By Elise Taylor
Anastasia Koutsioukis, co-founder of Mandolin Aegean Bistro, says Los Angeles was always her ideal location for a restaurant. This was even before she and her husband Ahmet Erkaya opened the first Mandolin in Miami’s Design District—which, thanks to its relaxed yet refined whitewashed interiors, Greek and Turkish-influenced cuisine, and chic courtyard setting, quickly became one of the hottest restaurants in town. Los Angeles, like the Aegean Islands that inspire Koutsioukis, offers a Mediterranean climate, coastal setting, and population with a penchant for fresh farmers’ market produce. “Los Angeles was on our radar before any other city in the United States,” she says. “Our dream was always to have something there.”
This week, her dream comes true. After a partnership with Soho House, a second outpost of Mandolin, called Mandolin Taverna, will open in a garden adjacent to the private member’s club. Open to the public and with a separate street entrance, Koutsioukis describes Mandolin Taverna as having “granny chic vibes with a lot of beautiful flowers, pots, and vessels.” Some other interior accents? Greek island-style furniture, blue and white textiles, woven baskets, and lantern lit tables.
Koutsioukis scoured Los Angeles’s famous flea markets for aesthetic adornments: pots were found at the Topanga Vintage Market, while vases and clay-olive urns turned up at a one-off sale by a passionate collector of Mediterranean objects. She dotted them throughout the space, inspired by the villas of Paros where she and her husband have a home. “We wanted to recreate the charm of the olive groves and the gardens at these little village houses.”
As for the menu? Many of Mandolin’s Miami favorites will make it to Los Angeles, from their Greek and Turkish sampler platters and village salad to their grilled octopus and whole Mediterranean sea bass.
Dishes at the new Mandolin in Los Angeles.Photo: Andrew Joseph Woomer
Opening next door in a whitewashed cottage will also be Mrs. Mandolin, a home and lifestyle shop dedicated to the ease of Mediterranean living. It will carry everything from homewares to pantry items imported from Greece and Turkey—olive oils, jams, honeys, teas, herbs and spices—and designer clothing from the same region, such as airy dresses by Lug Von Siga. Koutsioukis says she sought to answer the question, “If I could have my dream home in Greece, what would I look like?” As a nod to their new coastal home, Mrs. Mandolin will also carry select pieces from California-based designers such as Lisa Marie Fernandez.