LA’s busy third street has a new restaurant. Cleo, located inside The Orlando Hotel, is a haven of extremely flavorful and well-thought-out Mediterranean cuisine backed by sbe, a global lifestyle hospitality company. But before this luxe spot fully opened its doors to the public on December 2, it celebrated with a series of dinner events throughout the week. Hosted by sbe Founder and CEO, Sam Nazarian, Disruptive Restaurant Group’s CEO, Daniel Del Olmo, and Danny Elmaleh, the pre-opening VIP dinner fete drew in a notable roster of Hollywood’s finest including Randy Jackson, Dorit and Paul Kemsley, and Katrina Bowden, who flocked to the restaurant for a taste of Executive Chef Danny Elmaleh fares.
In the 6,000-square-foot space that boasts two floors, Cleopatra came to life in the form of storytellers decked out in ornate and belly-baring outfits—cascading headdresses and gold pleated capes that glowed with firefly-like whimsy when they fanned out. Lots of gilded brass flowed throughout the décor. A curved mural of intricate gold motifs in front of the first-floor bar spelled out “Om Mani Padme Hum,” a Sanskrit mantra that reinforces compassion and generosity. Painted by L.A. street artist Cryptik, the design borrows elements from Turkish Kilim rugs and Moroccan tiles. DesignAgency also lent a hand in creating the warm yet upscale aesthetics of the eatery.
The cross-cultural concept particularly shines through Cleo’s culinary repertoire. Paying homage to his delicious and diverse Israeli-Japanese heritage, Executive Chef Danny Elmaleh dreamed a menu that takes full advantage of ingredients and cultures of the eastern and southern Mediterranean. Think, charcoal-grilled branzino presented whole with fresh tomato and niçoise olives, snapper seared to perfection with Calabrian chili, olives and barberries, and a Wagyu flat iron steak. There is also an array of Mediterranean fares like the all-time-favorite falafel, melt-in-your-mouth kebabs and cold mezze dips like lebaneh and feta, haloumi and brussels sprouts. Freshly baked laffa bread is also plentyful for all scooping and dipping needs.
The bar serves up signature cocktails like the Desert Sunrise—a concoction that mixed vodka with cranberries and tipped it over the edge with tartness courtesy of oranges and lemons. Another favorite is the “Pale Moonlight” which brings Maestro Dobel Diamond Tequila, agave, rhubarb and blood orange bitters to the same party in a glass.
This is not Danny’s first time being at the helm of Cleo. In fact, the highly anticipated restaurant has seven locations around the world, three of which are in Los Angeles. If the Third Street flagship restaurant feels like too long of a drive, Angelinos are fortunate to have two other outposts to choose from, one on Hollywood’s Vine Street and another on Downtown LA’s West Olympic Boulevard.
Photo Credit: Kyle Espeleta
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