Los Angeles may have been shut down for 14 months, but when it opens, it goes all out. Simultaneous media and opening events are causing journalists and guests to double book and fill their calendars like it was 2019. With so much to choose from, we had to be a little picky in our selection of events. And we’re happy to report we made the right decision with two outstanding dining events that took place on the trendier-than-thou west side of Los Angeles.

Bordeaux on the Boardwalk

There is no locale in LA more iconic than Venice Beach. You wouldn’t necessarily imagine a 19th-century winery in the south of France opting for the beachy casual Waterfront Café as the spot to showcase apéritif summer spritz cocktails, but Lillet knew exactly what they were doing, just like their skilled winemakers have been doing since 1872.

With a front-row seat to everything that happens on the boardwalk, The Waterfront is awash in fresh California fare that highlights seasonal ingredients with bright and flavorful recipes. Event guests were guided to the vibrant covered patio, resplendent with verdant palms and pillowed banquettes. Upon seating, we were greeted with the evening’s refreshing signature cocktail, the Lillet Spritz with Lillet Rosé as the star. Created as an ideal picnic, patio, or porch pick-me-up, the fresh and fruit-forward Lillet Rosé features fragrant notes of ripe berries, orange blossom, and grapefruit.

A cruidité with pea and cashew hummus started the appetizer round, followed by a salted pretzel, heirloom tomato, and burratini toast, and rock shrimp with chili and lime aioli, sesame seeds, and nori, and finally, ceviche and Kumai oysters. And after all that, everyone squeezed in some room for organic rotisserie chicken and grass-fed New York steak. All the while, the spritzes kept on coming amid animated conversation, and the thrill of dining out sans fear and feeling like nothing strange happened over the past year.


Sexy Indian

Well-intentioned attempts at drifting from the mom-and-pop Indian restaurant tradition often fall short on the flavor scale. Playing it coy with spices never works, no matter how “mainstream” the desired goal. Newly opened in downtown Culver City, CA, Arth Bar + Kitchen cranks up the heat on spices and keeps the space cool, sleek, and sophisticated.

An engineer by trade, owner Mihir Lad’s genuine passion is food and hospitality. He said out on an unobstructed path to make it happen and paired with internationally acclaimed Chef Sagar Ghosh to bring t to fruition. The result is amped-up traditional dishes and eclectic new creations with explosive bursts of flavor.

The minimalist décor and full bar welcome after work and late-night guests alike, while the high-ceiling dining room and outdoor patio allow diners an intimate, comfortable space for a multi-course meal or work time lunch.