The 10 Best Restaurants in Silver Lake: A Neighborhood Grub Crawl
|Octopus at Cliff's Edge|
Cliff's Edge has a ton going for it these days: one of the city's most gorgeous patios, Matt Biancaniello (the celebrated bartender who recently left the helm of the Library Bar at the Roosevelt Hotel) behind the bar on Wednesday nights, and, perhaps most importantly, chef Vartan Abgaryan in the kitchen. Abgaryan, another alumni of the Roosevelt (he worked at Public Kitchen and Bar in the hotel), is cooking food you might expect to find at a swank West Hollywood bistro: smoked sweetbreads with snap peas and poached egg; halibut with sweet peas, ramps and artichokes; octopus with fennel, smoked paprika and grapefruit. Not everything is 100% successful, but enough of it is that Cliff's Edge earns a high spot on the list and might come in at number one were this a list titled "top 10 places to watch in Silver Lake." Keep your eye on this one, kids: It's getting better all the time. 3626 W. Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles; 323-666-6116.
B. Rodell Blair's
In many ways, Blair's is as close as Silver Lake gets to fine dining. Service is hardly formal, but it's also not the casual hipster slack you get almost everywhere else: white shirts are worn, some formalities survive. The room is quieter than it is boisterous, and there's an air of refinement about the place. There are $30+ entrees and a keen sense of what California cuisine still has to offer us. Honestly, given all that, I was expecting the kind of food you find at small town upscale spots, the ones that try for fancy and don't really achieve much at all. But Blair's is far, far better than that. Good enough that I still vividly remember some creamed chard found under a juicy roast chicken dish I had more than six months ago; good enough that it's the go-to spot for people in the neighborhood when they just want to be able to count on a fantastic meal close to home, cost be damned. Yes, Blair's can be expensive -- probably too expensive for its location next to an elementary school in the most residential part of Silver Lake. But that doesn't make it any less delicious. 2903 Rowena Ave., Los Angeles; 323-660-1882.
B. Rodell Toast at Sqirl
What began as jam-maker Jessica Koslow's "collaborative, pop-up toast and coffee experiment" is rapidly evolving into one of the most beloved quirks of Silver Lake. Sqirl opened as a tiny storefront on N. Virgil Ave., where Koslow quickly got the neighborhood's attention partnering with G&B Coffee and serving toast. Yeah, toast, but toast like you've never had it before. Toast with Sqirl's outrageously delicious preserves (like strawberry rose geranium); toast with farmers market veggies, lacto-fermented hot sauce and fried duck eggs. Over time the menu grew, and now Sqirl serves some of the best sandwiches, vegetables and sweets around. Over the summer the tiny slot of a restaurant will expand and get a new coffee operation. We don't know yet what exactly the new Sqirl will look like, but we can't wait to try it. 720 N. Virgil Ave., Los Angeles; 213-394-6526.
720 N. Virgil Ave., Los Angeles, CA