Neighborhood Guide: La Brea Avenue's Hip New Dining Scene
It seems like every time we turn around, a new restaurant is popping up on the stretch of La Brea between Wilshire and Melrose. Enterprising restauranteurs looking to capitalize on the expansion of the Purple Line (which can't come soon enough, for the record) and the building of the massive 480-unit Wilshire La Brea complex and are opening establishments at a breakneck pace.
So although the traffic on Wilshire may be an absolute beast, it's a great place to eat. The neighborhood is ridiculously walkable, and boasts all sorts of Spanish and art deco architectural gems to take in while you graze from place to place.
All of the new restaurants mean that this little enclave of L.A. is no longer just a destination for interior design geeks, but for food fans alike. Here are some of our favorite new (and new-ish) establishments in the La Brea Corridor.
Milk Jar Cookies
If you're after a sweet pick-me-up, look no further than Milk Jar Cookies, the darling bakery that specializes in our favorite childhood treat, milk and cookies. There are several flavors on offer, but our favorite is the classic chocolate chip -- a thick biscuit that's perfectly chewy and delightful when served with a glass of milk in their vintage milk bottles. Another popular flavor is the banana split -- a banana cookie dough with chocolate, butterscotch, walnuts, and a sliced strawberry baked into the top. The place is almost too cute to handle with its country farmhouse charm, and their goods stack up to the style.
Milk Jar Cookies is located at 5466 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, (323) 634-9800
If being a "Sushi Nazi" means serving up some of the freshest fish the city has to offer, then Nozawa is onto something. He's been bringing a democratized version of his eponymous restaurant through several Sugarfish locations for the past few years, and just opened up another outpost on 1st and La Brea. The lunch omakase is a steal at $40.
Sugarfish is located at 101 South La Brea Ave, Los Angeles, (323) 488-3636
The stunning space at Republique (Photo by Krista Simmons/LAist)
Walter Manzke's California-inspired French cuisine has been raved about on this site many times. But it's not just worth stopping by for dinner; his wife Marge also happens to make the most incredible breads and pastries that are serverd during the daytime hours of the restaurant. That and a cup of coffee makes for a magnificent start to a day. They also are serving lunch til 3 p.m., and make great cocktails if you're stopping by in the evening hours.
Republique is located at 624 S La Brea Ave, Los Angeles, (310) 362-6115
This humble little beer bar is the perfect place to go if you actually want to see and hear your company while you nosh on share plates like beer braised pork belly or fried chicken with applewood smoked bacon gravy. They have heaps of craft beer on tap and a well-curated menu of beer-friendly eats.
Rascal is located at 801 S. La Brea Ave., Los Angeles, (323) 933-3229
Photo of flakey croissants at La Brea Bakery by Krista Simmons/LAist
La Brea Bakery
Nancy Silverton started up her little bakery nearly 25 years ago, and now it's blossomed into a worldwide sensation. The cafe and bakery re-opened a month ago in a brand new, uber-huge space on 6th and La Brea, bringing goodies like rosettes, baguettes, and croissants to the locals. They also do full lunch and dinner service with pizza, salads, sammies, and more. They even have a beer and wine license, a definite step up from the old digs.
La Brea Bakery is located at 468 S La Brea Ave, Los Angeles, (323) 939-6813
Bludso's Bar & Que
Aside from the gorgeous Spanish revival homes and awesome walkability of the neighborhood, having Bludso's within earshot of our apartment was a huge selling point of moving into the area. Kevin Bludso and his team smoke Texas-style brisket, ribs, and chicken (yes, they manage to make even chicken breast taste good) to perfection. An added bonus is that their restaurant always has ESPN on the screen -- a perk for those of us who have opted out of cable plans. Don't forget to order up a side of the collard greens and mac n cheese.
Bludso's Bar & Que is located at 609 N La Brea Ave, Los Angeles, (323) 931-2583
Photo of some juices at Clover by Krista Simmons/LAist
This cold-pressed juicery is just over a year old, but they're always adding new flavors into their repertiore. A second location is over next to the Churchill, and they're about to open an outpost in Silver Lake, too. Our personal fave is the current seasonal offering, made with prickly pear and coconut water. Add some spirulina into the mix, and it's the perfect green juice to tote around after a hot yoga class at Modo next door.
Clover Juice is located at 342 S La Brea Ave, Los Angeles, (323) 609-3903
Karen Hatfield makes outrageously good pastries at Sycamore Kitchen. The sticky, caramelized babka rolls and house made glazed donuts topped with pistachio crumbles will seriously make your head spin. Thankfully there's great coffee on order to help you realign too, like the Tuscan Latte made with Stumptown brews infused with rosemary simple syrup, honey and caramel to make for an aromatic brew. There's also cold brew form the Portland-based brewer, worth taking to-go to help keep you fueled throughout the day.
Sycamore Kitchen is located at 143 S La Brea Ave, Los Angeles, (323) 939-0151
This modern taco shop and gastropub specializes in tinga -- the Pueblan shredded chicken dish a tomato and chili chipotle sauce -- like its name suggests. But that's not all that's good. Craft beers are great, as are the cochinita pibil. It's the casual neighborhood spot that every LA enclave should have.
Tinga is located at 142 S La Brea Ave, Los Angeles, (323) 954-9566