Nancy Silverton shares her thoughts on the fate of fine dining in Los Angeles

HOLLYWOOD, Calif. — Restaurants in Los Angeles County are currently allowed to seat diners inside at 50% capacity.

According open tablediners seated from reservations decreased by 100% in 2019. Now, since early May 2021, the website has reported a 60% improvement.

What do you want to know

  • Restaurants in LA County are currently allowed to seat diners inside at 50% capacity
  • According open tablethe number of guests seated by reservation fell by 100% in 2019
  • Gastronomy has been particularly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Industry veteran is confident the industry will recover

Many new restaurants are also opening, including Nancy Silverton’s The barish inside the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel. It honors its family, while bringing the glamor of Tinseltown and fine dining details. But why did this James Beard Award-winning chef open his first new restaurant since 2013 right after a global pandemic?

“The money has been spent,” Silverton said. “There was no turning back for us. It was not a choice.”

This elevated steakhouse was ready to go in March 2020 — but when indoor dining stopped, so did the grand opening. But the pandemic has not only impacted The Barish, it has ultimately stopped fine dining in its tracks. Many wonder if it will ever go back to the way it was.

Being an industry veteran, Silverton is optimistic.

“There are many facets,” she said. “Maybe people won’t go back as much. Maybe people have really enjoyed the last year and a half to hone their own cooking skills at home and maybe enjoy eating at home. Maybe that people appreciate the convenience of take-out and enjoy eating at home. I think indoor dining will go back to what it was before, but I think it will take time.”

Silverton added that people will always want to go out for special occasions and enjoy top-notch service – like the flair and elegance of his hand-painted plates, specially designed uniforms and a wood-fired oven you can see from your table.

“If you’re not inside to see that, you’re missing half the experience,” she said.

In terms of when or how, that remains to be discussed. The Barish has actually been sold out every night for the past three weeks since opening at 50% capacity. But when restaurants can crank that up to 100%, Silverton is wary.

“It shook our confidence again,” she said. “There are a lot of small restaurants that really cram people in and I wonder how the public will feel about sitting side by side with someone. I think it’s going to take some time.”

But if we stay on track to fully open in June, Silverton is ready to give Angelenos the normalcy they desire.

“There are all kinds of strangers, aren’t there? But with all my restaurants, obviously including here, people are just happy to be back.”

So if you ask this chef who helped shape the cuisine of Los Angeles and the country, fine dining is here to stay.

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