Michelin-Recommended Restaurant Shuts Down, Leaving a Void in the Culinary Scene
Savida was a restaurant that made a great impression on the Montana Avenue neighborhood and the cities of Santa Monica and Los Angeles in a very short period of time. The Israeli seafood restaurant garnered a Michelin recommendation within six months of opening in June of 2022. When the restaurant closed suddenly and without any explanation on April 27, 2023, people in the neighborhood and fans all over Los Angeles were puzzled, as we reported earlier this year.
We spoke with chef Dan Smulovitz after the publication of the story, and here’s his explanation of why the restaurant closed.
Dolores Quintana: You are Dan Smulovitz, chef of Savida.
Dan Smulovitz: Yeah, I am. My partner and investor was basically the owner. I was the chef and the face of the restaurant. But yeah, basically, the partner didn’t want to continue to keep the restaurant open. Basically, it’s the same story when someone has the money and the dream of opening a restaurant. They’re very good business people but don’t understand that the restaurant business is very different.
So it’s something that, from the outside, looks fun, and you can make money when places are busy, but basically, it takes a lot of time. Investors usually don’t have the patience or endurance to do that. We did very well, and our reputation was amazing. Everybody really loved it. After six months of getting recommended by Michelin, it was the perfect kind of growth for a restaurant. But on the other side, the business people didn’t want to continue or spend more money. So that’s the reason, sadly, why we closed.
Dolores Quintana: Okay, you’re saying that the partner had an expectation of what opening a restaurant is like and the time and money you have to put into it that was not the same as what a restaurant needs.
DS: Yes, the expectations in a restaurant, a new place on Montana. It takes time to get to know the people. It takes time to get to know for the community to know the place. It’s all about expectation, business-wise. You put all your effort and energy into creating something pretty amazing because I still get phone calls from customers and emails and everything.
Dolores Quintana: People are still asking what’s going on, right?
DS: Exactly, and the way that it was closed was very dramatic. We wanted to close nicely. Then someone showed me your article. It doesn’t need to be a mystery. I put up a note on Facebook, and it was taken down. But they prefer to let it die like that. People still come over there. There isn’t even a sign that says it has been closed since April.
Dolores Quintana: I appreciate you reaching out. I really do. I’m so sorry to hear that. Because getting a Michelin recommendation can be challenging. So you’re obviously doing good work.
DS: Yeah, it’s difficult for that to happen in a place with a tiny kitchen, a new place, a new concept…
Dolores Quintana: Do you have anything on the horizon? Are you working on something new?
DS: Right now. I’m trying to do private events with Savida food. With my concept. You know. I’m working on a Kiwi Aguachile now.
The owner of the restaurant did not respond to attempts to contact them for comment.