Top Chef Alum Serves Simple Cocktails and Creative Cuisine at LA’s ink.well

For six years, Chef Michael Voltaggio helmed the fine dining hotspot Ink on Melrose Ave. While the restaurant, known for its innovative California cuisine, thrived, the Top Chef winner soon outgrew the space and set his sights on an expanded, revamped concept.

Dubbed ink.well, the team moved up to La Cienega Blvd and took over the space once home Hutchinson (and before that, Spanish Kitchen). ink.well is significantly larger yet certainly has a more approachable neighborhood vibe thanks to a stylish detached bar area, “The Library” dining area and inviting decor with warm woods and plush banquette seating.


ink.well has carried on some of his Ink signature staples such as his Egg Yolk Gnocchi and Octopus, but the menu developed has now includes a wide range of cutting-edge items including a Jjidori Chicken Thighs, Hokkaido Scallops, Dry Aged Holstein Beef Rib Eye and Hamachi Crudo.


Of course, like its name suggests, ink.well boasts an unparalleled bar experience with expertly crafted cocktails, overseen by bar manager Otello Tiano, that mirror Voltaggio’s creative and modern approach to food.

When it comes to the drinks, everything is based off the guests and the clientele we have coming through the door,” says Tiano. “The chef’s food is very similar to that in we are California modern style restaurant and I try to continue with what we do with the cocktails,

The cocktail menu is a straightforward as it comes, no buzzy names, no confusing themes, you simply order “The Vodka” or “The Tequila.”

“It’s about being simple,” says Tiano. “There is always a thought process that goes into names and we respect it but, for us, it was an idea to make simple for the guests and have it be a fun change up.”


The Vodka drink, made with St. Germain, cucumber, lime  and basil is refreshing take on the classic gimlet, while the Gin cocktail embodies the California cool vibe as it’s made with St. Germain, celery, beets and lime. The Tequila drink is definitely menu standout made with Ancho Reyes, corn, red pepper, rosemary and lemon.

“This drink is a collaboration between myself and Brittany Valles, the Chef de Cuisine,” says Tiano. “We used the extra husks from out street corn dish to make the corn water. It’s all about using as much of a product as you can.”

The Spritz made with rose, pisco, Luxardo. Aperitivo, Genepy de Alpes and grapefruit is based off one of the chef’s favorite cocktail, an Aperol spritz.

“It’s a booze-heavy cocktail but it’s super light and refreshing,” says Tiano. “You have a couple of those and they’ll put you a little behind.”

The menu also includes the Sloe Gin drink with cold brew, coca cola, vanilla, tonic and grapefruit, a spiked hot cider for the holiday season and a tiki-style rum drink made with velvet falernum, banana, toasted hazelnut orgeat, orange and lime.


“It’s a cocktail you could imagine yourself sipping on a front stoop,” says Tiano. It’s super basic in its ingredients but it’s really savory. I have a little bit of jubilation every time I try it again.”

“We also kept some of the staples of Ink on the menu including the Blended Scotch with honey, ginger, yuzu, lemon and Islay spritz and the Chef’s Special with Laphroaig has always been our take on the penicillin. It’s one of these drinks on a night to night basis that is constantly coming out of our well and guests are enjoying it.”

In addition to its killer cocktail program, ink.well boats a variety of beers on tap, something the original Ink lacked.

“The beer program has a similar California profile,” says Tiano. In addition to cold brew and Kombucha on tap, all our beers are from California, as close in proximity as possible, and rotated seasonally.”

Interior Photos:  Andy Keilen / Keilen Photography

ink.well details

826 N. La Cienega Blvd., West Hollywood (310) 358-9058


Hours: Sunday through Thursday 6 p.m. to 10 p.m., Friday through Saturday 6 p.m. to 11 p.m.


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