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A Filipino native who's cooked for Guy Savoy and Thomas Keller opens Rice Bar in downtown L.A.

A Filipino native who's cooked for Guy Savoy and Thomas Keller opens Rice Bar in downtown L.A.

Rice Bar, a diminutive Filipino counter restaurant in downtown Los Angeles, is to a normal restaurant kind of like what tiny houses are to conventional houses. Seven neon yellow stools are jammed up to an L-shaped marble counter that takes up the majority of the 275-square foot space. Behind that counter, Rice Bar's chef and owner Charles Olalia cooks on a jigsaw system made up of three rice cookers, two hot plates, a griddle and a warmer. Olalia, who is 32 and originally from Manila, opened this, his first restaurant, six months ago in what was previously a falafel joint.

It is a lot smaller than Patina, Joachim Splichal's gorgeous flagship fine dining restaurant, which is less...

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