Lionel Richie was one of the celebrities seen dining at just-opened eatery Olivetta on Melrose Boulevard in early January. Created by restaurateurs Matt and Marissa Hermer, the team behind Pacific Palisades’ brasserie, the Draycott, Olivetta features a coastal European menu offering up such Mediterranean classics as grilled Spanish octopus with baby carrots garnished in pistachio and feta and grilled branzino made with green herbs and lemon. But what makes the 150-seat bungalow, designed by Tom Parker, so special is not what’s in its food, but what’s not: the dishes are simple, savory and oozing with citrus flavor. The simply shaved fennel salad (with lemon, parmesan, black pepper and olive oil) and mixed baby green salad (tossed with soft herbs and lemon vinaigrette) taste like plant-based heaven.

And this was exactly the goal of Michael Fiorelli, Olivetta’s executive chef.

“When I was tasting through the Olivetta menu, rather than asking myself, ‘What does this need?’ I found myself asking, ‘What can I take away?’ ‘What small change can I make to really allow the product stand out?'” he says. “Through this process I found myself reducing the dishes to two or three components. Cooking simply like this is not always as easy as it sounds. With Minimal ingredients on a plate, there’s nowhere for imperfection to hide. It’s about sourcing the best possible product at its height of seasonality and just handling it properly and respectfully”

“Our green salad is just local greens, soft herbs, lemon juice, sea salt and olive oil,” Fiorelli continues. “It’s one of my favorite things on the menu. It’s not about more is more. It’s about perfect is perfect and knowing when to show restraint.”

For reservations contact Olivetta.la