Our experience with LA’s food scene was amazing, this city is bursting with top quality dining experiences, from kitschy cafes, to ultra-trendy West Hollywood restaurants, there’s literally something for everyone here. Add to all of this, the tasty Californian produce used throughout LA and your faced with some seriously tough decisions on where you should eat.
Our top 3 picks were great for us because they all offered something a little different, that didn’t break the bank, and we left feeling very satisfied.
In no particular order…
Openaire at the Line (formaly Commisary)
Formally known as Commissary, and just an fyi we dined here during the Commissary days, but rest assured it’s still just as breathtaking now as it was then, and with a whole new menu. It is located next to the pool area at the Line LA hotel, right in the heart of Koreatown. You head inside Line LA and take the elevator up to the second floor, once you walk out you will see it, trust us! Located within a gorgeous greenhouse, overlooking the city below, this green oasis invites diners in for a healthy, tastebud-pleasing meal that’s sure to satisfy all.
Commissary was famous for its Rainbowl power lunch. This is a Koreatown take on a Buddha bowl, complete with grains, quinoa, and rice, then you choose your vegie serving, and we added some protein to the bowl –the K-Town Fried Chicken (it’s eating fried chicken without the guilt…).
The menu is great, but the setting is the main feature here. Openaire is absolutely stunning, set in a real-life greenhouse, with the natural light filtering through the greenery all around you. This environment makes for the perfect calming atmosphere to really savour the moment and enjoy your meal. This is definitely a lunchtime spot, as it’s perfectly situated on the pool balcony of the hotel so it’s the perfect place for a sunny LA day. If you pack your swimmers you can also use the pool, and if not, it’s always nice to grab a drink from the extensive bar menu and take a seat poolside and let the LA afternoon sun be your relaxation companion.
No trip to Openaire is complete without a stop to the cutest little gift store you can find in Koreatown, Poketo. Poketo is located on the ground floor of the Line Hotel, so it’s an easy stop before you head off for more adventuring after your dining experience. It’s packed to the brims with cute gifts and design goods, many acting like LA souvenirs without the tourist trap look and feel to them. We opted for a P.F. Candle Co. candle because Jake just can’t help himself around candles.
3515 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles
Gjelina is situated on the very on-trend Abbot Kinney Blvd, just a few blocks back from Venice Beach. We chose Gjelina as our dinner location based off a few locals who recommended we give it a go, and boy were we pleased we did.
Atmosphere is a HUGE thing for us in making or breaking a dining experience and Gjelina honestly has this down pat. Yes, we needed to use our phone torches to read the menu because the lights are very dim, but the dimness really adds to the mysterious and pseudo-private dining mood. You feel as though you could be the only people in the restaurant, and this is definitely amplified by the attentive and knowledgeable staff, who are more than happy to suggest their many favourite menu picks.
This brings us to the menu. Dining for two we chose to order from each section of the menu and share everything. From the vegetables try the wood roasted cauliflower with garlic and chili vinegar, from the pizzas we opted for the house made chorizo, tomato cream, fennel, chilli and basil, and from the plates the crispy duck confit. The food was melt in your mouth good, the presentation was beautiful (if only the lighting were better we would have had a photoshoot no doubt), and the service was quick, there’s nothing worse than sitting and waiting for your food as your stomach grumbles out for sustenance.
We made a reservation and strongly suggest you do too as it is very popular. Ask to be seated near the outdoor fire pits for that extra glam to your dinner atmosphere.
1429 Abbot Kinney Blvd, Venice
The Butchers Daughter
The Butchers Daughter is another Abbot Kinney Blvd institution that earnt its place on our top 3 list (Abbot Kinney is honestly the place to go for amazing EVERYTHING, seriously!). The first thing you need to know about the Butchers Daughter is that it is an entirely vegetarian restaurant, and also has a strong focus on vegan meals as well, but don’t let that turn you off if vego is not your thing! We are serious foodies and love our meat, it’s rare for us not to have some form of protein with our meals, but the Butcher’s Daughter does vegetarian so well we strongly suggest you give it a try. And hey, if vego is your thing, then this is definitely the place for you!
Once again, atmosphere, a big must for us, and the Butchers Daughter does not disappoint. We, very naively, did not make a booking for lunch here, but we rocked up around 12 and were seated within half hour, it was at the bar, but that wasn’t a problem. The bar seating was great, we were seated right in the heart of everything and we even made friends with our neighbours to organise a little photoshoot between us all.
The food here was very filling and we even ordered a BURGER at a vegetarian restaurant… And it was hands down one of the best burgers we have ever eaten. We ordered the impossible burger, topped with gruyere, caramelised onions, rocket, fig mustard and harissa mayo on a brioche bun, and the patty was made out of black bean and buckwheat. The impossible part was no lie, the size of this burger is impressive and poses a challenge to any seasoned foodie, but honestly the tastiness of it all blew our minds.
They also have a unique range of drinks and wellness lattes available, definitely give the Matcha Master or iced drip brew a go, they were the perfect complements to our meals, and makes you feel that little bit trendier.
If you missed the Butcher’s Daughter during your time in LA don’t fret! They also have 3 stores in New York City covering NOLITA, West Village and Williamsburg; but do yourself a favour and do not miss this dining experience!
1205 Abbot Kinney Blvd. Venice
One thing we learnt very quickly in LA was to always make a reservation online, it just helps avoid unexpected waits, and some restaurants can be extremely popular, something us small town Brisbanites had to get our heads around very quickly.