by Erin Davis - 0 Reviews - 6 List
Sandwiched (pun intended) between Beverly Hills and The Grove, LA's West Third Street is jam-packed with restaurants dishing out everything from authentic French fare to sushi, burgers and cupcakes. In fact, NYC import Magnolia Bakery just set up shop here. There are so many cute eateries that you might need a little guidance. Here's a cheat sheet to help you navigate through some of our favorite Third Street restaurants in LA. (Photo: Little Next Door by Mar Yvette)
Updated: October 06, 2010
It's not just a name. Tucked behind a discreet little door rests one of LA's most loved dining destinations. Once you pass through the threshold of this cozy restaurant, you realize why this spot always tops ?Most Romantic Restaurant? lists. The decor makes you feel as though you've been transported to a charming European villa complete with a fireplace, fountain and dimly lit patio framed in bougainvillea. Look around and you'll probably be in the company of many couples celebrating birthdays and anniversaries. The French-Mediterranean menu is superb, with more than a few appetizers for two. (Try the mezze platter.) Hint: If the prices scare you, head next door to the Little Next Door, the more casual (but no less enchanting) cafe that also focuses on organic, local and seasonal dishes that are much easier on the wallet.
Before there was Magnolia Bakery and Crumbs Bakeshop, and even before Sprinkles was a household name, there was Joan's on Third. For more than ten years Joan's has been a favorite for all sorts of baked goodies. From caramels and cookies to pies and those famous chocolate-coconut cupcakes, there's always something good coming out of the kitchen. Fortunately, Joan's talents (yes, there is a real Joan) spread beyond just desserts. This casual cafe/marketplace serves a lengthy menu of omelets, salads, sandwiches, cheese plates, soups, and numerous daily specials. There's also catering, picnic baskets and gift arrangements as well as a pantry area stocked so full of baking and cooking supplies that it gives Williams Sonoma a run for its money.
If you were to compare LA's various Katsuya restaurants to one another, you might feel like a real-life Goldilocks. Upon trying the strip mall original in the Valley, you possibly would remark ?This restaurant is too casual?. Moving onto the SBE-run and Philippe Starck-designed hot spot that is Katsuya Hollywood (and Brentwood), you might find yourself saying, ?This restaurant is too sceney." But once you find yourself at the lively yet laidback Izaka-ya on Third Street, you'll likely exclaim ?This restaurant is just right!? Achieving the perfect combo of cool and inviting, it's no surprise that this Katsuya is a favorite. As with the other locations, here you will find a menu of sushi and traditional Japanese pub food including the two most raved about dishes: crispy rice with spicy tuna and yellowtail sashimi with jalapenos. This also happens to be the perfect first-date spot.
A.O.C is perfect for anyone looking to spice up his/her dining repertoire. This French tapas restaurant is a favorite among adventurous foodies, but it can also be ideal if you're on the fence about trying new dishes--if you try something and don't like it, you can just move onto the next small plate. The cheese selection is vast, every plate is beyond innovative and the wine-by-the-glass list is among the broadest around. The setting is romantic yet great for groups since the more people you bring, the more dishes you can try.
Third Street is synonymous with casual sidewalk cafes. And one of the newer kids on the block is Quality Food & Beverage. With fierce competition from established neighbors Doughboys, Toast and Joan's on Third, how does this place stand out? Two words: heavenly biscuits. Although it's tempting to order just a plate of these, try some of the other American classics (omelets, salads and mac & cheese) and the not-so-common German pancakes. The space can get quite busy during lunch, but other times it can be a relaxing place to grab a coffee and read the paper without the Hollywood scene that is unavoidable at its neighboring joints.
Okay, so technically this is a bar, but it really feels much more like a restaurant ... with upscale, sporty tendencies. A dark wood bar, red banquettes, 13 flat-screen TVs, pricey drinks, a full food menu, hot waitresses and continuous star-sightings are what you can expect. (Leonardo DiCaprio, the cast of "Entourage" and even Richard Branson have all been here.) There are plenty of beers on tap and the food is upgraded pub grub. Think yummy mini corn dogs, nachos, ceviche cocktail and don't-miss deep-fried chicken wings with ?Pirate? BBQ sauce. Come for the food, stay for the game.
All hail the burger. There are plenty of unique, drool-worthy burgers to be found all over Los Angeles, and the Burger Kitchen is no exception. With over 25 burgers--there's even a chocolate burger--you'll probably have to make a weekly trip here to try them all. One burger that is especially worth noting is the ?Died and Gone to Heaven Burger? featuring the famous Pat Le Frieda meat patty topped with lobster medallions and truffle oil. Yum! There's also a menu of burgers from around the world such as the Eiffel Tower, the Godfather and the South of the Border. If you're looking for something other than beef, try the lamb, turkey or salmon patties. Of course, no burger joint would be complete without beer flights. Booze and burgers ... who could ask for anything more?
The popularity of Breadbar is proof that not everyone in LA is afraid of carbs. And if you're going to indulge, what better place to do it than at a "bar" devoted to bread? That said, the menu offers everything from pizza and steamed mussels to veal meatballs and salad & sandwich combos. What's more, Breadbar has played a big role in the pop-up restaurant trend in LA. For a few months in 2009, Ludovic Lefebvre took over Breadbar's evenings with his Ludo Bites pop-up. That was followed with stints by Red: A Tasting of Beef and Wine, the Hatchi Series, Yatai: Gourmet Street Food and Za Zen. But don't worry if you missed them--chances are there will soon be a new and delicious pop-up coming soon.
Toast is the daytime answer for where to see and be seen in Hollywood. If you've ever watched an LA-based reality show, there's about a 100% chance you've caught a glimpse of this cafe. With a mile-long menu and plenty of people watching, it's where to go for sustenance as well as a scene. You can create your own omelet, indulge in stuffed banana French toast and take home some of the best red velvet cake in town. There's quite a long wait on weekends, so be prepared. Throw on those too-cool-for-school shades, grab your dog and get ready for a true LA experience.