Living in Los Angeles, I am exposed to a lot of different types of cuisines. From creating my own recipes, to sitting down at some of the best restaurants around this busy city, I have come to know about food. Meals bring people together in my world, and I love catching up with friends over a lovely breakfast, lunch or dinner. Being that I am in the bar/restaurant industry, I have decided to review three of my favorite Los Angeles restaurants that I have visited in the past six months. They may be a little pricey, but they are worth it.
Recently, I had the pleasure of dining at Bestia in Downtown LA. Now, this restaurant is booked for months, and considering we had no reservation, we decided to get there 30 minutes before it opened to ensure we got a table. Once those glorious warehouse doors opened, we found a fancy, yet comfortable seat right in the middle of the action; at the bar. We started our culinary adventure with cocktails. I chose the Old Fashioned with bourbon that had been infused with Lardo. This Old Fashioned was one of the most exotic tasting bourbon cocktails I have ever tasted. It had a wonderful smooth texture and the orange peel played off the smoky bourbon for a forceful finish. As we settled into our drinks, we kicked off our meal with Lobster Crostini. Some of you may be thinking, “Okay so some lobster on a little piece of bread, what’s so special about that?” And I may have been thinking the same thing before it landed on the bar right in front of us. This lobster is tossed in a delectable saffron and squid ink aioli, and is accompanied by pickled chilies, basil, and chives. It was truly a treat. The next course we chose was Roasted Bone Marrow with Spinach Gnocchi. When I say that this is one of my favorite dishes of all time, I am not exaggerating. The bone marrow coated the gnocchi and created this surprisingly fresh yet luscious flavor that all beefy goodness. For the second-to-last course, we had Tagliatelle pasta with a Beef Ragu. The pasta was cooked perfectly al dente and the sauce was rich and zesty.
There were many choices for dessert, but we chose Maple Fritters with Homemade Coffee Ice Cream which was named Zeppole AKA Donuts and Coffee. The fritters were melt-in-your-mouth delicious and the coffee ice cream was the perfect companion. LAWeekly spoke about this wonderful dessert by saying, "But when they came, the zeppole were good — pillowy, crunchy with sugar, addictive. I can easily see them becoming a signature of this restaurant (Rodell, 2013)." Top all of this off with a bottle of wine, and you will be in food heaven!
Although Bestia is one of my top five favorite restaurants in LA (there’s no way I could choose from the whole country or we’d be here all day), this next restaurant is in my top three. SCRATCH bar and restaurant in Encino has one of the best tasting menus that I have ever had. The server begins by asking you what about the menu you do not like or what you may or may not be allergic to. I won’t go over every single course as there are 10 to 12 courses, including dessert. However, the tasting starts off with smaller courses that have immense flavors. Small plates such as a Mussel Shooter, Escolar Sashimi, and Steak Tartar are unique, while other dishes are more classic takes, such as Salmon Curry, Filet Mignon, and homemade pasta. This place is a wonderful place to celebrate a birthday or anniversary. Their wine selection is superb and the service is impeccable.
The final restaurant I have chosen has a special place in my heart. I celebrated my 24th birthday at Firefly in Sherman Oaks and each time I return, I enjoy the food, service, and the atmosphere just as I did that special night. The last time I sat down for a meal there, I ordered Filet Mignon and Roasted Tomato Risotto. The filet had creamy mashed potatoes with a red wine glaze spread across the plate. The risotto was cooked perfectly, and was accompanied by fire roasted tomatoes that had wonderful subtle smoky flavor. We enjoyed a hearty bottle of cabernet that paired well with both dishes. Lastly, I we enjoyed a memorable dessert, and one that I havebeen trying to recreate. This dessert is, hands down, the best dessert I have had in LA, period . It is delivered in a shallow dish with few garnishes, mainly because it doesn’t need them. It is a chocolate, pudding-like dessert that comes with a hazelnut caramel drizzled on top. The dessert is topped off with chocolate-covered rice balls that add a flavorful crunch. This restaurant does few things wrong because it focuses on the smallest detail.
All inclusive, these restaurants introduce new ideas to an already trendy city by focusing on innovative food, ambiance, and spectacular service. With extensive menus that offer a wide variety of dishes and intriguing cocktails, these spots attract diners from around the city. Their creativity truly outshines those establishments who choose to focus on the status quo. I highly recommend any of these dishes as well as the overall experience at these restaurants.
Rodell, B. (2013, January 3). Bestia Does It Best. LA Weekly. Retrieved February 9, 2017, from http://www.laweekly.com/restaurants/bestia-does-it-best-2612542
Photo by Bestia Licensed Under CC by 2.0
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