New restaurants and bars are always popping up. To save you the trouble, we’ve put together a list of noteworthy openings on the culinary scene across the Americas (and beyond). If you missed last month’s list (August 2017), you can check it out here.
The new fast-casual concept opens its flagship restaurant in Midtown East on September 25. The arepa, a beloved culinary staple across Venezuela and Colombia, headlines the menu at Areppas, in addition to tequeños, mini arepas, salads, juices, and desserts. The brand’s focus is serving classic Latin American dishes, all with a healthy spin with high quality ingredients. After observing international friends enjoy their first arepas, Caracas native and Areppas founder Celestino Diaz found his restaurant concept. While traditional flavors are available, the brand also offers guests exotic twists on the Latin American classic. areppas.com.
Hotelier Bruce James and Guadalajara chef Paul Bentley — of Mi Amor in Tulum and Magno Brasserie in Guadalajara — have teamed up to present a new, meat-focused culinary concept, Bovine, a metro-chic brasserie is located in the colonial heart of San Miguel de Allende. “I’ve always loved San Miguel,” explains Bentley. “The restaurant scene is exploding, but everyone seems to be doing the same thing — contemporary Mexican cuisine. This is where Bovine stands alone: there is not another brasserie in San Miguel where the focus is on the best cuts of meat – and while the dishes look simple, there’s a lot of technique involved.” Beef is dry-aged in-house, charcuterie is homemade, and local and national products are being emphasized. A seafood bar with fresh fish, oysters, clams and more flown in from Ensenada rounds out offerings. Early favorites include steak tartare, braised beef ribs and suckling pig. Facebook Page.
Set in vibrant downtown Austin, Texas, Las Perlas Mezcalería offers a broad agave spirits program alongside handcrafted cocktails and craft Mexican beer brands. With a wide selection of over 400 curated premium agave spirits, some of the bar’s signature cocktails include Las Perlas Margarita, Jarritos Paloma, Oaxacan Negroni, Mexican Mule, and the Spiced Daisy – an original cocktail in the form of a margarita spiced up with fresh pressed jalapeños. Launching in October, the bar will host a live music program featuring Mariachi bands, spaghetti cumbia, banda, norteño, and Tejano to enjoy with street tacos offered by a local vendor. Facebook Page.
Former Alinea and Next chef Dave Beran, one of the biggest names in the U.S., has opened one of Los Angeles’ most anticipated restaurants in years. The 18-seat tasting menu restaurant, Beran’s first solo project, is set in a former Santa Monica food court of all places. The current menu has 21-courses is market driven and focuses on Southern California ingredients. dialoguerestaurant.com.
Peruvian chef Gastón Acurio returns to Spain with a new concept that’s almost like a smaller La Mar. From El Comercio: Yakumanka, in the words of Acurio, “was born from the need to make Peruvian cebicherías of the quality and excellence of La Mar but with the increasing difficulty in a world of finding large affordable spaces and how expensive it means for very large restaurants to maintain a number highly qualified staff .” Facebook Page.
The Gowanus neighborhood in Brooklyn gains a taste of Oaxaca with Claro Barbacoa. Led by chef T.J. Steele, Claro Barbacoa is a homage to the flavors and people of Oaxaca, Mexico, a city which Steele still lives in as a part-time resident. As the restaurant’s name would suggest, barbacoa is the main ingredient headlining the majority of dishes, with others including a shrimp aguachile and tlayuda with rabbit salpicón adding variety to the menu. Complementing the food, the bar’s focus is mezcal, served both neat and in cocktails. Instagram Page.
Located inside Chicago’s Museum of Contemporary art, Marisol offers a seasonal menu for lunch, dinner, and weekend brunch. Helming the kitchen is Chicago chef Jason Hammel (Lula Cafe) who dishes up small plates like burrata and sunflower hummus, in addition to large plates such as steamed swordfish and pumpkin seed and broccoli pesto rigatoni. Notably, the artistic feel of the restaurant space was designed by internationally renowned artist Chris Ofili. marisolchicago.com
Chef Mauricio Acuña, who has worked tirelessly for years to help expand and promote Ecuadorian cuisine, has opened a restaurant of his own, in his family’s hotel in central Quito. A re-imagining of the family style restaurant that was there previously, Acuña promises to revalue Ecuadorian food through the use of the best products in the country, working directly with producers and farmers. Facebook Page.
Following the success of laid back Peruvian brasserie Felix in San Isidro, Rafael Osterling has expanded the concept to include a sandwich shop in a space beside the restaurant. On the menu are artisinal sandwiches with house baked breads: roast beef, roasted turkey, a cheeseburger, etc. Facebook Page.
Upstairs from and run by the progressive vegan restaurant Ali Pacha (one of our best new restaurants of 2016) in La Paz’s center, UMAWI, which means “let’s drink” in Aymara, takes advantage of the immense variety of fruits, vegetables, herbs, and other plants in Bolivia for a line of highly original cocktails. Additionally, the bar serves a range of Bolivian coffees and craft beers. Facebook Page.
Canadians and visitors to Vancouver alike can now enjoy the flavors of Baja, Mexico. Classifying into the wave of modern Mexican cooking rolling through North America, Fayuca pays homage to the ingredients and recipes of Mexican cooking all while incorporating modern twists. This makes sense, as the co-owners of the spot are Mexico City-based Jair Tellez and Ernesto Gomez. A few highlight dinner menu items include oxtail fideo pasta with pine nut picada and pork shank confit with red cabbage curtido, pinto beans, red rice, and flour tortillas. fayuca.ca.
Chef Amanda Cohen collaborates with sommelier Lauren Friel at her vegetable-focused restaurant, Dirt Candy, removing its standard dinner menu, and instead asking patrons to trust chef Cohen and her team. Dirt Candy patrons will now be able to select from two dining options: “The Vegetable Patch” ($57, tip included) featuring approximately five courses of the restaurant’s most popular dishes or “The Vegetable Garden” ($83, tip included) is the more adventurous offering, serving up an array of vegetable dishes that will change on a regular basis.
Comedian George Lopez will move into the food industry with a new restaurant inside the San Manuel Casino in Highland, CA, near San Bernardino. Called Chingon Kitchen, the upcoming project will offer around 150 seats for patrons serving up a casual Mexican concept.
Header image courtesy of Areppas (Photo Credit: Alejandra Loreto).