Prolific Los Angeles restaurateur Stephane Bombet of Bombet Hospitality Group (BHG) and James Beard Award-winning chef Scott Conant announced the opening of The Ponte, a new contemporary Italian restaurant on Beverly Boulevard, in February 2017. The pair partnered with famed Parisian designer Marc Ange of Bloom Room Studio to realize their vision of sprezzatura, or casual elegance, anchored by the restaurant’s charming patio and a large bar-lounge tended by distinguished Director of Bar Programs Ryan Wainwright of BHG.
“Scott has had such an impact on modern Italian cuisine throughout his career, and I am honored to be a part of this project with him,” says Bombet. “His signature dishes have made a lasting impression in L.A., and exemplify what we’re striving for at The Ponte—just good Italian food with warm Italian hospitality that keeps you coming back. The fact that Marc was able to collaborate with us is serendipitous—his roots in both France and Italy could not be more perfect for designing this restaurant.”
Inspired by the tight-knit community of Pontelandolfo expats—nicknamed Pontes—in Conant's hometown of Waterbury, Connecticut, The Ponte will offer guests a relaxed and sophisticated experience complemented by Conant’s soulful Italian cuisine.
"I love the spirit and energy of L.A., so I was thrilled for the opportunity to get back behind the line in one of my favorite cities," says Conant. "Stephane and I have known each other for years and I've always admired his thoughtful approach to hospitality; you feel like you're among friends when you walk through his doors. That sense of conviviality, of warmth and comfort that comes with community, is exactly the vibe I wanted to create with The Ponte. I hope L.A. enjoys it."
Conant's menu will offer a wide selection of charcuterie, antipasti, and pasta, including Spaghetti Pomodoro with his signature ragu. Assorted vegetables and pizza from the kitchen’s wood-burning oven will also be served, along with dishes that celebrate the best of local California ingredients, including Roasted Lamb Neck with raisins, smoked eggplant, goat cheese & pine nut crumble; and Prawns with celery root purée, salmoriglio & crispy sunchokes.
The Ponte’s beverage program, helmed by Wainwright, will feature classic yet bespoke Italian aperitivo- and digestivo-themed cocktails to pair with Conant’s cuisine. Best enjoyed in the restaurant’s spacious bar and lounge, The Ponte’s bar will celebrate California citrus and Italian herbs and bitters, in addition to housing an impressive collection of amaro and several varieties of housemade limoncello.
Wainwright’s bar menu will feature six classic and six house drinks, all in the spirit of the aperitivo tradition: an Old Fashioned with caramelized Fernet; bitter lemon tonic and grappa; and a Negroni flight with classic Camparinette, white Negroni, and mezcal variations; among many others.
“Aperitivos and digestivos are still an untapped tradition in Los Angeles,” says Wainwright, “and we really wanted to meld the drinking cultures of both California and Italy together. The progression of drinking in Italy is an art and something we should embrace—start with a nice and refreshing aperitif, have some snacks, and see where the night takes you.”
Entrusted with the design of The Ponte is Bloom Room Studio’s Marc Ange, the Rome-born Parisian designer celebrated for his ultra-creative work with Louis Vuitton, Jean-Paul Gaultier, Ferrari, and Moët & Chandon, among countless others. An aesthetic manifestation of Conant’s menu, the restaurant space will evoke the spirit of Italy in the center of Los Angeles—rustic yet sophisticated, warm, convivial, and conducive to lingering with friends.
“I was so happy to work with Stephane and Scott on The Ponte because of my roots in Italy,” says Marc Ange. “Having just moved to Los Angeles from Paris a few months ago, this project has been an opportunity to link the past with the future. For me, it captures the warm essence of European hospitality and will be a welcome reminder of home here in my new city.”
A sprawling 20-year-old tree adorned with romantic twinkling lights is the centerpiece of the serene outdoor patio, setting the tone for warm woods, soft lighting, granite, and gold-green velvet accents inside. Facing Beverly Boulevard, an expansive and elegant lounge with comfortable banquettes and free seating lies adjacent to the granite bar, perfect for sipping on amaro and enjoying bar snacks well into the night.