Looking for Robb Report UK? Click here to visit our UK site.

LA’s Acclaimed Restaurant Somni Shuttered in 2020. Now It’s Being Brought Back to Life.

The Michelin two-star Somni will reopen almost three years after closing.

Food from Somni Jill Paider

Not everything that’s lost is lost forever. At least that’s the case with the acclaimed Los Angeles tasting-menu restaurant Somni, which closed in August 2020 largely due to the pandemic.

Somni 2.0 is now on the way, slated to open next August in a bigger, bolder way—while retaining the intimacy that made the original iteration such a hit. The chef Aitor Zabala will still be at the helm, this time on his own, rather than alongside José Andrés’s ThinkFoodGroup, which was Somni’s parent company when it opened in 2018.

“I am ecstatic to be able to continue this dream in the city of Los Angeles, which I now call my home and is one of the greatest culinary destinations in the world,” Zabala said in a statement.

Zabala at the original Somni in 2018 Photo: courtesy Somni/Instagram

When it first opened, Somni quickly gained accolades—and two Michelin stars—for its inventive 20-course tasting menu inspired by Zabala’s time at the groundbreaking El Bulli and his childhood in Barcelona. With just 10 seats, Somni would entrance diners at the chef’s counter with dishes like “pizza” (merengue made with tomato water and topped with cheese) and donut hole–like buns filled with braised pigtail.

The new Somni will still have that intimate, showstopping feel. There will be only one service per night for 14 guests, while a private dining area will have room for six. The tasting menu is still being perfected, and it will be paired with a highly curated wine program.

pigtail curry bun
Pigtail curry bun Photo: courtesy Jill Paider

Despite the small-scale nature of each night’s dining experience, Somni 2.0 will exist in a much grander space than its predecessor. The new building in West Hollywood will be almost double the size, with 2,000 square feet of outdoor space. Zabala himself is working closely with glassblowers, millworkers and ceramicists to design unique pieces for the restaurant, and the architect and designer who came up with the stunning look of the original outpost will do the interiors here as well.

The reopening news is much welcome in a culinary world still dealing with the fallout from the pandemic. At a time when restaurants all over the globe continue to close become of economic circumstances, it’s a good reminder that a chef’s dream never truly dies.

More Dining