Culver City Restaurants
12565 W. Washington Blvd., Culver City
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).
9418 Venice Blvd., Culver City
One of the first things you'll likely notice is that the stools here aren't particularly comfortable—we're guessing this was an intentional decision, otherwise everyone would stick around for even longer. Despite the packed scene (you'll get intimate with your neighbor), this is one of our favorites in Culver City, thanks to the California-Mexican menu and the frequent happy hours.
East Borough Fraiche (Closed)
9810 W. Washington Blvd., Culver City
A collaborative effort between big-time restauranteur Paul Hibler (Suberba Snack Bar) and chefs John Cao and Cloe Tran, East Borough’s relaxed setup—tiled floors, shared tables stocked with industrial-size bottles of hot sauce, old-school booths—gels really well with the Hanoi street food-inflected menu. Here, the house specialty is tweaked Vietnamese/French standbys. The pho baguette, for example, is the sandwich version of the traditional noodle soup dish and comes with beef brisket and hoisin sriracha aioli.And definitely leave room for the dungeness crab and shiitake mushroom Vietnamese crepe. The weekend brunch menu (steamed Bao, grapefruit lemongrass salad) is a nice change of pace from the expected eggs Benedict.
3229 Helms Ave., Culver City
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.
3829 Main St., Culver City
An exciting new addition to downtown Culver City, Korean BBQ spot Hanjip opened in late 2015. It's a collaboration between successful restaurateur Stephanie Bombet (Terrine, Faith & Flower, and Viviane) and chef and TV personality Chris Oh (founder of Seoul Sausage Co, managing partner of Escala, and co-owner of Nomad Kitchen). The vibe is hip and urban—black and white murals, dark wood paneling, cafeteria-esque chairs and benches—but in a decidedly sophisticated way. The dishes are generous and the food is seriously good, so eat a light lunch if you're coming for dinner. Meat aficionados will be pleased by Chef Oh's prime cuts of beef and the satisfying pork selection. There are a few particularly impressive high-end dishes, like the giant tomahawk steak served with foie gras butter, and a few surprises like the seafood pancake, which is amazing.
12517 W. Washington Blvd., Culver City
Chef Brian Dunsmoor's Hatchet Hall joined the strip of West Washington near A Frame in 2015, taking over the large space formerly occupied by Waterloo & City. The space has largely been transformed—there's an outdoor patio in the front that leads into the restaurant, which begins as airy and light, and becomes darker (in a handsome, cozy way) as you continue deeper into its rooms. The back of the restaurant houses a second, separate bar deemed Old Man's Bar—it looks as brooding as you'd expect, but it's also beautiful, and it serves up noteworthy serious cocktails from 8pm to 2am. In addition to the restaurant's cool ambience and the charm of the speak-easy-like Old Man's Bar, there's Chef Dunsmoor's modern and fresh Southern-inspired food, which is equally pleasing. The menu rotates but you can expect dishes like yellowtail tartare with lemon aioli, grilled flat breads, roasted game hen, brilliant grilled veggie sides, and of course oysters—there's an oyster happy hour daily, 5:30 to 6:30pm. Also worth noting: Hatchet Hall serves Sunday brunch.
11275 National Blvd., Culver City
The "No Cell Phone" sign at the door sets the tone for a meal focused on melt-in-your-mouth sushi made by one serious chef. While he presents seasonal highlights and rare cuts (among other delights, we sampled a buttery escolar with a light garlic glaze, and kinka-saba, a thinly sliced, sweet Mackerel from northern Japan) his warm and welcoming wife Miyo gives the low-down on each dish. She's happy to add that she doesn't actually like sushi unless it's made by her husband—apparently his is the only technique to trust. The unusual cuts of fresh fish and the subtle twists to the traditional format, like using warm rice to contrast with the cold fish and adding sesame seeds to the typical tuna sashimi starter's ponzu sauce for crunch, make all the difference.
8830 Washington Blvd, 104, Culver City
Loqui—which started as a pop up in San Francisco’s Tartine—has their first brick-and-mortar location in Platform, Culver City.
3239 Helms Ave., Culver City
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
Maple Block Meat Co.
3973 Sepulveda Blvd., Culver City
Historically, Los Angeles hasn’t been a great town for barbecue, but that seems to be changing with Culver City's Maple Block Meat Co. Launched by Daniel Weinstock (Spago), Adam Cole (The Bazaar), and restauranteur Mike Garrett, the menu combines their intimate knowledge of food and presentation with barbecue chops gleaned from Cole’s Texas upbringing. At Maple Block, the entire butchering process is executed on site, where there just happens to be an enormous smoker (which, appropriately, is fueled by locally-sourced peachwood). The result is what many are calling the best barbecue in the city, served alongside a pared-down menu that showcases southern-inspired veggie, fluffy biscuits, and fruit cobbler that’s more than worth the sugar bomb. Brisket is definitely one of the things to order, along with the absurdly good turkey and pulled pork.
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