which the server provides a bib to catch any errant beet juice. Smoky flavors — Skenes really likes embers — reappear in the toast with embered bread sauce topped with thick slices of black truffles.

While the vegetable preparations can be elaborate, seafood and meats are presented more simply — some plucked out of the aquarium just before they’re cooked, others raw like the oysters and clams. With less-common live seafood choices like abalone, king crab, box crab, purple sea urchin, Pacific sheepshead and starry flounder, Skenes tries to source as much as possible from California waters, which Skenes says is not easy given the present wholesale system.

“We need more localized, more direct sourcing from the fisherman themselves — which means higher quality,” he explains. But Skenes says that since he has been working directly with fisherman for 10 years on procuring live sea-life, “at this point it is much easier for us.”

Free-range antelope is served as a tartare with lettuce leaves and herbs to wrap it, Vietnamese style, or as a T-bone that should satisfy the Keto diet crowd, while a whole pastured chicken has a burnished skin like a Peking duck.

Desserts include a basket of jewel-like fresh fruits, a soft-serve sundae with very salty caramel and a chocolate and hazelnut budino-like custard served in a cocoa pod and covered with nibs.

After visiting the city for years, Skenes is ready to settle in. “I love the diversity, the people, the products. I’m going to stay here for a good portion of the years to come,” he predicts.

So will Angelenos turn out for antelope prepared two different ways, elk and wild boar, not to mention sea cucumbers and salt and pepper scorpion fish?  “In California, people are willing to try just about anything,” Skenes says.

Popular on Variety

More Scene

  • Anne Hathaway Modern Love

    Anne Hathaway Talks Mental Health Awareness, Playing a Bipolar Woman on Amazon's 'Modern Love'

    In Amazon Prime’s upcoming “Modern Love,” Anne Hathaway sheds light on an important facet of living with mental health issues, playing a bipolar woman who struggles with dating. “We’re all becoming more sensitive, wiser and more cognizant of gentility, and especially emotional gentility. I think those conversations are starting to happen. And I think the desire [...]

  • Margot Robbie, Nicole Kidman, Charlize Theron.

    Charlize Theron Could Win Second Oscar for Playing Megyn Kelly in 'Bombshell'

    Charlize Theron walked on stage before a screening of “Bombshell” at West Hollywood’s Pacific Design Center on Sunday night and announced to the crowd, “I’m about to s— myself.” The Oscar winner had good reason to be nervous. The screening of the Jay Roach-directed drama about the fall of Fox News boss Roger Ailes was [...]

  • Charlize Theron speaks at the GEANCO

    Charlize Theron Talks 'White Privilege,' Growing Up During Apartheid in South Africa

    Charlize Theron, during an onstage discussion with her “Gringo” costar David Oyelowo about philanthropy at Thursday’s annual fundraiser for Nigerian children’s educational and health program GEANCO, said she was a beneficiary of “white privilege” while growing up in Apartheid-torn South Africa. “I obviously am a white person who benefited from my white privilege,” Theron said [...]

  • Lyliana Wray, Sam Ashe Arnold, Miya

    ‘Are You Afraid of the Dark’ Revival Team on Living Up to the Series’ Legacy

    The 2019 revival of “Are You Afraid of the Dark?” centers around the Carnival of Doom, a place that star Jeremy Ray Taylor (“It Chapter Two”) describes as “beautiful on the outside, but…in the middle of it, there are definitely dark secrets. Variety caught up with the young star during a carnival-themed celebration at Row DTLA [...]

  • Charlize Theron'The Addams Family' film premiere,

    Charlize Theron Speaks Immigration, Diversity in ‘The Addams Family’

    They’re creepy, they’re kooky, and they’re an allegory for immigration in America.  Charlize Theron discussed the changing face of the nuclear family and her animated film, “The Addams Family,” with Variety at the movie’s recent premiere at the Century City Mall in Los Angeles. “When you think of [the Addams] being around since the sixties, [...]

  • Emma Stone attends the Los Angeles

    Emma Stone Talks 'Cruella' Transformation, New 'Zombieland' Sequel

    Despite inevitable comparisons to Glenn Close’s iconic turn as Cruella de Vil in 1996’s “101 Dalmatians,” Emma Stone teased that her take on the infamous villain in the upcoming “Cruella” movie will be very distinctive. “It comes long before her story,” Stone told Variety at the premiere of “Zombieland: Double Tap” at the Regency Village [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content