12 Kitchen & Italian Eatery’s Gnocchi with creamy gorgonzola sauce (Photo Paige Petrone)


  • Story / Photo By PAIGE PETRONE

Open for a few weeks without fanfare, 12 Kitchen & Italian Eatery will officially open the first week of August. Located on the corner of Washington Boulevard at Venice Beach Pier, 12 offers up fine Italian dining to its local beach community. Newly renovated and taken over by Mercede Ahrablou, owner of Mercede’s Grille (located next door and celebrating 25 years!), this place is completely transformed and feels very inviting and quite chic.The style of food is Mercede’s take on California-inspired Italian cuisine. The menu offers light appetizers and salads, original pastas, and grilled fish and steak complete with house made tiramisu and cannoli. All can be paired with any of the refined wine choices.

On my recent visit, we sampled the Gnocchi with a decadent creamy gorgonzola cheese sauce. Yum! Then we had the Chicken Pesto Linguine with balsamic grapes. Sweet, tangy, and delicious. We also shared the Branzino Filet, which was really lovely with lemon and fresh herbs and topped with toasted garlic. We finished with a lighter and crispy (yes, crispy!) take on Tiramisu. Very nice. 

A must have is the Straciatella Burrata & Tropical Bruschetta with cherry tomato and sweet mango! Open daily. I suggest going around sunset and to enjoy a lively Happy Hour while enjoying your bruschetta and wine. Go!

For menu and reservations, click here.

Velverie Café and Teahouse in Beverly Hills



It’s teatime in Beverly Hills! I happen to work across the street from Velverie and have been watching the progress of the beautiful build-out and I’m so excited that they’ve opened their doors! This Euro Cafe and teahouse is dripping with elegance and style with its vintage inspired tea sets, velvet furniture, and chandelier showpiece. Owner Chloe has created a truly lovely space with fine attention to detail.  

Brunch is served all day with breakfast offerings like a Parfait with house made granola (my favorite), a Petit Pot of poached egg, bacon and French ham, and cheesy potatoes served in a glass jar, Creme Brulé French Toast or a Croque Madame with truffle butter and French ham, to name just a few. Also offered are salads, divine sandwiches like Prosciutto and Burrata, Provencal Tuna Tartine, and the Velverie Burger featuring Creekstone Farms Beef and gruyere confit garlic aioli. 

You must, of course, try some of their Loose-Leaf Teas … I’m a big fan of the Sea Cloud and Van Van Botanical varieties. For a real treat, bring your bestie to enjoy a proper Afternoon Tea, served daily from 2-5pm. Catch up over Tea Sandwiches and Pastries or Canapes and Caviar. Close out the afternoon with an artisanal cocktail such as the Ninth Husband or The Great Escape. Open seven days from 9am-5pm.

For details, click here.

Alma at The Grove


  • By Arlene Winnick

The Grove is a favorite destination of Angelenos and tourists alike whether you want to shop, stroll or explore the always fun original Farmer’s Market.  Now there’s a new reason with the opening of ALMA Cocina de Mexico.  The keyword for ALMA is authenticity – from the ingredients in both the food and drinks to the décor and atmosphere. 

ALMA is actually two restaurants:  on the ground floor there’s a casual taqueria and cocktail bar.  It’s the perfect lively gathering place.  There are 15+ styles of tacos — order the Tacos de Barbaccoa or the Trompos Al Pastor.  The house guacamole is a must served with pork rinds.   The bar boasts 100+ types of tequila and mescal plus there’s a huge list of creative cocktails (and non-alcoholic drinks).  It’s people watching at its finest with a great view of the popular Grove fountain. 

Upstairs you’ll step into a more formal dining room celebrating Mexico’s rich culinary and artistic history.  This is the perfect place to try something new…and a bit exotic.  Seafood rules with a wide section of fish and shrimp dishes all expertly prepared in savory sauces.  Want to splurge? order the 20 oz. Langosta Ensanada.   If you’re a mole fan, the Pollo con Mole Polblano is outstanding.  I really enjoyed the Albóndigas de Res – beef meatballs in chipotle sauce.  End your feast with the traditional Pastel de Tres Leches.

For more details, click here.

Castaway Restaurant in Burbank

Castaway Burbank

  • By Kymberly Chase

This iconic golf course-adjacent hilltop restaurant built in 1963 hearkens back to the old Burbank studio days, where Bob Hope could be spotted at the bar. After a $10 million renovation in 2018 it has become one of the most magical spaces around, with panoramic views of the valley, downtown, and the Hollywood Hills — particularly grand at sunset. But the best spot is on the wraparound patio; it’s casual and includes spacious circular booths and seating with fire pits right at the edge of the cliff. 

The focus here is steak, but you can easily graze through a day of dining on the patio with bites from the cheese and charcuterie bar, share a seafood platter, devour the amazing caviar frites with Petrosian caviar, vodka crème fraiche, and crispy Yukon Gold fries. Enjoy the delicious crispy whole snapper with coconut orzo, arugula, and grilled corn salad with roasted jalapeño lime dressing. But if you walk by the meat shrine of a dry-aging room, you’ll be quite tempted to try some of the beef cuts. Go big with a giant premium Black Angus tomahawk steak from Creekstone Farms in Kansas and pair it with the roasted cauliflower, turned out in a creamy sauce with hazelnuts and cinnamon scented currants. Amazing view, romantic, delicious, and memorable!

For details, click here.