Nearly two decades after the Frank Gehry-designed Disney Hall opened in Downtown Los Angeles, the eye-catching edifice has welcomed a sibling across the street with the Grand L.A. The Gehry-designed Grand includes luxury apartments, the Conrad Los Angeles hotel and a clutch of drinking and dining concepts from José Andrés, including San Laurel, Agua Viva and later this year, a branch of the Bazaar Meat steakhouse.
Andrés, who closed L.A.’s Bazaar in 2020, continues to rack up headlines for his humanitarian work feeding disaster victims, while simultaneously overseeing a global restaurant empire. His plan to open in downtown L.A. has been gestating more more than 10 years, says Sam Bakhshandehpour, president of Andrés’ ThinkFoodGroup. “I love the fact that we could drive traffic to a part of downtown L.A. that frankly needed a little more love,” says Bakhshandehpour. “It’s something José has done time and time again.”
He calls San Laurel’s California-meets-Spain cuisine “an elevated experience” with flavor profiles that are a lot more bold, inviting and rich. “We took advantage of all the incredible produce that’s available and created a menu that could provide that experience, leading with sustainability, California farmers and then putting that touch of Spain that José does so well on top of it.” That means dishes like a bone-in Wagyu Blackhawk Farms rib-eye, celeriac carpaccio with noisette butter, and Andrés’ famous tomato tartare. The California influence means most dishes are light and delicate, like the refreshing Ajo Blanco chilled soup with crabmeat, a perfectly grilled piece of striped bass with mussel-saffron sauce or roasted beet salad with orange and almonds.
San Laurel’s breezy terrace has a stellar view of Disney Hall, so try to book at sundown for maximum effect. To drink, try the Spanish favorite of Gin & Tonic with St. Germain and ginger, or go alcohol-free with a spicy Firefly or refreshing Emerald Coin.
Across the 10th floor hotel lobby from San Laurel, Agua Viva is an outdoor restaurant with views of the mountains and a beachy vibe that incorporate lobster rolls, do-it-yourself hand rolls and coconut ceviche. “There’s a lot of excitement around having the L.A. Philharmonic across the street,” Bakhshandehpour says. “We’re not taking our role in this location lightly. We want to try and shed light on the idea that you can use food as a weapon for change, and use food as a tool to bring people together, and this is really going to be the hub of those experiences.” 100 S. Grand Ave., Los Angeles
The Hideaway in Beverly Hills Channels 1970s Baja
The historic Luau restaurant in Beverly Hills may be long gone, but in the same place inside the Rodeo Collection stands The Hideaway. With investors including Ryan Phillippe and Evan Ross, the cozy spot channels a 1970s Baja California steakhouse. Whole fish and Alaskan king crab share the menu with a variety of steaks and Mexican appetizers, while Julian Cox designed the agave-heavy cocktail menu. 421 N. Rodeo Dr., Beverly Hills