In late September, a reader wrote about the proposed Eastern Mediterranean restaurant Armav on Monument: “I’m thrilled that Kim will have a full restaurant. Being Armenian I drive to the Valley or Glendale to get good food or ingredients. Hope it won’t be too long.”
The day is finally here.
Owner Kim Kedeshian, who was the 2018 Rotary Business Person of the Year for her take-out, eat-in food at K Bakery in the Highlands, has officially opened Armav, located in a 2,500-sq.-ft. space alongside the patio at 970 Monument.
Kedeshian told Circling the News on Monday that she spent years planning and overseeing construction of her restaurant. “It was a longer journey than I hoped for, but it was time well spent.”
Through Covid closures, K Bakery continued to offer take-out at the Highlands Plaza. When she advertised for a chef, Olivier Rousselle applied. She quickly realized that his qualifications were above and beyond for that site, but “I knew he would be a wonderful fit for Armav.”
Rousselle, who is from France, worked in London for several years before moving to Los Angeles. He worked at Michael’s in Santa Monica, before moving to the Luxe Hotel.
With so much uncertainty as restaurants closed and others worked to survive during the pandemic, “Olivier took a leap of faith” to join Armav, Kedeshian said. But soon they were collaborating on the menu and working on recipes.
The result, according to the lucky families that were invited to tastings last week, is exceptional.
“You will find totally different flavors here than anywhere else in town,” Kedeshian said.
Using Kedeshian’s family recipes and then adding a contemporary update, this restaurant will serve food that is not currently available in Pacific Palisades.
For example, the Moroccan braised short-rib dish started as a family recipe, but has evolved “through research,” Rousselle said. “One might think a dish is from a certain country, but it could have started someplace else with different spices, such as roasted eggplant, which is also found in Spain and South Africa.”
One big hit with some pre-teen tasters was the lamb chop dish made with mint, honey and garlic. “We’re supremely confident that people will be happy with their dishes,” Kedeshian said.
“We take old-world food and make it contemporary,” Rousselle said, noting that his kitchen staff “will make everything from scratch.” That includes the humus which starts from dry beans and is a three-day process. They also make their own yogurt.
There’s an eclectic wine list with offerings from Lebanon, Armenia and other regions that best pair with the food.
“We’re thinking of offering a wine flight and a dessert flight,” Kedeshian said. This would allow customers to sample a food or beverage they usually wouldn’t try.
For now, all food is dine-in, which has the advantage of allowing you to try what your neighbor may have ordered – and that’s encouraged. “In the Mediterranean culture, you share,” Kedeshian said, noting it’s just the “Armenian family” way.
And if you want to try a soup that can’t be found on the Westside, order avgolemeno (chicken, egg and lemon). In addition to regular kebabs, there are lula kebabs (minced meat with onion and spices, cooked on a skewer).
For now, the restaurant is open 6 to 10 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday for dinner. Lunch will be served starting on November 23 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Call (424)322-8589 or visit: thearmav.com.