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HERMOSA BEACH, Calif. — A new restaurant serving reimagined Asian cuisine with a Southern California flair is taking over Hermosa Beach with bold flavors and a trendy ambience.
The menu at RYLA offers a bit of everything from different cultures, such as the tiramisu topped with matcha powder.
“My mom is from Kyoto,” said chef and owner Ray Hayashi. “They are known for their green tea and their matcha.”
Not only does it represent Hayashi’s culture, it’s also being made by his wife and business partner, chef Cynthia Hetlinger. As a traditional Italian dessert, it’s featured because “we think it tastes good, really,” Hayashi said.
The carefully curated menu, offering bits and pieces of different cuisines and ingredients, is based on what this couple enjoys in their downtime. A mixing and matching one wouldn’t think to find all in one restaurant, but straying away from the word fusion.
“It really is just the way we like to eat,” Hetlinger said. “We have friends with different cultural backgrounds, and we love going out and experiencing food differently. So we put it together on our menu.”
Hetlinger was born in Taiwan and moved to California after college, drawn to Los Angeles’ diversity.
“I can drive a few miles and eat pretty local Taiwanese food and then enjoy these other cuisines I couldn’t eat growing up,” she said. “That’s where a lot of the soul of this restaurant comes from.”
The soul is also from Hayashi, a Japanese American from Palos Verdes and Gardena. He’s a California kid who grew up surfing off the beaches nearby where the restaurant now stands. This blending of cultures seen in their Nashville hot Japanese karaage.
It was always a dream for the couple to have their own place. After they met years ago while cooking in a Manhattan Beach restaurant, opening in Hermosa just a mile down the road is a full-circle moment. Both worked under critically acclaimed chefs, including Michael Cimarusti of Providence and David LeFevre of MB Post. LeFevre supported Ryla with restaurateur Mike Simms.
“I get to talk with Mike about opening the restaurant while we go surfing in the morning. It was an awesome experience to go through that,” Hayashi said.
Now at his own spot, Hayashi whips up a concept he wanted to serve for years. It’s a dish simple in process, but not in flavor. The black truffle fried rice combines the sweet and savory topped with an exorbitant amount of black truffle.
A true pairing of cultures, cuisines and love can be found at RYLA, located at 1220 Hermosa Ave. in Hermosa Beach.

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