2011 Preview: Los Angeles's 10 Most Anticipated New Venues

By Alesandra Dubin January 4, 2011, 11:00 AM EST

Photo: Courtesy of Rosa Mexicano

Look for these new hotels, restaurants, and other venue openings in the coming year.

1. The Los Angeles County Museum of Art has been undergoing what it calls “Transformation,” an ongoing project to expand the museum. The renovation of Lacma West will contain the Boone Children's Gallery, expanded education and gallery space, a restaurant, and special event spaces. The last phase will involve a major renovation of all buildings and galleries in the Lacma East portion of the campus. In the spring, Patina Restaurant Group will open a new restaurant and bar adjacent to the Resnick Pavilion. Designed by Renzo Piano and built by design and architecture firm Gensler, the space will be named Ray’s, after Ray Stark, the late film producer known for Funny Girl and Steel Magnolias. Patina chef and founder Joachim Splichal and the executive chef will design a farm-to-table menu for Ray’s based on seasonal, organic, local ingredients, and the restaurant’s wood-burning oven and grill. There will be a separate bar and lounge named Stark Bar.

2. Tim Goodell will be the executive chef at the new Public Kitchen & Bar, expected to open around March 1 at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel. Goodell will offer his take on signature American dishes in the space that was once the Dakota, completely transforming it. “The world has changed, and consequently we all have changed,” said Goodell in a release. “The goal for Public Kitchen & Bar is to create a scene which will always be social, the food traditional, and the atmosphere eclectic. We’re going to surprise people with this restaurant. There will be a complete transformation of the Dakota space, and we are in the process of testing recipes and creating new dishes.”

3. The new Rolling Stone Restaurant & Lounge at the Hollywood & Highland Center, originally planned for a summer 2010 opening, had its soft opening at the end of the year. Officially opening in early 2011, the venue's 5,900-square-foot upstairs dining room holds 140 guests; there is room for an additional 40 on its patio. There are walnut-hued hardwood floors, 1950s-style leather chairs, tufted red leather banquettes, and a leaded-glass ceiling. Two separate sections provide semiprivate dining for large parties. The venue opening marks the first-ever licensing of the Rolling Stone name for an American restaurant.

4. Mezze, from chef Micah Wexler, has plans for a January opening in the former Sona space. Wexler (of Craft, L'Atelier Robuchon, and Restaurante Martin Berasategui) is joined by general manager Michael Kassar (formerly of Spago Beverly Hills) and business partners Matt Bendik and David Koral. The menu will offer fresh takes on Middle Eastern and Mediterranean food using traditional flavors and spices, as well as California’s freshest local ingredients. There will be hand-painted Moroccan tiles, amber Venetian plaster walls, and ceilings with oversize skylights. The kitchen and chef’s counter will open to the main dining room, where there is a wood-burning oven, and a small private room and patio will offer additional seating.

5. The “Age of Mammals” exhibit at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County in Exposition Park opened to the public in 2010 in the newly restored 1913 museum building, along with two other exhibits. The openings were part of a five-year transformation of the museum. By the museum's centennial in 2013, nearly half of its public spaces will have been renovated, with new amenities such as a café; five new permanent exhibits, including an interactive space and dinosaur hall in 2011; more than three acres of urban nature experiences and exhibits, a pedestrian bridge, and a car park opening in 2011 and 2012; and an exhibition about Southern California’s natural and cultural history opening in 2012.

6. The former Borracho Cantina space at 8570 Sunset Boulevard in West Hollywood will be replaced by the second local outpost of the Mexican eatery chain Rosa Mexicano (the first is at L.A. Live). The venue will have 250 seats. Look for a mid-May opening.

7. Chef David Lentz, who already has locations of the Hungry Cat restaurant in Hollywood and Santa Barbara, will be opening a third location on the Westside in 2011. The restaurant, which has a seafood focus, will take over the former Brass Cap space near Pacific Coast Highway. Expect an opening by February.

8. The iconic, 12-acre Hotel Bel-Air has been closed since 2009 for an extensive refurbishment project that includes the renovation of all 91 rooms and suites, the bar and restaurant, event spaces, and private dining rooms. Additionally, 12 Canyon View guest rooms and suites and a 12,000-square-foot spa will be developed within the hotel’s grounds. Look for a summer reopening after a 22-month closure.

9. Josie Le Balch of Josie has plans to open a new, more casual venue next door, to be known as Next Door @ Josie. There will be a long counter for eating and drinking on the left, and couches and tables on the right. There will be a marble-topped artisan cheese and charcuterie bar and a glass-walled wine room. There will be 30 dining seats, room for 14 at the bar, and six at the charcuterie counter. Look for an opening toward the middle or end of March.

10. This venue's a moving target: In fall 2011, Carnival Cruise Lines will return to the Port of Los Angeles. The 2,124-passenger Carnival Spirit will launch a series of Mexican Riviera trips, marking the first time the line has offered a regular program from the San Pedro cruise terminal in eight years. Carnival's new L.A.-based itineraries will include 12 departures between September 2011 and January 2012, including five- and nine-day cruises. Spirit has a two-level promenade lined with bars, lounges, and nightspots; a 13,500-square-foot spa; and indoor and outdoor promenades and supervised programs for children. Eighty percent of the ship's staterooms offer either a private balcony or an ocean view.

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