Nestled within the ornate, foliage-laden interior of the historic center’s Hotel Per La, entering Per L’Ora transports guests to a space far removed from the energetic bustle of DTLA. The hotel’s restaurant is the property’s signature dining spot on the ground floor, hoping to serve up a new downtown neighborhood classic.
“It’s a space that’s a healthy transition from the bustle and grandeur of the world to this little portal of discovery,” said Jordan Nova, general manager of dining at Hotel Per La. white linen with lots of lush greenery and foliage also inside the restaurant, so you almost settle into this downtown oasis…the whole thing is meant to be those moments of tension and discovery.…I think there’s a lot to discover and be surprised about, and it’s not just one point, it’s a triangulation of a lot of little little moments that we like to create.
Drawing inspiration from the building’s historic roots as the former Bank of Italy, the restaurant’s main dining room features a 20-foot Italianate gilded coffered ceiling and a communal table in the shape of a worry racetrack. The bar, which acts as a dramatic centerpiece of the room, features a marble top covered in shades of green, gray and white under globe-shaped light fixtures.
The entire design is meant to present an air of both glamorous and comfortable, a blend that also permeates the restaurant menu. From casual Italian bites to a daring array of locally-inspired main courses, Per L’Ora offers a menu that’s as varied as it is tasty.
“I think a lot of restaurants in this part of the country really focus on California cuisine, which is driven by ingredients, agriculture, and climate,” Nova explained. “But from the perspective that our team takes, we’re really inspired by cultures, which is more about stories. … It’s about communities, and we really use that as a starting point for our designs.
The menu seeks to enhance the flavors of coastal Italy with hints of Los Angeles cuisine, with starters like Arancini, Beef Crudo and Hamachi and mains like Veal Bone Milanese, cioppino and chicken spatchcock.
Their specialty pastas include radiatori, which is a mixture of pork sugo, almonds, scallions, tofu, and Sichuan pepper, as well as orecchiette, a stew of oxtail birria with shallot and Mango.
The drinks menu offers a collection of selected wines around the Mediterranean as well as inventive cocktails such as the “Oxymoron” based on St. George Terroir Gin, High West Campfire whiskey, Côtes du Rhône, guava and lemon, and the “Owl’s Castle”. made with Tenjaku gin, Haku vodka, Mancino Sakura, Nigori sake and rose and orange bitters.
“We’re really inspired by people,” Nova said. “If you think of the culinary team, the pastry team, the wine team or the bar team, the service team. … Everyone is deeply inspired by Downtown LA and all the things that make it such a cultural hub. … We really looked for people who have deep ties to LA, who have deep ties to Downtown … and who were all real pros in their discipline.
Per L’Ora’s culinary team includes Executive Chef Courtney Van Dyke, a third-generation Angeleno who has spent her career leading acclaimed kitchens at Montage Beverly Hills, Peninsula New York and Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire; bar manager Coleen Morton, who brings mixology and bar experience from neighboring DTLA bars such as Redwood Bar and Grill, Spring Street Bar and El Dorado; wine director Rick Arline, who has gained experience at several five-star luxury hotels like the Montage Beverly Hills and Hotel Bel-Air; and pastry chef Sohrob Esmaili, formerly of the renowned Jean Georges and Proper Hotel San Francisco in New York.
“It’s interesting when we talk about each discipline, everyone really talks about ‘our menus’ and not ‘their menu’ or their respective menu. … Everyone has a deep story in every ingredient they create,” Nova explained. “Along with the lamb kibbeh dish, it’s a recipe from the grandmother of one of Chef Courtney’s dear friends. She likes to say that she sees all her friends on the menu.
“When you move on to cocktails and look at Coco’s menu, she really draws on deep Italian inspiration, but she’s also created cocktail menus that are really on-trend because of the way she’s integrated low-alcohol cocktails or the way she introduced distilled spirits. that are alcohol-free or the way she even made wine cocktails. She really got the beat of Downtown and built a cocktail list that moves with that ever-changing beat.
“When you look at Rick Arline’s wine list…he’s really laid down the rules of classic wine list plans and created something that resonates with our food and the varied flavors that come from a truly downtown-inspired restaurant. city of LA. He kind of ditched those rules to create a wine list focused on climate and richness, but all of his wines have that remarkable flamboyance where you can’t drink a single sip. There is nothing too esoteric, and there is nothing too sure. These are all remarkable wines that are chosen with a high degree of confidence.
Nova described the team as an “ensemble cast” working hand-in-hand within a co-dependent culinary ecosystem, a cast who are thrilled to once again perform in front of an in-person audience. The aim is to generate a sense of discovery for each guest both by moving physically through Per L’Ora and mentally through its menu.
“For two years, especially on the coast, we were really connection-hungry and really interacted with a few people,” Nova said. “It informed our approach to hospitality, food and drink a little differently.”
Nova’s two approaches are to focus on the technique, but also to privilege the “narrative” of the experience and the interaction with the guests.
“We have the same technique and precision, but we let that take a back seat,” Nova explained. “What we really want to do is have cocktails, wine, food, baking, music and an ambience that allows you to connect with the people you’re sitting with and have a deep emotional connection in our space that we’ve facilitated.
“To be able to talk to a restaurant that really focuses on creating a human connection between people first rather than space first, I think, is a fun approach. It’s very exciting to to be so inspired by Downtown, to be a champion of Downtown and to create a restaurant that is truly inspired by Downtown and from a true LA perspective.