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Joshua Skenes emphasizes fire cooking at his luxe seafood-focused restaurant at the Beverly Center.

Cuisine
Open
Dinner nightly
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Angler, Los Angeles, CA

Angler Restaurant Review

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About chef Joshua Skenes: Joshua Skenes (Saison Hospitality) is one of the most acclaimed chefs in the Bay Area. His rise in the culinary world came with the opening of his San Francisco restaurant Saison in 2009. He is known for his meticulous sourcing of local and wild products, his creative technique, and for cooking almost entirely over an open wood fire. He debuted the seafood-focused hotspot Angler on San Francisco’s Embarcadero in 2018, and quickly followed with the sister Angler in Los Angeles.

The décor: Despite the somewhat unlikely surroundings of the Beverly Center’s underbelly, once you enter the restaurant it’s like you’ve gone down a watery rabbit hole and emerged in a moodily romantic fisherman’s lodge fathoms away. A 150-year-old salvaged barnwood table from Germany is strewn with antlers and silver candelabras, jaunty fish trophies adorn the wall of the bar that stretches across the back wall, and giant, luminous fish tanks frame an aquatic theater of live king crabs, dancing prawns and various catch of the day. But the real theater is Skenes’ massive open kitchen, flanked by bundles of fresh flowers and dried herbs, starring a cast of chefs manning the opulent 32-foot wood burning hearth. Skenes cooks only over embers --- not flames --- so blazing almond wood is raked into a perpetual state of glow. It’s mesmerizing.

Likes: Outstanding service; warm Parker House rolls with cultured kelp butter.
Dislikes: Steep prices; totally 80s soundtrack.

Food & Wine: Skenes’ profoundly creative cooking and rigorous, refined techniques bring his culinary vision to life in startling and delightful ways. Menus change daily depending on the market, and the chef’s relationships with fishermen, purveyors, hunters and foragers is key to the pure flavors he seeks to elevate in each dish. Fresh oysters, as expected, are pristine, a briny primer for starters like delicate sea bream ceviche or richly flavorful Pacific ruby fish kissed with shiso and ume vinegar. One intriguing signature dish is Angler’s private batch caviar, from American sturgeon of the Sacramento River delta, which is dramatically prepared tableside on a freshly pressed banana waffle with melted barbecue banana peel butter. A rich, silky antelope tartare changes the pace a bit, as do hen of the woods mushrooms roasted above the coals for an hour; imbued with smoke, they are crispy on the outside and tenderly moist inside. For mains, consider succulent prawns in chili harissa sauce. Most impressive was the soft, buttery marble fish filet, accompanied by its own skeleton deep fried, crunchy, and dusted with pepper, offering a dynamic contrast in flavor and textures. The tableside service is part of the fun here, so opt for an ending of soft serve sundae with roasted cocoa nibs, barbecue salt and burnt caramel sauce slowly poured over it. There are well-chosen wines by the glass and the staff’s suggestions are spot on. The expansive global wine list runs 90 pages, with an emphasis on Burgundy and Napa.
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