Dining

Fanny’s Café at the Oscar Museum

FANNY’S

  • By PAIGE PETRONE

I’ve discovered another all-day café in Los Angeles that seems to be all the rage. No reservations required, with breakfast and lunch served all day. This is very clever, especially if you’re serving high quality cuisine. Well, Fanny’s, located in the new and fabulous Academy Museum of Motion Pictures (The Oscars!) is just that – super swanky and chic with a fun and smart menu. Even more special, they have an in-house bakery. So, the choices are endless and make for innovative daily specials. I highly recommend making a day of it and visiting the museum too. It really is a must-see.  

The restaurant looks something like an old Hollywood studio commissary with plush seating and high drawn dramatic curtains. I found Fanny’s menu to be exciting and elevated. There is quite an array of choices. They have all the bakery items you can possibly imagine (banana bread, pie, cookies, tarts, turnovers, fancy breads, pastries, etc.), and there are both hot and cold breakfast options with a sophisticated twist. Next, there are salads and a few trendy starters, and then a couple of sure to be signature sandwiche options. We shared the Chicken Club, Hamachi Crudo, the outrageously delicious and spicy Carrot Mash (the best!), and a dessert that was to die for, a Tangerine Tart. Yum!

For info on the museum, click here. For Fanny’s, click here.

Gigi’s Hollywood

Gigi’s

  • By Kymberly Chase

Gigi’s! This upscale French bistro in Hollywood is one of my favorite parties in town right now — with good food, a sexy space, and a celebratory atmosphere tucked away in the heart of Hollywood’s Sycamore District. 

Evoking old-school Hollywood glamour, the atmosphere at Gigi’s is both polished and convivial. The restaurant’s spacious 60-seat dining room with high ceilings, marble flooring from France, and plush green mohair banquettes lends itself to an authentic French bistro experience. The illuminated 18-seat bar is the centrepiece. Try sipping on luscious craft cocktails like the Eloise, made with French gin, or a Caribbean Tiki Hi-Ball, made with aged French rum. The menu also features an impressive French/California wine list, which can be imbibed while enjoying appetizers such as croquettes with pork confit or hand-chopped steak tartare, escargot in puff pastry, or scallops served with a peppercorn granita. Speaking of French Fries, they reappear here in what is one of my favorite steak-frites!

Gigi’s is the pre-party you’re bummed to leave and the after-party you’re hoping never dies down. It’s the perfect LA restaurant to visit when enjoying a night out. Located at 904 N. Sycamore Avenue, this unexpected Hollywood jewel is an authentic French bistro experience and it doesn’t get much better than this!

For more details, click here.

Basta’s Artichoke Salad (Photo Nina Sventitsky)

Basta

  • Story / Photo By Nina Sventitsky

For authentic Italian handmade pasta, pizza, and wood-fire cooked steaks, look no further than Basta at Whizin Market Square in Agoura Hills. Two recent meals convinced me that Basta is worth the drive. The vibe in the main restaurant is lively — leather booths and high ceilings amid the open kitchen create a cozy and bustling atmosphere. Outside options are both lovely — an open, covered patio and private room off the main room, and an open-air garden area with umbrellas and a view of the hills just across the street. The food is expertly prepared from the freshest ingredients. Handmade non-GMO flour and farm eggs are shaped into tagliatelle, pappardelle, and bucatini in classic dishes like Bolognese and Cacio e Pepe, a dish for which Basta is famous. A beautiful salad of beets and endives along with a starter artichoke dish with fresh burrata were standouts. The pizzas are wood fired — try the Verdi and Salsiccia and Fungi. You can also go big and try the Angus or Fiorentina beef cuts, all at market price. I had a super-savory veggie burger for lunch, layered with roasted tomatoes, grilled onions, slaw, and pickles. Just amazing. Another one of Basta’s signature dishes is a salad … a Cacio e Pepe version of Caesar Salad, which is so good it has been featured in the LA Times. Chef Saverio Possarelli is from Florence and his loyalty to tradition shows.

For more details, click here.

Upper West’s Bar in Culver City

The Upper West

  • By Arlene Winnick

The Upper West is one of those ‘local gems’ that needs to be elevated to ‘worth the drive from any neighborhood” restaurants.  Under the direction of Texas-born Executive Chef Nick Shipp (who one reviewer described as a “mad scientist where no two dinner experience are ever alike”), the menu offers lots of ‘sharable’ plates both large and small but fair warning, you probably won’t want to share after one bite! My favorite starters: Chargrilled Avocado with whipped goat cheese; Spicy Ahi Tuna with crunchy rice; Spare Ribs with a Sambol-honey glaze and Butternut Squash Curry. The larger plates (and they are large) include a Coffee crusted Kurobuta Portk Tenderloin; Short ribs with a killer tarragon pesto; and seriously the best Steak Tacos I’ve ever had. The Roasted Cauliflower is a meal in itself.  Leave room for dessert!

Did I mention the bar? The curated wine list is extensive and handcrafted drinks are generous. Start with the Spanish Manhattan (it’s the Vermut) or Sunset Smoke made with mexcal, guava and chili lime. For lightweights try The Westsider (think white sangria on steroids). You’ll feel like you’re in an art gallery at The Upper West as they promote a new local artist changing with the seasons.  Currently it’s Santa Monica’s Bobby Rich with her ‘Divergent Impressions.’  The glass enclosed front patio is ideal for private parties.

For more details, click here.