Echo Park

Establishment neighborhood
Bar Bandini
2150 Sunset Blvd., Echo Park
Judging by the droves of locals who come out to newly opened Bar Bandini on a nightly basis, the dimly lit, refreshingly underdesigned spot met a very obvious need for a chill—but just romantic enough—neighborhood watering hole. The owners earned their stripes working in the food industry in both NYC and LA and wanted to focus on all-natural and organic wines, which they source almost exclusively in-state and serve on tap (the craft beer selection is also worth exploring). It's all supported by a menu of bar snacks (the Sicilian olives are bomb) and small plates of cured meats and local cheeses.
Ostrich Farm
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).
Guisado’s Echo Park
1261 W. Sunset Blvd., Echo Park
There's no short supply of Mexican food in LA, so when we say that Guisado's has some of the best, it's a hefty stamp of approval. Guisado is the Spanish word for stew—the kind of slow-braised, spiced meats that taste just as good with a side of rice and beans as they do starring in a taco—and that's exactly where this spot excels. Slow roasted pork with pickled red onions is the fan favorite, but they also do excellent fish, steak, and chicken. The original is in Boyle Heights, though they now have locations in Echo Park, West Hollywood, and Downtown as well.