When I learned that not one but FOUR new Jose´ Andre´s spots were opening in Downtown LA, I knew exactly where I was going to be – sitting out on a rooftop trying new cocktails, savoring delicious bites, and soaking in the dynamic experiences of Grand Avenue.
Grand Avenue is the hub of arts, culture, and dining on Bunker Hill from Walt Disney Concert Hall, The Broad, and Museum of Contemporary Art to Otium, Asterid, and now Agua Viva, San Laurel, and The Beaudry Room. These restaurants are in the Conrad Hotel, part of The Grand LA. This newest addition to the DTLA skyline, designed by famed architect Frank Gehry has come a long way from being a parking lot and is now home to the west coast flagship Conrad Hotel, The Grand by Gehry residential tower, and new retail coming later in 2022.
Arriving on the 10th floor, you are greeted by an impeccably designed entryway and lobby area with an iconic view of Walt Disney Concert Hall in one direction and a glimpse the historic Hollywood sign off in the distance in the other. As we stepped out of the lobby onto a tranquil rooftop terrace, we were drawn to the tree lined pergola that serves as the entrance to the outdoor lounge and restaurant, Agua Viva. Check out the DTLA STAY virtual tour that includes Conrad for more details on the hotel.
Agua Viva is a stylish rooftop spot with beach club vibes. At the grand opening, the music fit the ambiance perfectly – with a trendy DJ accompanied by an electronic violinist. It’s hip, chic, and classic. The cocktails are deliciously sophisticated, with a quality of ingredients and level of thought that make them among the best cocktails I’ve ever had. On top of spectacular drinks, the seafood appetizers were incredibly fresh and perfectly balanced, including DIY salmon handrolls, ahi poke, and crab croquettes.
After our appetizers, we wandered back through the lobby to San Laurel for a memorable dinner that included one of the most surprising dishes I’ve had this decade.
San Laurel is a dynamic fusion of Spanish and Southern California cuisine. For those into celebrity sightings, we were told Ellen Degeneres had already dined there twice that week. We started with Jamon Iberico, a signature Spanish dish of aged acorn-fed pork, paired with a traditional Sherry. From there, we ventured into a grilled romaine salad with melted cheese and black truffles, striped sea bass and rack of lamb. The use of fresh local produce and flavors combined with Spanish flavors, was impeccable and exciting. Our favorite (and most surprising) dish was the Vermicelli Mac and Cheese. Southeast Asian inspired noodles were transformed into mac and cheese adorned with edible flowers, raw egg yolks, and crunchy onions. To wash all of this down, you won’t want to miss out on the Mezcal Negroni cocktail that gets smoked tableside.
After dinner, we ventured over to The Beaudry Room for a nightcap next to a firepit – complete with gorgeous nighttime views of the city. As we moved from one restaurant to another, the music seamlessly transitioned to reflect each one’s unique mood– giving us the sense of floating from one lovely experience to the next.
The Beaudry Room
The first thing that struck us was that this lobby bar is nothing like a typical lobby bar. The menu is a combination of select dishes and cocktails from Agua Viva and San Laurel, plus a few creations of its own – which makes sense as it’s physically located between those restaurants.
From the outdoor seating, we could hear live music from the Music Center, – our destination after the Jose Andres experiences. Dance DTLA takes place every Friday over the summer and brings live music, accessible mini dance lessons, and lots of great people watching. When you arrive at the plaza, it’s buzzing with energy and there are several spots to grab a drink or a bite. It was the perfect way to cap off an amazing night.
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