New bakery and fish restaurants, update on planned openings, tamales at a coffeehouse, and other dining news

Little French Bakery owners Guillaume and Deborah Sabbadin offer a wide range of pastries. Photo

As we pass another month with neither indoor or outdoor dining in Los Angeles County, South Bay restaurateurs seem to remain cautiously optimistic. Few permanent closures have been announced, there have been some openings, and new projects have been announced. We’ll start this week’s column with some of that sweet good news.

A Little Wonder: The South Bay has a new destination for pastry lovers, the aptly named Little French Bakery. Owners Guillaume and Deborah Sabbadin bring authentic techniques to a little space next to the Coffee Cartel in Riviera Village. On most days they are selling out of pastries by late afternoon even though they’re theoretically open until 7 p.m.. They also offer brioche, baguettes, and sandwiches, and plan to make more types of bread after they’ve been in operation for a while (1820 S. Catalina, RB)…

Crazy about Fish: Crazy Fish is open in the former Pho Show space on the Pacific Coast Hwy. curve in Redondo. The concept is similar to several other places where you pick your fish, pick your cooking method and pick your sides, though they have a slightly wider array of seafood than most. It’s an enduringly popular concept, and it’s almost surprising that there wasn’t another like it in this busy area (1617 S. PCH, RB)…

An Enhancement: Someone at Sugar Dayne cookie bakery in Hermosa had a brilliant idea: since cookies and coffee go so well together, why not invite a coffee specialist to co-locate there? Two Guns Coffee is now serving at the bakery, and they also have some food items like burritos and a Salvadoran-style quesadilla.

Upcoming Attractions: The Sunlife Organics juice bar in the Metlox Plaza will be replaced by a branch of Sweet Lady Jane, the second location for the well-regarded pastry bakery. That’s directly across the plaza from the Pain Quotidien and around the corner from the Blue Star doughnut shop, so dessert lovers can park once and hit all three. No word on how soon they’ll be open. Down the street, Dash Dashi looks ready to open, and may be waiting for the resumption of outdoor dining to fire up the grill. Things are moving at a slightly slower pace at the Manhattan Mall, with casual global dining restaurant Joey and Italian restaurant Edo likely to open in April. Chinese restaurant Dan has just broken ground and is expected by summer, and later this year Sunlife Organics, Silverlake Ramen, and Handel’s Ice Cream will all make their debuts.

Meanwhile in Hermosa, the former Outpost 406 will become a second location for Japonica Dining, though the small kitchen there means the menu will be slightly smaller. Owner Taka Sada says that the range of items will be similar, and they plan to offer the eclectic sakes and shochus that are a big part of the draw at the original. Just a few doors down at the former Standing Room, Sam Sabra of Amigos Tacos fame will be opening something much more upscale, a fine dining Mexican restaurant called Agave Azul. The chef is from Oaxaca and will offer that region’s famous mole sauces, plus a weekly Puerto Nuevo-style lobster feed. Both Japonica and Agave Azul are scheduled to open in late March or April, though with building departments and city offices disrupted by the pandemic all schedules are approximate…

Grand Reopenings: Avenue Italy reopened in Riviera Village after serving for all of three weeks in fall of 2020. In Manhattan Beach Love & Salt is reopening this Friday, just in time for The “ReHER” (Regarding Her Food) festival. This is designed to spotlight women-owned restaurants throughout Los Angeles. The restaurant will be offering a special brunch menu on Sunday, January 24, using recipes from several of those restaurants. To pre-order and arrange pickup, go to regardingherfood.com…

Like A Phoenix, but burgers: If you look at photos of the corner of Artesia and PCH from a decade ago you’ll notice a Fatburger location, which was subsequently replaced by a yoghurt shop and later a Flame Broiler. Neither of those caught on, and now it’s about to become a Fatburger again. This is the second time that such a thing has happened in our area – in Torrance the Bob’s Big Boy was replaced by a Carrow’s, but later reverted to a Bob’s. That didn’t last and it’s now a Black Bear Diner. Are there any other instances of this? If you know of them, please drop me an email…

Tamales and coffee: La Terrazza coffeehouse on Pacific Coast Hwy. in Redondo serves more than just coffee, and any day you stop in they also offer sandwiches and waffles. On Tuesdays only they also have tamales, and they’re surprisingly good ones too. I tried the green chicken and red sauce pork and both have subtle spicy heat inside nice fluffy masa…

Helping hands: Rick Henkus, who owns Java Man and Ocean Diner, has been a generous supporter of local charitable causes, and now some of his customers are returning the favor. They started a GoFundMe page for Ocean Diner, and as of this writing have raised $20,000 out of a target of $50,000 to help keep the place open. We have all been worried because the virus is contagious, but it looks like kindness is too – we get it from each other…

In closing: Have you seen a new culinary business that I haven’t heard about, a local event either live or virtual? Do you have a favorite patio or know a place doing takeout with unusual flair? You can reach me at richard@richardfoss.com… ER 

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Written by: Richard Foss

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