A guide to the supersized drinking and dining experience at DTLA’s new Level 8

Upscale teppanyaki destination Maison Kasai is among the swanky restaurants at Los Angeles’s new Level 8 dining complex. Photo credit: Andrea D'Agosto
A fileted lobster on a circular white plate with some brown sauce being poured on top of it at Los Angeles restaurant Maison Kasai

Downtown Los Angeles has its share of glitzy hotel restaurants—Jose Andres’s San Laurel, Sendero atop the Ritz-Carlton, and the former Nomad come to mind. But none have been as ambitious as nightlife veterans Houston Brothers’ new 30,000-square-foot blockbuster Level 8

Perched on the eighth floor of the Moxy/AC Hotel, the sprawling indoor-outdoor destination is pure opulence: an adult playground with eight restaurants, including a poolside bar for picturesque sunsets. 

LA natives and fraternal twins Mark and Jonnie Houston couldn’t be better positioned to open Level 8. The siblings are best known for nightlife hotspots like Piano Bar and No Vacancy—Level 8 is their first foray into DTLA. “It’s a culinary destination designed so that you never get bored,” Jonnie Houston says. “You could have happy hour at the pool, then transfer over to the lounge, and eventually go to the club. Really, it’s a place for Angelenos to escape.”

A fancy teppanyaki restaurant and a live-fire South American grill are among the restaurants at Level 8, and given the caliber of talent involved, like chef Ray Garcia, these reservations will book up fast. Read on for a comprehensive guide to all the Level 8 restaurants and bars, so you can choose your own Downtown dining adventure.

NOW OPEN

Maison Kasai

The interior of Los Angeles restaurant Maison Kasai with several teppanyaki stations and seats around it
Upscale teppanyaki meets French technique at Maison Kasi. Photo credit: Michael Kleinberg

The chef: Joshua Gil of upscale Mexican restaurant Mirate in Los Feliz and the now-shuttered Mirame in Beverly Hills
The vibe: The interiors at this swanky restaurant feature a mix of Art Deco and Japanese influences. Peep the geometric custom-designed wallpaper from artist Candace Kaye, as well as the restaurant’s warm wood tones and starburst patterns throughout.
The move: Maison Kasai spotlights upscale teppanyaki done with French technique and the energy of a dinner and a show. Order from a fixed menu with blingy options like miso bone marrow and A5 Wagyu chateaubriand, or go for equally luxe a la carte options like a whole Maine lobster and kampachi with miso-eggplant bouillabaisse.

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Qué Bárbaro

Sliced meats in a black vessel surrounded by small plates of food on a marble table at Los Angeles restaurant Qué Bárbaro
Smoke-kissed meats cooked on a live fire steal the show at Qué Bárbaro. Photo credit: Andrea D’Agosto

The chef: Ray Garcia of Broken Spanish and BS Taqueria fame
The vibe: Qué Bárbaro is a tropical paradise with bright banquettes and wallpaper adorned with wildlife frolicking in the jungle. Hanging plants and greenery add to the lush atmosphere.
The move: Smoke-kissed South American fare stars on a menu that includes cheesy Provoleta (an Argentinian grilled cheese dish) and oyster mushrooms, all done on the restaurant’s impressive wood-fired grill. If a big night out is on the cards, get the massive 30-ounce, bone-in short rib with a couple of friends. Wrap pieces of the meat in lettuce leaves, drizzle with chimichurri, and go to town.

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Lucky Mizu

The interior of Los Angeles restaurant Lucky Mizu with colorful flower-adorned booths that have arches
Japanese opulence meets Art Nouveau design at Lucky Mizu. Photo credit: Michael Kleinberg

The chef: Hisae Stuck, a Kobe native and a disciple of renowned chef Joël Rubochon
The vibe: Japanese opulence meets Art Nouveau at this colorful restaurant. A wall lined with 700 golden lucky cats greets diners, while circular infinity mirrors studded with butterflies sit above booths. Plus, there’s a U-shaped marble bar, plush aqua upholstery, and an Earth Harp (a massive symphonic instrument designed by artist William Close) that stretches from one corner of the room to the other.
The move: The food here celebrates the Japanese art of cooking in water (mizu means water in Japanese), like shabu-shabu and seiro mushi (steaming). Dinner starts with small bites and is followed by seiro mushi or shabu shabu sets featuring Japanese A5 Wagyu, Kurobuta pork, seasonal seafood, and farmers market vegetables.

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Mr. Wanderlust

A shrimp cocktail on a wooden table with brown and red sauces next to it at Los Angeles restaurant Mr. Wanderlust
It’s all about luxe global fusion at Mr. Wanderlust. Photo credit: Wonho Frank Lee

The chef: Richard Archuleta, formerly the executive chef at the Line Hotel’s Openaire
The vibe: A fictional globetrotter is the inspiration behind this piano bar and jazz lounge that combines a library aesthetic with a chic carnival atmosphere. There are stacks of books, rich wood tones, and aerialists swinging from a chandelier. Live music and DJ sets up the entertainment factor.
The move: The luxe dishes here are influenced by cooking from around the world. Think toad in the hole with quail eggs and caviar or shrimp cocktail with wasabi cocktail sauce. Plus, beverage director Devon Espinosa worked with top mixologists from around the country, including Naomi Schimek of LA’s Soulmate and Tar Pit, to create the cocktails like Can’t Get Enough with passionfruit liqueur and lychee black tea.

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Golden Hour

Los Angeles’s Golden Hour bar at Level 8 which is centered around a swimming pool with seats under umbrellas and some seats partially in the pool.
This poolside destination is illuminated by a golden carousel bar. Photo credit: Michael Kleinberg

The players: The Houston Brothers
The vibe: This poolside bar that’s ideal for sunsets serves Palm Beach vibes with a little bit of carnival whimsy. The centerpiece is an illuminated golden carousel bar strung with chandeliers, and accents like palm-frond prints, private cabanas, and round lounge beds add an island resort touch.
The move: There are tropical cocktails galore, like a classic Trader Vic’s mai tai, and a bunch of poolside fare, like a chicken club and a caesar salad, at this chic spot. Also, what screams more poolside dining than the Dole Whip on the dessert menu?

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The Brown Sheep

A piece of fried chicken placed in a tortilla with some slaw and pickles on top at Los Angeles restaurant The Brown Sheep
The Brown Sheep is a Mexican street food destination with Los Angeles twists. Photo credit: Andrea D’Agosto

The chef: Ray Garcia
The vibe: Seats at this casual terrace spot are centered around a cheery vintage taco truck. Come here for a taco and margarita and settle into a chair upholstered with brightly patterned fabric.
The move: Garcia calls the menu here “authentically inauthentic,” by which he means Mexican street food with Los Angeles accents. Feel the nostalgia of a childhood family taco night with a dish of the same name (crispy taco shells filled with Wagyu beef picadillo), or get adventurous with beef tongue cheesesteak and tacos with mushroom chicharrón or hot chicken.

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COMING SOON

Mother of Pearl

The outdoor seating at Los Angeles restaurant Mother of Pearl that looks out onto the Downtown LA skyline
It’s all about the DTLA views at Mother of Pearl. Photo credit: Michael Kleinberg

The chef: Joshua Gil
The vibe: It’s all about DTLA views at this al fresco seafood stunner that takes cues from a Spanish gazebo. Think wrought iron cocktail tables, stucco, and Talavera tile.
The move: Bubbly and raw bar delicacies are the name of the game here. Pop open a bottle of Champagne from the restaurant’s extensive list, then pair it with a decadent seafood tower or smaller plates like lobster egg salad or tea salad topped with caviar.

Sinners y Santos

The players: The Houston Brothers
The vibe: Sinners y Santos celebrates Mexican wrestler and folk hero El Santo. A confessional-style booth leads to a cocktail den that has some serious cathedral vibes. Enter into a space with stained-glass windows, dripping prayer candles, and dim lighting. A DJ booth shaped like a pipe organ hides within arched, barrel-vaulted ceilings.
The move: Find agave cocktails served in ornate chalices.

Karen Palmer is a pizza- and pasta-obsessed food writer based in Los Angeles. Follow her on Instagram at @karenlpalmer.

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