Camelia - Arts District

Review forthcoming?




I saw @JLee posted something about this on Insta. This is right up my alley, can’t wait to try it!


What’s the move here

spaghetti a la japonaise


As in napolitan? I.e. ketchup sauce?

cocktails are good, including the NA ones.

Get the pudding.


Could be almost anything depending on where they draw their inspiration.

This would qualify as French Japanese


No, Japanese Bolognese isn’t Napolitan.

In Kyoto, I’ve had a Japanese spaghetti “Bolognese” made of octopus. And I’ve seen octopus ragout like Bolognese in Japan elsewhere, too, even packaged. There’s a version made with soffrito that’s mainly heavily caramelized carrots (long cooked low and slow, reminds me of Faviken’s “umami paste”) as a base and they use good tomatoes. They tend to use small octopi but I’ve seen it done differently in various regions.

I haven’t been to Camelia yet so I don’t know if they use octopus, but in any event, I doubt they actually mean Napolitan.


Many sugo options abound when the Japanese interpret Italian cuisine.


Visited earlier this week and can’t wait to go back as they open July 6th!
Decibel Martini was a fun cocktail with a nod to Courtney’s time at NY’s sake bar Decibel! Looks like David Rosoff also consulted on the wine list and restaurant opening as well, bottle list at a great price range.

Food Bangers:

  • Abalone & Mussel pot pie snail butter
  • Bouillabaisse
  • Black sesame parker house roll (you can do without the ikura)

It will be fun to see how they grow over the next couple of years!


So this is good? We were planning to go tomorrow.

1 Like

Peony: The food is tasty. I like it more than Petit Trois. Hard to decide between this and République. I would go back.

Warrior: Peony liked this restaurant more than I did, though I too would go back (factoring in we live in DTLA). I felt each dish had good ingredients and was prepared well, but I wasn’t crazy about the dish concepts. I would rank Petit Trois higher primarily because I find their classic dishes tastier, but Camelia is roughly at the same quality level. (République is in a higher tier for me.) The best dish tonight, for me, was the spot prawn sashimi, in part because the fried heads were excellent. The wine list was respectable but not on the same level as these restaurants we are comparing to (obvious in the case of République). It’s too hard to post pics, I give up.


wow, they’ve got some solid people from Rustic Canyon in the kitchen

Nestor Silva: Former Rustic Canyon executive sous chef; Malli pop-up (2024 StarChefs Los Angeles Rising Stars Award Winner)
Anthony Espinoza is/was at Rustic Canyon?
Brad Ritter was a line cook at Rustic Canyon

Estevan Silva is a heavy hitter to the line up. 2019 StarChefs San Francisco Rising Stars Award Winner. Executive baker for Quince, Cotogna, and Verjus.

Excited to try this place!


This menu looks extremely my shit. I also just got back from Japan so feels right.

I know Nestor better from his Malli pop up but love their food and his brother’s pastries. So, high hopes.


Very solid first visit at Camelia for me. No misses on any of my dishes. Attentive, friendly service.
Great beverage program, too. I’ll try to post some photos later.


Which dishes?

Garden Kisses (non-alcoholic): Clarified tomato, tamari, konbu dashi, herbs… Really deep. Love the bursts of perfect cherry tomatoes (also supplied)… Huge sip!

Black sesame Parker house rolls, salted French butter… Very addictive. Fantastic bread. No need to gussy it up with the ikura supplement.

Dungeness, ikura, buckwheat honey butter, purple yam blini… Delicious! Synergy of all the components. Huge bite!

Cauliflower soup, XO sauce, parmesan… The soup was really nice, but there was a bit too much parmesan which overpowered the otherwise delicate interplay of cauliflower and the XO sauce. But this was a minor misstep in a soup which I still consider a success.

Abalone and mussel pot pie, king trumpet mushroom, “snail butter”… An ode to an old Church & State dish, the Camelia version offers a masterfully flaky puff pastry. The filling, while umami-laden and savory, felt a tad greasy. This was a minor quibble, though, as I ate it all!

Spaghetti Bolognese a la Japonaise… The story goes that chef’s grandma used to make this for him at home after school. Nostalgia factor is high, plus as a whole, it works on merits of texture and taste.

Dessert: Kokuto caramel, soba-cha & cherries… The puffed rice really adds to the enjoyment of this lovely dessert! Huge bite!