Hot downtown dining scene: Laurent Quenioux’s Etchea bakeries, Olio pizzeria, Terroni

Downtown is probably the hottest restaurant scene in California, with new restaurants opening almost weekly, the renovation of Grand Central Market and the planned permanent farmers market at 4th and Main Streets (as well as Sushi Zo, Big Mista’s BBQ and others). Here’s more of the latest:

Summer chef Laurent Quenioux is helping to launch Etchea, two downtown bakery-cafes inspired by Basque flavors and the bread tradition of the Garacochea family, who owned bakeries starting in the early 1900s in Venice and Santa Monica. John Baptiste Garacochea partnered with Christine Splichal, co-founder and former co-owner of Patina Group; Linda Griego, founder and former owner of Engine Co. No. 28; and Quenioux.

Etchea (the phonetic spelling of Etxea, or “home” in Basque) will be open all day for breakfast, lunch, snacks, pastries and take-out, featuring the Garacocheas’ crusty sourdough bread from the small village of Les Adudesin in the Basque country.

Photos: Inside Terroni downtown


Quenioux created the menu. In the morning, offerings will include house specialty eggs piperade or poached eggs with smoked salmon and sourdough toast. At lunch, sandwiches, salads and soups, or dishes such as roasted chicken Basquaise. For dessert, bread pudding, fresh fruit tarts and gateau Basque with vanilla and almond custard — a recipe from Splichal’s father, a pastry chef in the Basque country. Etchea will be open Monday to Friday 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Saturdays 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

254 S. Hope St. and 228 S. Figueroa St., Los Angeles,

Meanwhile, Grand Central Market will be home to Olio Pizzeria‘s olive-wood-fired pizza this fall, the second Olio from chef-owner Brad Kent, whose first location is on West 3rd Street. At the historic downtown market, Olio Pizzeria’s “centerpiece will be my dream pizza oven, which I’m bringing over from Italy,” Kent said in a statement. “In fact, the pizza and all toppings will be cooked in the wood-fire oven; we won’t be using any gas or electricity.” In addition to classic Olio pizzas, Kent will offer seasonal pies with local ingredients such as roasted frisée and lemon-infused mascarpone.

Also new in the market is the Sweet Clementine’s Popsicles cart, which set up this week in a corner facing Hill Street. Offerings include handmade icy pops in flavors such as mango-cardamom, plum-lingonberry, lemon buttermilk and spicy peach. Still to come are DTLA Cheese, the Oyster Gourmet and Egg Slut.

317 Broadway St., Los Angeles, (213) 624-2378,

And Terroni, the 6,000-square-foot Italian restaurant in a former 1920s bank on Spring Street, is now open. The menu is similar to that of the Terroni location on Beverly Boulevard, but the space is palatial, divided into several public and private dining areas and featuring a zinc-topped bar. Chef Antonio Giordano is serving lunch, dinner and weekend brunch, featuring all-house-made pastas and specialties of southern Italy. Highlights of the restaurant design by Ralph Giannone include a red lighting fixture that spans the ceiling in one of the main dining rooms and is shaped like the Autodromo Nazionale Monza race track.

802 S. Spring St., Los Angeles, (323) 954-0300,


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