As Los Angeles’ topography changes with the addition of countless new restaurants and bars, pop-up concepts add a uniquely temporary yet powerful shift to the culinary landscape. More than haunted kitchens yet not completely independent establishments, these destinations can take a variety of forms: some are limited edition experiences traveling from city to city, some are extensions designed to create more space for guests, and others are an opportunity to explore and promote new tasting menus indefinitely without the pressure of overhead. Whether you’re looking for a 10-course Japanese-Italian fusion experience or a different twist on a well-known cocktail, these pop-ups are not to be missed.
pastaRAMEN is the brainchild of James Beard-nominated chef Robbie Felice, and is now in Los Angeles for a limited time after sold-out runs in New York and Miami. PastaRAMEN’s culinary experience (in partnership with hybrid cookware company HexClad) runs through mid-November and is a sumptuous Japanese-Italian 10-course twist on Tokyo’s “Wafu pasta” concept (pasta cooked with Japanese ingredients) through November 13. Reserved for 10 people at a time, the immersive experience takes place in a secret location, and features surprising items such as a cacio e pepe gyoza, sesame ricotta cavatelli with ginger soy pork ragout, and a caviar-injected burrata flaked in gold.
$295 per person, including beverage packages; location specified when booking; pastaramen.com
While Pinky’s in Los Feliz already has a following as the cozy, 80s-deco bar opposite the popular hotspot Atrium, the bar has expanded to include a pop-up satellite bar outside the tile-lined walls, located prominently in the stone-walled path just Outside. Every Friday and Saturday night from 10:15pm-1:15pm, the smaller venue known as ‘Lil’ Pinky’s’ is unveiled and offers an exclusive outdoor menu of new cocktails. While they are expected to change, the popup currently offers a gin-based Negroni with damson, a tequila-based drink made with peach and yellow chartreuse, and a rye cocktail with prickly pear, ginger, and tarragon. Curated DJ sets by Alex Rodriguez, who curated his own record store in Coachella, play in the open-air courtyard.
1816 N Vermont Ave., pinkyslosfeliz.com
A conceptual tasting menu experience from Chef Chris Ono, Hansei is located at the Japanese American Cultural & Community Center, tucked away in a garden oasis beneath the bustling streets of Little Tokyo above. Chef Ono, a fourth-generation Japanese-American chef who has put his teeth into Michelin-starred restaurants, Providence, Eleven Madison Park, and Mori sushi, has designed Hansei (Japanese for “self-reflection”) as a representation of the Japanese-American cuisine in Los Angeles. Divided into three parts, the tasting menu features unique dishes such as Jidori chicken wings with cornflakes, a crispy crab “California roll” with Santa Barbara sea urchin and avocado, and Wagyu steak teriyaki. Hansei, which will last indefinitely as a pop-up, also encourages diners to pair their meal with a rare small-batch sake or glass of wine from a range of California-based Japanese-American winemakers.
$175 per person; 244 S. San Pedro St., jaccc.org
A version of this story first appeared in the November 2 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. Click here to subscribe.