Tuesday, September 16, 2008

New favourite L.A. restaurants and other places to grab a bite to eat...

Having eaten at over 35 different restaurants, cafes and bars since I've been here in L.A. I thought I'd share my experiences, as it's always handy to have personal recommendations of good places to eat out.  

My two new favourite restaurants are Spark in Studio City and Cafe La Boheme on Santa Monica Blvd here in West Hollywood.  Plus you'll also find below a variety of other great eateries to grab a bite for all budgets and tastes.


Cafe La Boheme - 8400 Santa Monica Blvd, WEHO
Cafe La Boheme on Santa Monica Blvd, West Hollywood
You'd never believe the delights that await you from this unassuming exterior on Santa Monica Blvd in WEHO.  The interior decor is dramatic with hanging chandeliers and there's a very pretty courtyard for outdoor dining.

The menu had a great selection of dishes and it was hard to choose what to order because there were so many things I found appealing.  I decided on a perfect Asian pear salad to start and scallop main course, then finished it off with one of their award-winning deserts.  All washed down with a lovely glass of Prosecco and some nice red wine.

La Boheme is a slightly less casual restaurant than the vast majority in L.A., so it was refreshing to dress up a bit for a change and the service and food were great, making it one of my new favourite restaurants.

The French Quarter Restaurant - 7985 Santa Monica Blvd, WEHO
The French Quarter restaurant on Santa Monica Blvd
On the other end of the scale we have the very affordable, but equally enjoyable French Quarter Restaurant.  Much more relaxed and a favourite with locals for breakfast, lunch or dinner.  

I actually opted for the Fish and Chips, obviously craving some UK inspired food, which was great.
Interestingly inside you'll also find a number of gay-oriented shops and businesses, selling anything from greeting cards to gifts and vintage movie posters.

Bossa Nova - 685 N Robertson Blvd, WEHO

Serving Brazilian themed food, you'll find Bossa Nova directly opposite The Abbey on Robertson Blvd, so it's always busy and buzzy and great food for soaking up all that alcohol.  On the patio area outside you can either keep drinking or if you want a quicker table sometimes, go for the non-alcohol seating option.

They have an extensive menu of salads, pastas, sandwiches and other main dishes so there's loads to choose from. 


Kings Road Cafe - 8631 Beverly Blvd, Los Angeles
Kings Road Cafe on Beverly Blvd
You'll find the Kings Road Cafe on Beverly Blvd, not far from the Beverly Center in case you want to get some air in between your shopping.  It's a popular place for breakfast and brunch at the weekends and you can eat inside or out.

I had a delicious Ahi Tuna Salad, which was an ample size and the service was great too. I'm looking forward to going back and eating there again. 

Electric Karma - 8222 1/2 W 3rd Street, Los Angeles
Electric Karma Indian restaurant on West 3rd Street
I was a bit disappointed with the food at Electric Karma.  I'm not saying it was bad, just that I've had much better in the UK but also at Surya, another Indian restaurant also on W 3rd Street.  However you'd go to Electric Karma if you wanted a younger, trendier and livelier ambience, as Surya is a much calmer and sedate dining experience.

I'd also say that a Friday night at Electric Karma is very busy, especially as they accept walk-ins as well as reservations, and the staff need to work on their customer service and smiles to make it a more pleasurable experience.


Spark - 11801 Ventura Blvd, Studio City
Spark restaurant in Studio City
Another new top restaurant pick has to be Spark Woodfire Grill in Studio City.  It was surprisingly sophisticated (apart form the small TV over the bar area), with it's lovely fresh white linen table clothes and its great table service.  

The food was fantastic.  I had the special soup of the day, which was a zucchini mint affair served warm, followed by a yummy sashimi grade Ahi tuna on a bed of jasmine rice with stir fried vegetables.

If you're in the mood they also do wood-fired thin-crusted pizzas, plus other Italian inspired dishes, which I'm assured are very good.

Plus you'll also never know when you'll spot a celebrity dining there with all the nearby film and TV studios.


Farmers Market
Ulysses Voyage - Stall #750, Farmers Market, 6333 W 3rd Street

I'm not a huge fan of Greek cuisine, but I really enjoyed the food at this Farmers Market restaurant.  We sat outside in the patio area facing The Grove, listening to the live Greek musicians and watching the world go by.  

Because I couldn't resist I started with a tzatziki appetizer and opted for a fish main course.  My accompanying cosmo was also very good.

Ulysses Voyage is not too pricey, has tasty food and had a lively feel.

The Cheesecake Factory - Next to Pacific Theatres at The Grove

As it's part of a chain of restaurants  I didn't think I'd enjoy The Cheesecake Factory, but I was really surprised by the food on offer there.

Firstly the menu is vast, so if you have to wait to be seated (we once waited about an hour for a table at The Grove), take the chance to familiarize yourself with what's on offer.

The portion sizes are huge, so don't even bother ordering more than a main course.  I've tried the Bang Bang Chicken & Shrimp and liked it much better than the Teriyaki Chicken which I thought was a bit disappointing.

Overall the food is good, there's a massive selection to choose from, so everyone should be able to find something they like on the menu and it's all at a very good price.

If any of the restaurants I've mentioned above don't sound like your taste, here's a few more ideas you may like...

  • Discover light lunches and more places to eat in Los Angeles including: Arclight Cafe bar, Cafe Stella, Cafe des Artiste, The Farm of Beverly Hills at The Grove, Lu Lu's Cafe, Prado and Paradise Cove Beach Cafe.
  • Fabulous places to eat out in West Hollywood including: Asia de Cuba, The Abbey, Cafe D'etoile, Dolce, Ketchup, Marix and O-Bar.
  • Great restaurants and cafes in Studio City including: Aroma Cafe, Firefly, LALA's, and Mexicali.
  • Where to go for breakfast in L.A. including: Aroma Cafe, The Alcove Cafe & Bakery, Mel's drive-in and Asia de Cuba.
  • Other places to eat out in L.A. including: Basix, Hugo's Restaurant, Taste, Marmalade, Morels French Steakhouse & Bistro, Buddha's Belly,El Coyote Cafe and Casita Del Campo.

    Barbara said...

    Please tell me you've eaten at The Gardens of Taxco - you can't miss that - the waiters alone are worth the trip.


    Jason in Hollywood said...

    I've not been there yet, so maybe when we fancy Mexican next time we can try it out - thanks!

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