Michelin-starred LA restaurant Somni sets reopen date

After garnering two Michelin stars, glowing reviews and a “discovery” nod from the World’s 50 Best Restaurants, one of LA’s most lauded tasting-menu restaurants closed two years ago with little notice. Next year, it’s set to return.

Somni, from chefs Aitor Zabala and José Andrés, sprouted passion fruit tulips from chocolate dirt; arranged tuna katsu into the shape of a battle ax before it could be coated in saffron and caviar; and injected strawberry-shaped cocoa butter nubs with vermouth, strawberry purée and Aperol until its closure in August 2020, creating some of the most whimsical dishes available in LA during its brief run. In late summer 2023, Zabala will reprise the concept in West Hollywood, with additional seating and new items.

The restaurant’s cuisine, sometimes experienced in upwards of 20 courses — seasonal ingredients depending — was by Times food critic Bill Addison as one that “blurs the line between whimsy and academia, between applied theory and cheeky cleverness”: difficult to pinpoint, harder still to categorize under any nationality.

“The circle was never closed with Somni; he was interrupted,” Zabala said by phone. “Everyone is closed in the pandemic, but it’s not natural, you know? [There was] something is missing, and I was feeling that it’s not the right ending for a dream — and I am the person always looking for the next dream, but this dream, I was feeling there was no ending.”

The closure was credited in part to the COVID-19 pandemic, even though it also occurred

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