Last week, we had the chance to spend some extended time in Los Angeles. While we’ve certainly spent a considerable amount of time in southern California (mostly in San Clemente visiting family) and had both been to L.A. on multiple occasions, I don’t think either of us ever really got L.A. LAX is a nightmare, the traffic is brutal and we never really got the vibe or feel for the place.
This time, we stayed on Wilshire Blvd near the Grove and West 3rd St. Our hotel, the Hotel Wilshire (a Kimpton Hotel) was fine but really well located (and, of course, all Kimptons come with a wine hour at 5pm). I would agree with most of the reviews you can read on Trip Advisor about this boutique hotel. Our first room was across from the elevator on the route to the rooftop restaurant and bar and was right on Wilshire so it was, in a word, loud. We asked to be moved on our third day though and once we got back off Wilshire and the bar path it was great. The rooftop bar, The Roof, is worth a visit whether you are staying there or not. While there were times when service was slow and they could use a few more shareable appetizers, the food was good and service was generally positive. The view (below) from the roof is also worth checking out. Breakfast is good (we ate there three days).
Now, let’s focus on our food experience. We hit W. 3rd Street pretty hard. We relied exclusively on Open Table to scout out spots to eat and never had a miss. Mercado is a cool, upscale Mexican place. The fish tacos were, predictably, delicious. The carne asada was also good. The pork carnitas were a little fatty and though, while good, I don’t think we’d order them again.
Little Next Door was a great little french place also on W. 3rd. The salads were great starters, I had the endive salad (which was a little heavy on the endives) and Melissa had the beet salad (which was better). The lamb stew was fabulous and a highlight. Our friend had the shrimp fettuccine, which he also said was great and looked delicious.
We hit up the Farmers Market on Fairfax Saturday afternoon for lunch. This is a great hodgepodge of various types of food from fast food (donuts, pizza, ice cream) to sit down fare (sushi, french, cajun). The Farmers Market has been in place since 1934 and while some of its previous real estate has been consumed by “The Grove” (think upscale L.A. shopping mall and Kardashians) the classic essence still exists within the market itself. We chose, again, French at Monsieur Marcel.
We veered off of W. 3rd St only once and were rewarded by a fabulous tapas place. Zinque on Melrose in West Hollywood was well worth the trip. There were 8 of us and we ordered enough for 10 or more, just so we could try almost everything on the menu. Make sure you get one of the Pan Con Tomate (with or without prosciutto), one of the tartines and one of the flatbreads.
The highlight, however, was our trip to Canter’s Deli on Fairfax for bagels and eggs. This classic Jewish deli is open 24 hours per day and rivals Katz’s in NYC (no offense to you east coasters). It was like stepping back into the 60s (or what we imagine that would have been like). Great service, great food and cool classic ambiance. Absolutely worth a stop on your next eating tour of L.A.