Gastronomy 101, a blog about food and Los Angeles restaurants

2012 Update: Farm-To-Table Restaurants in Los Angeles

I originally posted this article in 2007, but it's popped up again on my most viewed articles Since people seem to be interested in this topic, I figured I would update this article for the current restaurant climate in L.A. Although most of the restaurants originally discussed are still great choices, I wanted to take off any that were no longer with us and add some new ones that are additional great choices. So if you are looking for dining options in Los Angeles that feature seasonal and often locally farmed ingredients, here is a current selection of top options that are either personal favorites of mine, or widely acknowledged to be among the best restaurants in the city:

Canele: I have not yet been to Canele, but from what I know of it, it is a small neighborhood place beloved by folks in the area. Owned by a former commodities trader and a seasoned restaurant manager, this is the kind of place where you will find the menu chalked up on a board, and people who stop in for dinner on a regular basis.

3219 Glendale Blvd., Atwater Village, CA (323-666-7133)

Who has reviewed Canele?:
LA Times
LA Weekly
Kevin Eats
MW Eats

Wilshire: Honestly, I did not expect to love this place as much as I did. From the front it looks kind of like a generic fancy restaurant for Westside preppies, but inside (or preferably outside) what you find is a delicious, seasonal menu served in a gorgeous setting. I recommend the outside dining if the weather is at all amenable. They have a beautiful backyard space with an elegantly rustic atmosphere perfectly suited to the food. It is an excellent place for group dining, as you will want to share everything. Their menu changes daily and not only do they support local farmers, but wish to be a neighborhood hangout and entice regular diners. Note: Since I have dined there, Chef Andrew Kirschner has left Wilshire and now has a new restaurant, Tar & Roses, in Santa Monica.

2454 Wilshire Blvd., Santa Monica (310-586-1707)

Who else has reviewed Wilshire?

Caroline on Crack (dessert/drinks)
LA Weekly (Happy hour)
LA Times
Nom Nom Cat

Rustic Canyon: I was dying to eat at Rustic Canyon ever since I met owner, Josh Loeb, who came to speak at a wine class I took about his experience opening and running a restaurant. He is very cute and a really nice guy and he and his wife sound like a lovely couple to spend time with. Josh has a great philosophy about food and is a certified wine expert, while his wife, Zoe Nathan is a superb pastry chef. The restaurant is cosy but modern as designed by the couple themselves. Rustic Canyon grew out of the happy times Josh had at the farmer's market dinner parties he had with his friends, and he wanted to recreate that feelig in a restaurant. The food is seasonal, local if possible and constantly changing. Josh and his wife also have several offshoot places that have opened in the wake of Rustic Canyon's success: Huckleberry (a bakery and cafe that serves up a ridiculous good breakfast), Milo & Olive (pizza, pastries & bread) and Sweet Rose Creamery (handmade ice cream).

1119 Wilshire Blvd., Santa Monica, (310-393-7050)

Who else has reviewed Rustic Canyon?

Jonathan Gold
Kevin Eats
Rustic Canyon Articles on Eater LA

Eva: Eva is one of my current favorite restaurants in all of Los Angeles. This is partly because it is local enough that I can walk there, but it is also because of the magic that happens when a person who is truly talented and passionate opens his own small restaurant, supported by an equally passionate and dedicated wife. If you go to Eva even a few times, perhaps even only once, you will leave thinking of Chef Mark Gold and his wife Alejandra as friends. They treat everyone who comes in as a true guest and they will do anything to make you feel comfortable and welcome. The menu is always a mix of new and interesting things with standard favorites. Chef Mark has recently returned from a stage at NOMA in Denmark, currently considered the best restaurant in the world so I highly recommend a trip right now to see how his visit there has influenced his cooking.

7458 Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles, 323-634-0700

Who else has reviewed Eva?

LA Times
Your Next Bite

Cook's County: This rather low-key little restaurant on Beverly Blvd. is a hidden gem. I shouldn't have to say it, but it's a chalkboard menu type of place that serves fresh, seasonal food from a chef who was trained under L.A. greats Nancy Silverton, Mark Peel and Suzanne Goin. I adore this place. It's a somewhat casual neighborhood place that still feels special and the food here is beautiful and flavorful. The menu proudly boasts a long list of the local farmers they support, and the current selection is filled with seasonal ingredients like winter squash, fuyu persimmon, black kale and satsumas as well as hearty cold weather choices like fisherman's rice, duck confit and braised short ribs. If you are not a meat eater, I can attest that the vegetarian choices are every bit as well-prepared and tasty as the meat choices.

8009 Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles, (323) 653-8008

Who else has reviewed Cook's County?

Jonathan Gold
Delicious Life (photos)
Kevin Eats

Gjelina: I have not eaten at Gjelina myself, but it is definitely a hot spot of the moment with lots of food lovers raving about it. The menu consists of small plates, pizzas, a much praised wine list and the item that consistently gets called out as a must-try item -- the butterscotch pot de creme. Reservations are hard to get, but walk-ins are also accommodated at communal tables if you are open to getting friendly with your fellow diners.

1429 Abbot Kinney Blvd., Venice (310) 450-1429

Who else has reviewed Gjelina?

Food & Wine
Jonathan Gold
Kevin Eats

The Tasting Kitchen: Another place I haven't (yet) tried for myself, but gets a ton of praise in local food circles. According to some, this place is worth it just for the bread and butter. The menu seems to be a modern take on classics served as small plates or pasta dishes with a casual, fun feel to the restaurant, a nice wine selection and great cocktails. It's definitely a hot spot right now so expect it to be overrun by a trendy crowd for a while, but like Gjelina there's a communal table is reservations are hard to come by.

1633 Abbot Kinney Blvd., Venice (310) 392-6644

Who else has reviewed The Tasting Kitchen?

L.A. Confidential
L.A. Times
LA Weekly/Jonathan Gold 

Hatfield's: Husband and wife team Karen & Quinn Hatfield have settled in nicely to a Melrose location that has been the bane of lesser restaurants. The tasting menu is heaven for locavores and you can choose a regular or vegetarian version. I highly recommend this restaurant for veggies - even though I am a dedicated omnivore, I choose the veggie menu here because it is so good. The service is fantastic and they have managed to transform the somewhat large space into a tranquil and comfortable dining environment.

6703 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles (323) 935-2977

Who else has reviewed Hatfield's?

L.A. Times

Salt's Cure: While Salt's Cure, as the name suggests, is known mainly for their meat, I am known to order a soup and salad more often than not when dining here. The soup is probably the best soup in town and whenever it gets the least bit chilly, I find myself dreaming of a trip to Salt's Cure. Another favorite dish of mine is the crab cake - I will get it whenever it pops up on the menu. My husband is a big fan of their chicken, although be warned that some of their meat dishes come in generously manly portion sizes. Pretty much everything is butchered and made in-house and the small, friendly and knowledgable staff and give you as many details as you wish on menu items. They have an excellently curated wine and beer list. The space is tiny so if you want a table reservations are a must. We have had great luck with just showing up for a counter spot, and you get an up close and personal view of food prep plus banter opportunities with the chefs.

7494 Santa Monica Blvd., West Hollywood (323) 850-7258

Who else has reviewed Salt's Cure?

L.A. Times
L.A. Weekly/Jonathan Gold
Kevin Eats

Lazy Ox Canteen: Gotta represent downtown so I present you with Lazy Ox Canteen. This foodie paradise in Little Tokyo features an eclectic menu of seasonal small plates with standouts generally agreed to be anything made from a pig and a great burger. This is definitely a "cool" place that attracts a younger crowd but it's location and excellent food make it a nice choice for anyone going to a show or museum and looking for a dinner/lunch option in the area. Note: Chef Perfecto Rocher is no longer with the restaurant as of this October. Travis Chase, formerly of Tin Table in Seattle, is the new executive chef at Laxy Ox.

241 S. San Pedro St., Downtown LA (213) 626-5299

Who else has reviewed The Lazy Ox Canteen?

L.A. Times/Jonathan Gold
L.A. Times/S. Irene Virbila
Kevin Eats


Did a little birdie revamp and copyright your blog for the new year? It looks fantastic!

said by Anyanka at 1:14 AM Delete

Creative Commons license The content on Gastronomy 101 may be reproduced under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 License.