The food options in Los Angeles are endless. So, you can imagine the research before heading out west for a trip like this was extensive… food-wise, anyway. With the help of http://la.eater.com and friends advice (big shout out to Lauren Shum once again!), I was able to secure some awesome reservations and taste some incredible food. Oh, and now my “Wanna Try” list for next time I head back to LA is even longer. C’est la vie!
Bestia was voted the number one new hot restaurant in LA, and boy did they deliver! They over delivered so much, in fact, that I went back a second time on the same trip. It’s a buzzing Italian restaurant with a hip vibe, situated in LA’s downtown. Be sure to make reservations in advance! http://bestiala.com/
1) Grilled Octopus & Calamari. arugula. mushrooms. fennel. aged balsamic. chili lemon vinaigrette. Grilled to perfection, this dish melted in our mouths.
2) Roasted Marrow Bone. spinach gnocchetti. crispy breadcrumbs. aged balsamic. This was one of our favourite dishes… the meat slide right off the bone and was served with spinach gnocchetti that was impeccable.
1) Margherita. san marzano tomatoes. mozzarella. basil. olive oil. sea salt. 2) Salsiccia. housemade lamb sausage. san marzano tomatoes. ricotta. arugula. fermented chilies. Both of these pizzas tantalized our tongues. The sauce was sweet and the crust was cooked perfectly. The only problem is that in Toronto, we are lucky enough to have access to delectable pizza quite frequently, so if you had to pick between a pizza or a pasta dish at Bestia, I would recommend pasta since their combinations are so unique.
Strozzapreti Nero di Seppia. squid ink. mussels. clams. sprouted broccoli. chilies. lemon zest.
The squid ink pasta was cooked to the perfect consistency and this was one of my favourite dishes. I immediately looked up how squid ink was ejected from the squid after this meal as well. Fascinating.
Crème Fraîche Panna Cotta. tangerines. honey whole wheat butter cookies.
Valrhona Fair Trade Bittersweet Chocolate Budino Tart. salted caramel. cacao crust. olive oil. sea salt. Frozen Lemon Cake (my fave!)
Recommended from restaurant (but they were sold out): “Coffee & Donuts.” spiced chestnut zeppole. whipped cream. coffee ice cream. (minimum of 10 minutes)
Petty Cash Taqieria-
Ian and I love Mexican, so it was hard to choose between all of the recommended spots in LA. We decided on Petty Cash based on the menu and location, and we were NOT disappointed! The food was fantastic, the cocktails were unique and the service was flawless. http://pettycashtaqueria.com/
Roasted Cauliflower Nachos with crispy kale and pickled fresno chilies We were really excited to try this unique take on nachos and we weren’t disappointed. Lauren, a friend who has also visited Petty Cash, said the Pig Ear nachos are also a homerun! You can’t go wrong with the menu munchies!
Tacos- It’s our style to skip the ceviche and leave more room in our bellies for tacos! We tried almost every one and our favourites were the Al Pastor, Baja Fish, Pork Shoulder and the Strip loin. Yum!
Other Mexican Options to check out in LA:
Bar Ama- http://www.bar-ama.com/
Again, who goes to the same place twice in one vacation? I do, apparently. Umami burgers speak for themselves though, and hopefully these photos will peak your interest.
My favourite was the Truffle Burger, and the peppermint lemonade I had was divine! Ian also got the smashed potatoes, which were served with a garlic aioli that was out of this world. http://www.umami.com/
Also, if you have never been to In-N-Out burger, you must go! It’s not gourmet burgers like Umami, but it’s a staple. www.in–n–out.com/
Saddle Ranch is a good spot for celeb sightings (it’s their ‘local joint’) and mechanical bull riding. The Happy Hour is where it’s at, and buskers on the Sunset Strip wrap-around patio offer a great ambiance. Also, you can order cotton candy, so… yeah.
Apparently, I like getting the same main dish every time I visit, which also means that Chateau doesn’t change their menu up very often. The drinks are quite pricy and the food is good, but the service is typically slow. I recommend asking to be seated on the patio, and remember, the employees are very strict about their no photo rule. Celebrities do frequent Chateau (we met Mindy Kaling when we were there this past visit!), so make sure you don’t act like a crazed fan and keep to yourself. Make your reservations in advance and enjoy the ambiance!
Chilled Crab and Avocado
Artichoke gnocchi with asparagus, peas and Parmesan
Chateau Burger with Fries
Interested in Celeb Sightings?-
Speaking of celeb sightings, here are some other hot spots to check out: The Ivy (http://www.theivyrestaurants.com/), Villa Blanca (worst service, but good cocktails and owned by the Vanderpumps. We saw one of the Real Housewives there, as well as some of the Vanderpumps, among others), Katsuya http://katsuyarestaurant.com/ (Featured in The Hills), Giorgio Baldi (in Santa Monica, Rihanna loves it here!), Soho House (You need a membership!) and The Abbey (Gay nightclub for cocktailing and people watching) http://sbe.com/nightlife/brands/theabbeyfoodandbar/.
This yummy brunch place has been a crowd pleasure for quite some time.
I am a serial restaurant visitor, which is what I am sure restaurateurs like to hear. Toast is an LA favourite of mine, and never disappoints. I recommend one of their homemade smoothies and their avocado, jalapeño and sun dried tomato egg white omelette with home fries. De-lish! http://www.toastbakerycafe.net/
Other reco (that I haven’t tried):
House of Blues http://www.houseofblues.com/losangeles/
Vegan/Vegetarian Hot Spots:
Located in West Hollywood http://cafegratitudela.com/, this place was tres yummy and offers a whole gratuitous experience. They also have delicious smoothies and healthy drinks! I had:
1- The zucchini hummus and cumin flatbread to start. (It. was. amazing).
2- I had the FORTIFIED bowl: Sautéed seasonal vegetables, local brown rice or quinoa, topped with your choice of sauce: sesame-wasabi, garlic-tahini, red pepper harissa or basil hempseed pesto. I would recommend getting something with a little more flavour than the Fortified bowl… I only got it because of my nut allergy and the amount of nuts in other dishes offered. Although, it is important to note that Café Gratitude won the best restaurant for allergies last year!) This place is also a favourite of Taylor Swift and Selena Gomez, who have both been spotted here.
3- I Am Glowing mixed drink- seasonal homeadekombucha mimosa with Prosecco
Bricks and Scones-
This place was adorable,have a great tea selection (a binder full!), and are diligent about allergies. Head here for a garden patio afternoon after your lunch at Café Gratitude, right down the street! Oh, and be sure to try the blueberry scones!
Some other veggie and brunch places I haven’t tried, but I have heard great things about…
Cafe Stella- in Silver Lake (Attached to a second location of Intelligentsia) http://cafestella.com/3932 Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90029,
Gracias Madre– Vegan Mexican (Between Beverly Hills and West Hollywood). http://graciasmadreweho.com/
Joan’s on Third– http://www.joansonthird.com/ 8350 West Third Street (between La Cienega Blvd. and Fairfax Ave.) in Los Angeles. A few blocks east of the Beverly Center and west of The Grove/The Farmer’s Market.
That’s it for my recommendations, but I can offer a few more that I haven’t tried (below). If you check out any of them, let me know how they go!
– 800 Degrees
– La Casita Mexicana (Mexican, obviously)
– Osteria Mozza (Italian)
– Pizzeria Mozza (Italian)
– Loteria Grill
– Paninoteca (sandwiches)
– Chi Spacca (Italian)
– Little Dom’s
– SugarFish (sushi)
– Nobu Malibu
– Intelligentsia- Coffee shop from Californiacation (In Venice Beach)
– Father’s Office (Burgers!)
– Dan Tana’s (old school Italian)
– Park’s Barbecue (Korean BBQ!)
– L&E Oyster Bar (Hip, on Silver Lake)
– The Hart + The Hunter (I think this place just sounds rad!)