Echo Park Restaurants
1538 Sunset Blvd., Echo Park
Our favorite new but not-so-new Eastside bar. Lowboy is actually one half of the former LA institution the Lost Knight. (The other half is now the fantastic Adamae.) If you're familiar with the location, you'll likely have some nostalgia for its former occupant. But once you enter, you'll be happy to see the space's new life. Lowboy is everything you crave in a bar: It's moody and softly lit, it has cozy booths and a generous beer list, and the bartenders can whip up a perfectly tart Paloma or a breezy and sweet mai tai in less time than it will take you to decide on your bar snack. (The popcorn sprinkled with Old Bay is a real crowd-pleaser.)
1360 Allison Ave., Echo Park
Like its sister restaurant Tsubaki, Ototo serves an iteration of Japanese pub grub. These are the snacks and bites you devour with beer and sake (if you’re looking for sushi and sashimi, look elsewhere). Once you start ordering and eating and ordering more, you just get it. Kara-age (Japanese sweet and sour fried chicken), potato salad with pickled carrots and ponzu, and miso-grilled eggplant is food made to be paired with cold, fizzy beer. Panko-crusted fried oysters and smoky daikon need the silkiness of unfiltered sake. Come on a Saturday night with a pack of friends as an excuse to order the whole menu.
1463 Sunset Blvd., Echo Park
Recently, we couldn’t help but notice the sudden proliferation of egg salad sandwiches on our lunch menus. Eventually, through the egg-and-mayo haze, it dawned on us that every dining establishment across Los Angeles was trying to imitate the brilliance of Konbi. But they can’t. No one can. The Konbi egg salad sandwich—whole boiled eggs inside two slices of airy white bread—is light on the mayo and heavy on the yolk with a dribble of rice wine vinegar and a dollop of mustard to cut through the richness. There are only ten seats inside this sleek Echo Park café, and snagging one requires strategy. But failing that, those egg sandwiches taste just as good from Konbi’s takeaway hatch.
1538 Sunset Blvd., Echo Park
About a year ago, we caught wind that the team behind Wolf & Crane, our favorite downtown Japanese whisky bar, was overhauling the Lost Knight, an Eastside LA institution. The new place revealed itself, after a lot of excited anticipation, as Adamae, an unexpectedly unique—and stunning—bistro serving dinner (and soon brunch). What sets Adamae apart: its solid menu and prices. Come here with a date for incredible wine and food—whipped goat cheese and homemade crackers, shaved vegetable crudités with tzatziki, juicy bone-in roast chicken with the crispiest skin—and leave having spent around $50. That's an anomaly in LA. But don't let that keep you from letting the bill swell. Everything on this menu is worth trying. Finish your meal and head next door to Lowboy, from the same owners (and in the second half of the former Lost Knight space), to round out your night with a craft beer.
1356 Allison Ave., Echo Park
Tsubaki co-owner Courtney Kaplan knows her sake. She'll come to your table and tell the story behind a variety's founder or the acidity of the soil in the region where it's from. Kaplan has spent a great deal of time in Japan (she's fluent in Japanese) and built her career as a sommelier of wine and sake in some of the top restaurants in NYC and LA (i.e., Bestia). Her love for craft sakes and shochu (a traditional distilled spirit of Japan) makes coming here an education in the first ten minutes. And then you start to order, and the food adds a layer of fun. Chef and co-owner Charles Namba pulls from his Japanese roots creating authentic dishes and adding a Californian flair. A few (of many) goop favorites: tofu salad with garlic soy vinaigrette, tomatoes with whipped tofu, sake-steamed Alaskan king crab with French seaweed butter.
1814 W. Sunset Blvd., Echo Park
Chef Joseph Getskopf (formerly of Culver City’s Destroyer and Copenhagen’s Noma) opened this Echo Park restaurant-café hybrid late last year, adding yet another stylish caffeine pit stop to this gentrifying East Side neighborhood. Coffee beans come straight from San Francisco’s Tartine Manufactory, while the food is at once healthy and decadent (we’ll call it healthyish). Take the savory breakfast porridge, for instance, made of farro and mustard seeds and served with brown-butter-roasted broccoli and mushrooms. Or the addictive buttered yam lattes made with dairy-free oat milk. The space itself is so pleasant (high-ceilinged, flooded with natural light) that an entire afternoon seems to pass by in an instant when we’re here.
2100 W. Sunset Blvd., Echo Park
Every neighborhood needs a good local pizza joint and the latest offering from chef Zach Pollock of nearby Alimento is exactly that—Italian-American comfort food done well.
1115 Sunset Blvd., Echo Park
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 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). They serve California fare for breakfast, weekend brunch and dinner.
1525 W. Sunset Blvd., Echo Park
We love the fun and casual atmosphere at this neighborhood restaurant, which sets itself apart care of its bright white facade in a stretch of dark buildings on Sunset. Inside, a forest green banquette hugs one wall, while a marble bar graces the other, which are all elegant touches from husband and wife team Jaime Turrey (aka Monsieur Egg, the one-man pastry, and egg cart) and Brooke Fruchtman (formerly a VP at LACMA). They do not serve ostrich—the restaurant is named after an old railway that led to Griffith Park—but rather a selection of flatbreads, salads, meat mains like beef pot pie, and their own take on pork ossobuco. Brunch is a mix of tartines, sandwiches and salads, savory bowls, and breakfast classics like brioche French Toast and blueberry pancakes (plus lemon and ricotta).
2141 Sunset Blvd., Echo Park
Though it calls a former Vaudeville theater home, we like to sit outside, near the giant, wood-burning fire. Here, you’ll find locally sourced ingredients, and a host of craft beers and wines from small California producers. Though vegans can rejoice in their dairy-free pizzas (they do lactose-dependent iterations as well), the real pull here is the beer.
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