By Melissa Curtin (all photos by Melissa Curtin) |


Los Angeles, one of America’s most diverse big cities, brings with it an ethnically rich food scene from culinary selections and combinations that can’t be found anywhere else in our country. But this season’s list focuses on California seasonal fare with restaurants bringing European flair mainly due in part to their chefs. From grabbing a quick sandwich or healthy salad, or taking the time to enjoy quality conversation and good company over a lingering meal, influences from France, Italy, and the Mediterranean are prevalent in this southern California city. Of course, the avocado toast or avocado tartine can be found with every imaginable variation in just about every restaurant in Los Angeles.

Goldies LA in West Hollywood

This hip outdoor open air restaurant with their patio and vertical garden is our go-to meeting spot on W. 3rd Street because they offer the freshest seasonal California menu options. Their brunch list includes salmon tartine, baked eggs with buratta and grilled corn, brioche French toast, avocado toast with smoked chili flakes and lemon, and fried brussel sprouts and eggs. Plus, enjoy a fresh squeezed juice concoction. Come for their happy hour times with half off all drinks and make sure to order the Smoke on the Water, the Japanese Cocktail, or the Wildflower.



Terrine in West Hollywood

Dine at night in the romantic outdoor terrace or come solo for brunch at the bar at this award winning French brasserie by Chef Kris Morningstar on Beverly Blvd. Start with their Charcuterie Plate with chicken liver, pork liver terrine, spiced head cheese, house sausage, and more. Some of our favorites dishes include the French Onion Soup, the Mussels in a white wine sauce, and the Escargot with chopped parsley. Go rich and decadent for brunch with the Croque Monsier, the Terrine de Foie Gras, or the Pain Perdu, a vanilla-battered French toast with sea salt, caramel frosting, and maple. Dinner series occur regularly, like the pork lovers series where you can dine on suckling pig, porchetta, confit shoulder, and pig head ragu.



Ink Sack in West Hollywood

Thanks to Chef Michael Voltaggio, Ink Sack makes sandwiches better than a deli and delis are highly lacking in LA. The heavenly bread always seems to have that perfect crunch, but sandwiches are presented in new ways with ingredients you may not have thought to put together. The cold fried chicken with ranch cheese, lettuce, pickles, and hot sauce is one of the most popular sandwiches, but our favorite is the New Deli, beef pastrami with curry mustard and pickles. The basic Cheddar melt with Cheddar, Swiss, and Manchego is also to die-for. Craving breakfast? Breakfast is a lovely goodness of egg, Cheddar, potato chips, and mayo. Other worthy sack sandwich bites include the Frenchy, the banh mi, and the Spanish godfather. Sandwiches are sold at an affordable price and are small enough you can try two. Now Ink Sack’s small joint on Melrose Avenue has expanded to the LAX airport as well as to Hollywood as Sack Sandwiches Sunset.



Fig and Olive in West Hollywood

This sexy space on Melrose Place screams date night with their romantic lighting and airy sleek space. Known for their Mediterranean fare with extra virgin olive oils paired with each dish, we recommend the 3 C’s for your most memorable bites, Crab, Crostini, Croquettes. Crab Salad, Crostini Bites of your choice, and Croquettes, that is Mushroom Croquettes are the perfect sharing before a main course.



Ray’s and Stark Bar at LACMA at Wilshire Corridor

Art lovers, Angelenos, or tourists will adore the innovative art-centric foodie experience at Ray’s and Stark Bar. Sitting on the modern outdoor patio as the sunset hues glow through the modern architectural design of LACMA (Los Angeles County Museum of Art), savor the memories with a wood fired pizza like the Bianca with truffle oil cheese, or homemade pasta with Sicilian pesto. The new Executive Chef Fernando Darin has upped the foodie game. Split small plates that look like artwork, such as the tuna tartare with flowers, agnolotti with artichoke, burrata, and English peas, the colorful Spanish octopus, or the prawns with whipped polenta. Ray’s and Stark Bar is one of the only restaurants in LA to come with a water sommelier and a water menu. Yes, it is a thing! Sample a H2O bubbly that satisfies your taste buds. Need a cocktail? Don’t miss the Bee’s Knees, the Painkiller, or the Rose Wishes and Lavender Dreams.



Franco on Melrose in Hollywood

 A nondescript entrance with an unassuming kitchen leads you to a charming intimate back patio restaurant and bar where the La Brea Melrose hustle will soon melt away. The simple fresh ingredients as with every real Italian meal speak for themselves. Chef Franco de Dominicis is from a small southern Italian town on the Amalfi coast. He uses every ingredient to create flavorful simplicity, like being back in Italy. We encourage you to sample Fried Squash Blossoms with ricotta cheese and a red sauce, Calamari Fritti so crispy and light, Polpette (pork and beef meatballs), Burrata Caprese with heirloom tomatoes and pesto, and Carciofi with shaved artichokes, arugula and a zesty lemon olive oil with shaved parmesan cheese. Of course, there are endless sinful pasta options that can’t be surpassed like the thick layered meat Lasagna, the spicy Fusilli served with pork sausage beef meat ragu, Gnocchi, and Butternut Squash Ravioli. Indulge!



Butcher’s Daughter in Venice 

 Right on Abbott Kinney, this venue with mostly vegan fare will make you feel blissful just walking in with its white rustic light-spewing ambiance. Sit in the middle communal table at the vegetable “butcher” raw bar or the espresso bar area. This venue is the place to start your day with some LA staples: a juice flight, a breakfast burrito, and avocado toast with an egg on top. A bit pricey, but the people watching is entertaining. Their market area even sells yoga mats, surfboards, beauty products, wine, pressed juice, and other household items.



Scopa Italian Roots in Venice

 This roomy brick-walled gastropub in Venice becomes a social venue where diners meet friends, find a date, or dine solo. Although it can become packed and loud and a bit “sceney,” the Italian specialty dishes, pastas, and hot and cold antipasti make the experience worthwhile.  This place is best for small plates. Wines and meat dishes can be very expensive. Memorable ‘Hot Antipastis’ worth sharing include the Meat Ball Hero with burrata, basil, and arugula, Crispy Squash Blossoms, Rice Ball, and Eggplant Parmesan. Save room for after dinner treats like cannolis, Chocolate Affogato, Italian cookies, and Pavlova. Make a reservation way in advance or sidle up to their bar. Brunch is also a lesser known option.



Elysee at its most grand

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