James Beard winner opens Tokyo-Italian destination in Hollywood


Hollywood’s rise as one of Greater Los Angeles’ most exciting foodie districts continues today, with news that a prominent James Beard Foundation Award winner is teaming up with fine chops to occupy a familiar space at 6115 Sunset Boulevard. The upcoming project, titled Magari, will be a three-way collaboration that combines Italian and Japanese flavors under one golden roof.

At the head of Magari’s new charge is a triumvirate of talent, including former Boston boss Tony Messina, who left the east coast city earlier this year to pursue projects in Los Angeles. Messina won the James Barbe Prize 2019 for Best Chef: North East while working in his restaurant Uni. He will be accompanied by the Tokyo chef Yoshiyuki Okuno, owner of Michelin Bib Gourmand designates La Brianza, and the chef of Sicilian origin Enrico Merendino, previously from Cara inside the Cara hotel; the latter is appointed executive chef in charge of day-to-day cooking.

In total, the three names will lead Magari alongside ownership group Ozumo Concepts, known for their Japanese restaurant. Ozumo in San Francisco. They chose the old Paley space on Sunset for their first foray into LA, with its plunging lines, Art Deco touches, high ceilings and soaring sunshine. The restaurant is well located in the neighborhood. It is close to the huge Netflix offices and a variety of inbound hotels and tourist destinations. And there’s the constant stream of people coming in and out of the NeueHouse co-op complex next door.

As for the Japanese-Italian menu, expect pasta with Japanese flavors, as well as raw sea bass dishes and grilled meat (including imported Japanese wagyu). There will be cocktails, Italian wine and a total of 190 seats – including 50 on the patio – with a design by Cass Calder Smith. A rendering of the space is below.

Look for the opening of Magari in Hollywood in early 2022, although no official date has yet been set. Once the place opens, it will join a host of other talented restaurants, new and old, including Wes Avila’s new Ka’Teen, Evan Funke’s future Mother Wolf, Lincoln Carson’s new My Friends, and the new recently opened horses.


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