The Los Angeles Art & Architecture Guide
While Los Angeles may have a reputation as a one industry town, the burgeoning art scene, and the city’s incredible, endemic architecture, tell a wildly different story. While the LACMA and MoCA may be the city’s most well-known icons, Los Angeles is packed with treasures.
A-Frame12565 W. Washington Blvd., Culver City | 310.398.7700
This space is just that: An open A-Frame, dotted with communal picnic tables lined with flimsy paper napkins and a smattering of condiments. The menu is modern, Asian-inflected comfort food, and it's all intended to be shared: Beer can chicken (complete with Kimchi) and Kitchen Fries (made from Korean sweet potatoes) are must-orders as is a punch bowl (not to be attempted alone).
Father’s Office3229 Helms Ave., Culver City | 310.736.2224
This popular burger joint—which fronts Helms Bakery’s giant furniture shop, H.D. Buttercup—is just a stone’s throw from Culver City’s gallery scene. Order the Office Burger, complete with bacon, caramelized onions, gruyere, and blue cheese (no substitutions allowed), with a side of sweet potato fries, and one of an encyclopedia’s worth of craft beers. There's another location in Santa Monica.
Lukshon3239 Helms Ave., Culver City | 310.202.6808
This lovely, loft-like restaurant—located in the booming Helms Bakery complex—serves Southeast Asian fare that nimbly straddles tradition and inventiveness. Don’t miss the crab fritters, which come with Singapore-chili jam, the spicy chicken that’s served in the form of a pop, and the pork-laced dandan noodles. There are plenty of heat lamps on the patio, making this the perfect spot to dine outside. Photos: Steve King
Patina141 S. Grand Ave., Downtown | 213.972.3331
Frank Gehry acolytes come from across the globe to see his curvaceous masterpiece, Disney Hall—so why not make a meal of it. The buttoned-up Patina is the crown jewel in Joachim Splichal’s empire of eateries at cultural institutions. Over the years, Patina has earned its fair share of Michelin stars, and now with young up-and-comer Paul Lee at the helm, the artfully prepared French fare has been modernized. Its central location downtown makes it a great option for private events, as well.
Grand Central Market317 S. Broadway, Downtown | 213.624.2378
Built in 1917, restored in the '90s, and then revamped in the past few years, this downtown market—which has operated continually for the past century—still maintains its original façade in the Homer Laughlin Building. Nowadays, you'll find specialty shops like Belcampo Meat Co., Valerie Confections, Eggslut, and DTLA Cheese, along with small food joints serving up Mexican, Chinese, and Japanese food, ideal for the downtown office crowd and tourists alike.
Commissary3515 Wilshire Blvd., Downtown | 213.381.7411
Chef Roy Choi’s sprawling greenhouse-slash-restaurant sits inside The Line Hotel in Koreatown. It’s obvious a whole lot of thought went into making this place the ideal mix of high and low. The gin and juice (we like ours with pineapple, but you can also mix in watermelon, apple, carrot, or beet juice) is freakishly potent and comes in a plastic cup, while tea is served in fine china. The menu—which, surprisingly, is illustrated—is largely devoted to all forms of veggies (try the carrots…trust) though there are lots of proteins to choose from, like a truly stellar burger and no-frills steak. You’ll also find several seemingly out of place menu items, such as deviled eggs and schnitzel, which make a lot more sense once you actually try them.
Tsujita LA2057 Sawtelle Blvd., West LA | 310.231.7373
This L.A. outpost of a popular Japanese restaurant is somewhat of a mecca for noodle snobs: Made all the more elusive because Tsujita only serves their artisanal ramens at lunch (come dinner, it’s traditional Japanese fare). Fortunately, they just opened an Annex on the opposite side of Sawtelle, where you can get bowls of Tsukemen-style ramen all day long.
Perch448 S. Hill St., Downtown | 213.802.1770
This terrace bar overlooks downtown’s Pershing Square, the home of several prime examples of classic L.A. architecture including the art deco building it tops. It has a French, bistro-themed restaurant and all the cocktails you’d want, though the real draw here is the view.
Il Tramezzino454 N. Canon Dr., Beverly Hills | 310.273.0501
Affectionately known as “Il Trem,” this is a great place to grab a sandwich on your way to check out all the commissioned architecture in the Rodeo Drive area: It’s surrounded by Beverly Hill’s most notable architectural gems, which include Frank Lloyd Wright’s Anderton Court Shops from the ‘50s (one of his only forays into retail), and Rem Koolhaus and Ole Scheeren’s 2004 Prada store on Rodeo Drive.
Otium222 S. Hope St., Downtown | 213.935.8500
Fittingly situated behind the Broad contemporary art museum, Otium’s box-like, wood, steel, and glass building can easily be mistaken for a large-scale art installation. Inside, the large light-filled dining room and communal table area revolve around a sprawling open kitchen and are meant to accommodate the museum crowds without making anyone feel, well, overcrowded. Chef Timothy Hollingsworth, formerly of The French Laundry, developed a menu that’s at times experimental but always approachable and delicious, think: artichoke and burrata, bacon tart, and falafel.
Odys + Penelope127 S. La Brea Ave., Hancock Park | 323.939.1033
This relative newcomer focuses on Brazilian churrasco, i.e. grilled meat. Accordingly, the back of the restaurant is outfitted with a wood-fired grill that churns out some of LA's best steaks, done in a traditional South American style. The menu is noticeably concise, to accommodate frequent changes based on availability, which means that the appetizers take full advantage of California's rich produce with seasonal salads and inventive vegetable dishes. This is the second, and more formal restaurant, from nearby Sycamore Kitchen's Quinn and Karen Hatfield; since Karen's manning the oven, the desserts here are not to be skipped.
Winsome1115 Sunset Blvd., Echo Park | 213.415.1818
The duo behind the Hollywood cocktail lounge, Spare Room, opened the Winsome in early 2016 on the ground floor of the towering Elysian building in Echo Park. The kitchen is run by chef Jeremy Strubel (formerly of Rustic Canyon) and pastry chef Leslie Mialma (formerly of République). The interior, which is a fun, sophisticated play on traditional diner aesthetic, was done by Wendy Haworth Design (who created the look of Gracias Madre and Cafe Gratitude, among others). Right now, they're serving California fare for breakfast, brunch, and lunch—with dinner to come.