Two-story Mexican restaurant Alma has been the hottest dining option in the Grove for years

If the name Hunan Group isn’t immediately familiar to Angelenos, that’s fine. There is a good chance, following the opening of Alma in the grove on May 5, that the two parties will get to know each other. Grupo Hunan is a major player in Mexico City, known for some of this city’s most acclaimed restaurants across the dining spectrum (the name comes from the first Chinese restaurant in the family empire); The Angelenos are known as a fiercely loyal bunch who want no punches when it comes to flavor, warmth, and ambiance. The sensitivity of the two cities meets perfectly in Alma.

The Grove’s newest restaurant looks almost nothing like The Grove. The restaurant is a destination unto itself – part taqueria, part patio hangout just steps from the famous fountain, part white-tablecloth upscale upscale on the second floor where the beautiful flavors of Mexico will be fully enjoyed. exhibited. Even the corner space’s former tenant, none other than Dominique Ansel, can match Alma’s vigor, from the tacos on handmade tortillas to the brilliant cocktails to the extensive and varied dinner menu. , served with panache.

Handmade tacos and tortillas.

For starters, there’s a taqueria and a tiendita on the ground floor, space for a casual lunch and a bit of shopping. Here, cooks carve al pastor on a spit and others squeeze tortillas to order, while diners can move across the states of Mexico with every bite. There is the birria de res, which calls to Jalisco, and the cochinita pibil of Yucatán. Churros are a cross-border must, and the wraparound bar with imported mezcal, tequila, and wine sets the stage for an upstairs dinner to come. Shoppers can pick up Mexican produce, cookbooks, and more, or just linger on the terrace.

The upstairs, which opens later this month, focuses on evening meals with a touch of fine service. Here, white tablecloths, dim lighting, waves of tile, light woods and twine serve as the backdrop for bowls of albondigas with chipotle sauce or a center-cut simmering fillet of steak served in its own juice. There are all sorts of starters from raw seafood, grilled meats and poached fish, ensuring a good time for everyone. Cuaik Complete Design Studio (a sister company of Grupo Hunan) has fitted out the restaurant, leaving plenty of room for outdoor dining on both levels.

Taken together, this is Alma, a space as moving as its name suggests. There’s something for all comers here in this corner of the grove, including spicy and savory flavors and sweet finishes for a summer evening. It’s exactly what LA loves, and in that way, it’s a welcome arrival for one of Mexico’s biggest and best restaurant groups.

Alma opens at The Grove (189 Grove Drive, Suite H-10) May 5, keeping hours of operation 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. for food; la tiendita is open every day from noon to 10 p.m. The fancier upstairs dining space, with its own menu, will operate from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. daily when it opens later this month.

Two hands press on a wooden tortilla maker.

Two hands press on a wooden tortilla maker.

A dark side view of a dining room at night.

The second restaurant, upstairs, is for service.

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