Tel Aviv-Inspired Carmel Arrives on Melrose Avenue in Los Angeles

The name Carmel pays homage to Tel Aviv’s iconic Carmel Market, an open-air shuk that serves up a variety of cuisines, spices, clothing and so much more.

Carmel Melrose. Carmel

An exciting new restaurant is coming to Los Angeles this spring. On May 2, Carmel will make its highly-anticipated debut on Melrose Avenue. Friends and partners Asaf Maoz, Liron Hazan, Ronnie Benarie and Yoav Schverd have transformed the former Village Idiot bar space to create a chic yet cozy ambiance where locals can enjoy natural wines on draft along with grilled meats, Mediterranean favorites and globally-inspired flavors. Vibrant greenery surrounds the top of the mirrored bar, while antique paintings and artwork hang against vintage wallpaper and a rustic exposed brick wall, blending old world decor with modern accents.

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The fresh and exciting restaurant concept is rooted in the owners’ diverse backgrounds. “We wanted the menu to reflect the way we grew up—the food, like the culture, is a diaspora,” chef Maoz tells Observer. “It is a melting pot of flavors and cultures, inspired by all of the families that we grew up in.” Many of the dishes featured are connected to Maoz’s Syrian and Italian roots; a reflection of his childhood that is rooted in ancient Levantine cooking, but with a modern approach. 

When it came to bringing the restaurant to life, all four partners knew that they wanted to be located on Melrose Avenue. “The location is truly the hub of the community, and when we saw the former Village Idiot space, we knew it was perfect,” says Benarie. “The open kitchen was an absolute must, but we also loved the layout, high ceilings, historic location and great vibes. The minute we saw it, we were ready to go.” The chef’s counter faces the open kitchen, allowing patrons to watch the chefs work their magic as they sip on a glass of natural wine from Doctor’s Orders. Most of the standard tables and booths will also have a clear view of the kitchen. 

A peek inside the new Tel Aviv-inspired restaurant. Carmel

The name Carmel pays homage to Tel Aviv’s iconic Carmel Market, an open-air shuk that serves up a variety of cuisines, spices, clothing and more. “Carmel Market is the heart of Tel Aviv—you can get groceries, eat dinner, have a drink and a bite or stock up on spices, produce, meat and fish. It is the beating heart of the city,” explains Maoz. “You can spend hours there or just a quick second. Everything happens around it.” Likewise, Carmel Melrose, which will be open for dinner and late-night bites and drinks, hopes to build a sense of community, acting as a hub for locals to bond over great food and drinks.

Carmel Melrose. Carmel

In addition to a sustainable wine program, Carmel will also focus on seasonality, sourcing the freshest produce and creating dishes that change with the seasons. “The open kitchen and flow of arak shots will give the vibrancy and energy of the market—loud and fun, not pretentious,” says Hazan. “It’s a beautiful mess, but it’s organized perfectly.”

It’s a rotating menu. Carmel

Some highlights from the rotating menu include smoked eggplant musabaha made with golden chickpeas and sheep’s milk yogurt, and the whole grilled spotted shrimp with grape leaves and frisée. The rockfish schnitzel with seasonal herbs, preserved lemon and creamy aioli is a more Eastern European-inspired fusion, while the homemade pastas, fresh crudos and grilled meats will cater to a variety of cravings. The fresh breads cannot be missed, with the baked-to-order 72-hour fermented Moroccan acting as the star of the show. 

Carmel. Carmel

Though dinner is at the forefront of Carmel’s talents, it will also boast a solid bar scene, keeping the tradition of The Village Idiot alive. Whether you’re in the mood for a seasonal cocktail or a glass of orange wine, the team at Carmel is thrilled to provide the neighborhood with a cozy new spot for after-work drinks or an evening nightcap. Though the entire team has worked tirelessly on this project that is near and dear to all of their hearts, chef Maoz, in particular, has come to L.A. from New York City to bring the energy, spirit and vibe of the East Coast to Melrose Avenue. The tie between NYC and the Tel Avivian spirit is one rooted in culture, community and connection, and Carmel aims to bring that to life in Los Angeles.

Carmel Restaurant is located at 7383 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90046. It opens on May 2, 2024, serving dinner Tuesday through Sunday. 

Tel Aviv-Inspired Carmel Arrives on Melrose Avenue in Los Angeles