Being a large city as it is, Los Angeles covers a lot of places for all your favorite activities. I know food is certainly one of my favorite activities, so whether you’re looking for a wine&dine place or for your ritual brunch with friends, this list covers it all. From salt&pepper to sugar&cream.
More than Waffles
More Than Waffles specializes in the authentic Belgian Waffle called, “Gaufre.” They are known for their thickness but have a light and airy texture which still makes them a part of your healthy breakfast choices. They also offer about 19 different waffles to choose from, and of course, you can create your own. Besides waffles, they have mouth-watering sandwiches, salads, pasta, chicken dishes, homemade soups, and hamburgers which include veggie burgers and turkey burgers.
CiCi’s is a full-service restaurant that specializes in its homemade recipes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. This place is most loved for their creative and original mouth-watering pancakes, French toast, waffles, and crepes. Feeling like salty food? They also serve specialty pasta, salads, burgers and sandwiches.
Vino Wine Bar & Tapas
Vino is an authentic Spanish tapas bar that can cover all your meal requirements during the day. However, I recommend it best for casual or more formal evenings when you can see its true shine. They also have their happy hours through out the day and their vine tasting events you cannot afford to miss!
AUGUSTINE WINE BAR
Augustine has a quiet, cozy feel and has some of the best wine around. Its list is paired with a small menu of food, ranging from snacks like spiced nuts and tater tots to more complex items such as beef cheek crostini and braised octopus. The shoebox space offers a handful of bar seats and intimate two person booths, along with some larger spaces for small groups, including a sidewalk patio. A great place to consider for a date and catching up with friends.
BARREL & ASHES
This spot, with its Frito pies, hush puppies, brisket, spare ribs, and so much more (including the boastful The Best Damn Chick’n Sandwich Ya Ever Had), has done so well since its opening, one of the biggest complaints has been the crowds. That said, a reservation and some savory patience may help.
SCRATCH BAR AND KITCHEN
Scratch Bar offers a super intimate and personalized chef’s tasting menu with deliciously creative and beautifully plated small plates. You won’t find any servers at the cozy space—instead Chef Lee or his kitchen team will seat you and help guide you through the a la carte menu, based on your preferences, restrictions, and what’s seasonally available. They also offer three, very reasonably-priced tiers of tasting menus, which we definitely recommend trying, along with sitting up at the chef’s counter facing the custom wood-fired oven. Imagine great bites like Camembert with cashew curry and veggies, bone marrow with spiced mushrooms on mini bone-shaped toast points, and sea urchin with pork belly and sushi rice. You’ll also definitely want to save room for dessert, like house ice cream sandwiches with sea salt chocolate chip cookie. As you might guess by the name, nearly everything is made in-house, including cheeses, bread, and charcuterie. The impressive wine selection showcases very limited production runs that you might otherwise not have access to unless you belong to a club. Also, further down Ventura, you should check Chef Lee’s vegan outpost, The Gadarene Swine.
This laid-back, roadhouse-inspired spot offers a solid selection of craft beers, including several unique and hard-to-find offerings—along with bacon-Kobe burgers and other hearty fare. Their happy hour also delivers a great deal with $4 select beers, wine and well drinks from 4:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. every day. Their brunch selection is pretty great as well with tasty dishes like the praline pecan French toast and Bubba’s Country Benedict with biscuits, ham and eggs. Pull up a stool or a hand-carved wooden seat and enjoy a bite and a drink while catching a game, or enjoy a bit of sunshine out on the patio.
THE ONE UP
The One Up is an arcade bar that offers free games to paying customers. Each console is a classic arcade set-up, programmed with hundreds of classic and unique games. When it comes to food, however, the One Up serves twists on comfort food, including goat cheese tots, pork belly pepper jack mac & cheese, Southern fried chicken bahn mi sliders, Cap’n Crunch wings and house-made Twinkies. They also do brunch. If you’re thirsty, they’ve got a full bar with craft beer and hand-made cocktails.
The growing trend of build-your-own Neapolitan pizza places arrived on Ventura Boulevard last year with the arrival of MidiCi, which offers an upscale twist to the more casual quick-fire pizza options. Beneath a vaulted, warehouse ceiling, you’ll find a beautiful 4,000-square-foot space with a curved bar wrapping around two gleaming white, wood-fired ovens imported from Italy. Adding to the charm and serenity is a 21-foot olive tree. In true Neapolitan fashion, the pizzas feature high-quality ingredients from Italy, which are quickly cooked to deliver a flavorful pie with chewy, yet crisp crust.
Though their menu is frequently tweaked with the help of their “R&D” test menu, some of the highlights have included tempura cauliflower with a Thai chili sauce, pork and beef meatballs with ricotta and marinara, and stewed chickpeas with tomato-date ragout, harissa, lebni and za’atar. You’ll also want to explore the cocktails—which include housemade infusions—like the the Smoked Salty Dog with grapefruit-infused gin and the White Negroni. They also recently launched a great brunch line-up with hits like the Nashville Hot Chicken Sando, the Ploughman’s Burger, “Eggs in Purgatory” and some killer sticky buns.
If you’d like more information on the San Fernando Valley or Los Angeles, or to have help looking for your next home, please feel free to reach out! I’m happy to help, no obligation.