’Incredible’ find hidden behind grey door

That’s according to LA Tourism CEO Adam Burke, who dished on the best “hidden gems” tourists need to know about during a recent trip Down Under.

Mr Burke, who lives in the popular US city, tells news.com.au he tries to dine at a new place once a week.

“In Mexico City there’s this restaurant called Cha Cha Cha,” he said. “It’s one of the most well-known restaurants in Mexico City. The same owners decided to open one up in LA.

“Right in the Arts District, which is only about five minutes from Downtown, is LA Cha Cha Cha and what I love about it is it’s so quintessentially LA because you think you may be in the wrong spot because you just see this grey door.”

“One side is a bridal boutique and the other side is a bar, and when you open the door you just see these stairs that go up,” he explained.

“It’s not until you reach the top of the stairs that you realise the entire top of the building has been transformed into the gorgeous rooftop garden, and in addition to having some of the most authentic Mexican food you’ll ever have because it’s the same recipes from Mexico City, they also have been cultivating mezcal flights.”

Mr Burke described it as “just incredible”.

Behind the door and up stairs is a very popular Mexican restaurant. Picture: Supplied
LA Tourism CEO Adam Burke said the restaurant uses the same recipes as its Mexico City restaurant. Picture: Supplied

Mr Burke’s second tip for Aussie foodies is to check out chef Niki Nakayama’s second “lesser known” Japanese restaurant, n/soto.

Ms Nakayama is best known for her two Michelin star restaurant n/naka.

“It’s easier to get into, it’s a little bit less pricey and it’s amazing food so you can have a Michelin two star experience but at this hidden gem called n/soto,” Mr Burke said.

He described Ms Nakayama as “an amazing chef” who is “very much a global up-and-coming star”.

The chef behind two Michelin star restaurant n/naka also has a lesser known restaurant called n/soto. Picture: Wonho Photo
Mr Burke said Niki Nakayama was a “global up-and-coming star”. Picture: Wonho Photo

Sticking with the Japanese theme, Mr Burke said another LA spot Aussies must know about if they are after relaxation is Suiho-En, also known as The Japanese Garden.

“It’s actually not one garden, it’s three and it’s designed by a gentleman [Dr Koichi Kawana] who is revered in Japan as being one of the pre-eminent landscape architects,” he said.

“He does these incredible gardens in Japan so he designed three Japanese gardens over acres in the San Fernando Valley and it’s just gorgeous.”

The 2.6 hectare authentic Japanese garden includes a dry Zen meditation garden, a “wet-strolling” garden and a tea garden.

Travellers can check the Suiho-En website for events and workshops involving music and meditation.

As for new sights that should be on Aussie travellers’ radar, Mr Burke said South Los Angeles was “having a total renaissance right now” with the neighbourhood of Crenshaw being “one to watch”.

Destination Crenshaw will open early next year, which is a 2.1km outdoor gallery along historic Crenshaw Boulevard.

’Incredible’ find hidden behind grey door

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“It’s going to be the largest public art installation in the United States devoted to Black culture and art, but it’s also going to be one of the largest public art installations in the country period,” Mr Burke said.

“It’s everything from the real luminaries in the Black and African arts, including the gentleman [Kehinde Wiley] who painted president Barack Obama’s official portrait, all the way to these local street muralists.”

The public art exhibition will be open year round, and Mr Burke expects it to “gain more and more notoriety”.

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