A Look Inside of Alma, Open Tonight in Downtown
Alma’s onion chicharrónes with smoked onion crema

Tonight Ari Taymor opens a more stable footed iteration of Alma, the pop-up restaurant he launched in Venice after his short stint at Salute Wine Bar ended when it transformed into Brick + Mortar. Alma is now set up for at least the next year in a generous space of high ceilings and natural light, not without its understated charms despite being pinned between a significantly less romantic weed spot and thumping hostess bar. Taymor, a Bay Area native who helped open the city’s Flour + Water and counts its chef, Thomas McNaughton (along with market monopolizing minds like Jeremy Fox and Kim Altar), among his mentors, has a surfeit of imagination in commanding crops to lead the charge at Alma.

Clever and colorful vegetarian dishes rule much of his menu, in which chicharones are forged from onions and a regal gathering of maitake mushrooms surpass the flavors in a suckling pig porchetta.

We ducked into Alma’s soft-opening last night and were struck at the potential we glimpsed in the chef’s splendidly plated dishes and promises of an ever morphing, market-shepherded menu. Given that it was still shy of opening day, apps like the onion chicharrónes and Taymor’s seaweed beignets have a window to become much lighter and the suckling’s skin much crisper, but as Alma takes shape in its new Downtown home, it portends to be a brave, rousing restaurant with the chance that there’s always something novel, and visibly bewitching, to behold at each visit.

Take a look at the new Alma space and some of Taymor’s dishes in our slideshow.

Alma, 952 S. Broadway Ave. Downtown.

952 S. Broadway Downtown
Served with yuzu kosho and lime aioli. The beignet itself was somewhat dense and the seaweed didn’t really register, but occasionally the hot dough came together with the yuzu kosho and lime aioli to form a perfect marriage.
Filled with smoked onion crema and topped with squash blossom
Ringing with earthiness and chased by the essence of preserved lemon, Taymor’s beet gazpacho hides a cluster of delicate crab meat.
Served with Persian cucumber atop crispy quinoa and peach and avocado sauces. The perfectly prepared fish was the highlight of dinner.
Taymor’s porchetta with black garlic and holy basil sat on top of a bed of creamy corn and mouth-watering maitake mushrooms.
Popcorn ice cream served with blueberries, caramel corn, shiso, and hand-torn muffins. An awesome end.
Alma has a BYOB system in place but also serves its own changing roster of handmade sodas, including a key lime and vanilla bean (left) and peach with tarragon and lavender. The sodas we tried were great, with every harmonious ingredient clearly distinguishable from each other.
With chef Derrick de Jesus.
A Look Inside of Alma, Open Tonight in Downtown