Los Angeles is a great city known around the world for sunshine and celebrities, but it also has a great reputation for some of the finest dining establishments. The Experience Magazine was lucky enough to dine at at a dozen of the 300 restaurants participating in dineLA Restaurant Week 2016. This is our fourth year covering this epic event. Its such a great way to try out new restaurants. The Experience Magazine has selected just a few of the 300 restaurants as being a great deal. We also considered the atmosphere of the establishment and the surrounding neighborhood.
If you get a chance to stop by Bacari PDR for a glass of wine and some great gourmet food, you’ll be glad you did. Owners Robert Kronfli and Daniel Kronfli have one of the top destination restaurants in Playa Del Rey. Manager Kyle knows just how to seat people in the right location and get them a server that will guide them through the menu and the bar. This gourmet gastro pub features delicious shareable plates known in Italian as “ciccheti”. Executive chef Lior Hillel is an ex Israeli Special Forces member. After his work in the military, he went on to graduate from Le Cordon Bleu and work in New York City at Jean-Georges. You probably won’t get another opportunity to sample gourmet food from an Executive chef that used to be in the Isreaeli Special Forces.
The addition of 2,500 luxury condominiums in Playa Del Rey is a game changer for this area. Offices for Google and YouTube are now here. There’s a new Cinemark theater but few choices for a comfortable spot where locals can gather after work and share a glass of wine while taking in the sunset and cool ocean breeze. You can’t beat the atmosphere at Bacari PDR. The place gets packed. The vibe is unpretentious and relaxed. This isn’t your average beach bar. Its frequented by professionals, young people and locals. The staff at Bacari PDR know what they’re doing. They’re friendly, helpful and attentive. For dineLA, we started out with the cheese plate. This is such a nice way to start a meal here. We tried the Italian Bianco Sardo, The Delices De Cremiers from France and the Midnight Moon from Spain. There were also apples, figs and a bit of honey on the cheese plate.
The Crab Crostini is a small bite thats full of flavor. Crab meat, charred showshke/poblano peppers and a light dressing. Chef Hillel knows how to get your taste buds going. The Roasted eggplant on polenta was the next treat. Bacari PDR are experts when preparing tasty vegetarian food. This offering was light and full of flavor. Noa’s Cauliflower is my favorite vegetarian dish at Bacari PDR. A cauliflower dish seasoned with a tangy barbecue sauce. This small plate never disappoints. If you imbibe in cocktails, Bacari PDR offers the best dineLA option with an All-You-Can-Drink option. This lets you have bottomless beer, wine and sangria for ninety minutes for $20.00.
Check out the website here http://www.bacaripdr.com
Plant Food + Wine Venice
Experience Magazine’s first dining stop of the dineLA 2016 event was at Matthew Kenny’s Plant Food + Wine Venice. The setting is natural and beautiful, with both indoor and outdoor seating that transports the patrons to the Mediterranean coast and features an inviting stone fireplace. An olive tree canopy shades the courtyard garden seating area and an intimate wine room sits next to fig and olive trees. Plant Food + Wine Venice presents locally grown, plant-based cuisine prepared by Chef Scott Winegard. Their seasonal menu of vegetables, seeds, grains, legumes and house-made cheeses makes Plant Food + Wine Venice one of finest vegan restaurant in Los Angeles.
The dineLA menu at Plant delivered upscale, handcrafted, vegan art that was elegantly presented. The two dishes that stood out were the Brussels Sprouts and the Parsnip Cake. The Parsnip cake featured pear, cranberry, maple candy and satsuma sorbet. Rather than describe the minimalist fare in detail, it is recommended by the Experience Magazine that you stop by for some vegan food that is the food of the future.
Check out their website here; http://matthewkenneycuisine.com/hospitality/plant-food-and-wine/
Blue Plate Oysterette
On Wednesday evening, the Experience Magazine had the pleasure of tasting the dineLa menu from Blue Plate, Santa Monica. The restaurant is modern and tastefully decorated and immediately gives the diner a sense of freshness and comfort. The sample menu was rich in seafood options, and the flavors and aromas were amazing. To start, the oysters with cranberry mignonette and cocktail sauce were absolutely divine. The main course of roasted Branzino with pablano creme, potatoes and peppers was hearty and satisfying, and the Key lime pie was zesty and light. Each course was better than the last, and made us want to come back for more. http://www.blueplatesantamonica.com
We headed up at Seasons 52 for DineLA on a Wednesday night. The staff is so friendly here. The location of Seasons 52 on Ocean Avenue is just stunning. There is world class shopping at Third Street Promenade. The beach is steps away and the Santa Monica pier is near by. As the sun set on the Pacific Ocean, we arrived at the restaurant. The staff here is so professional and friendly. There’s a piano in the bar and the booths are perfect for catching up with friends or co workers. The dineLA menu at Seasons 52 is one of the best deals on the Westside. At $20.00 per person, they offer three courses including dessert and one of their signature flatbread pizzas. Our server, Taylor Sydejko, was so knowledgable and helpful. He made suggestions and guided us on our DineLA experience. We started with the Organic Field Greens Salad. Taylor recommended a Pinot Griggio that paired with it perfectly. To sample the flatbread pizza, we had the Roasted Roma Tomato Flatbread. This was a tasty vegetarian flatbread that prepared us for the main entree. The Cedar Plank Salmon was cooked on a cedar plank just as advertised. The vegetables were roasted perfectly. Sous Chef Robert Sanchez stopped by our table and talked about the dineLA menu. He mentioned how many different items are available for such a reasonable price. The dessert tray at Seasons 52 is so much fun. Taylor offered us a choice between a dozen different desserts. We had the Double Chocolate Brownie, Raspberry Cannoli, Blueberry with Lemon and Key Lime Pie. Each tiny treat was better than the last. Check out their website here;http://www.seasons52.com/locations/ca/santa-monica/santa-monica/4524
Detour Bistro Bar
The Detour Bistro Bar on the Westside offered an amazing four course menu for dineLA. It was a gorgeous and sunny day when the Experience Magazine stopped by to sample it. The sun was just setting and Santa Monica never looked so beautiful. The Detour Bistro Bar is known for serving small plates and full sizes entrees. The service is top notch and the cuisine is California bistro with Euro accents.
To start our dinner, we ordered a Berry Cider Spritz from the bar. This handcrafted cocktail was ice cold and tasted light and refreshing. The bartender blended vodka, Wild Berry Hard Cider, Sweet & Sour. The garnish was fresh mint. We were still sipping it when our first course arrived. The Bruchetta on a Baguette was just the right size to get the meal started. The second course that we selected from the prix fixe menu was the Grilled Summer Salad. This dish featured fresh, locally sourced corn with yellow squash, crisp red peppers, onions and black beans. Quality vegetarian food is so important for a healthy diet and Detour does it just right. The third course we had was the Mushroom Risotto. This might be Detour’s most popular vegetarian item. Made with shiitake and crimini mushrooms, there are also peas and truffle oil. This is a tasty entree and the risotto was prepared perfectly. Its so great to try out new places for dineLA. The prix fixe menu really helped us sample the best items that Detour Bistro Bar has to offer.
Check out their website here; http://www.thedetourbistrobar.com The
Its always a pleasure to stop by the Independence in Santa Monica. Known for their Happy Hour and handcrafted cocktails, The Independence didn’t disappoint with their dineLA menu. The dining room is great place to take a break from the busy Third Street Promenade. The art murals and giant windows make for a cozy atmosphere that can be used for hanging out or business meetings. When we arrived on Tuesday night, the bar was already starting to fill up for the night. We started with a Coldwater from the bar. this cocktail uses vodka, cucumber and lemon soda. It was refreshing on the warm January night.
To kick off our dineLA experience, we selected the Farmers Market Greens salad made with locally sourced produce. The salad mixes shaved seasonal fruits and vegetables with herbes de provence dressing. This was a tasty start to our meal. The main entree was the Scottish Salmon. Using wild salmon, Executive chef Craig Hopson finishes with a lemon puree, chermoula, grilled zucchini and a watercress salad. I also detected a touch of pistachio which blended well with the flavors. To finish our dineLA meal, we selected the Citrus and Mint Fruit Salad. Chef Craig made an in house Orange Sorbet that was a perfect palate cleanser to our meal.
Check out the website for the Independence here;http://www.independencetavern.com
Le Cellier Wine Bar & Restaurant
Experience Magazine also enjoyed the dineLA menu from Le Ceilier, a unique blend of French and Vietnamese cuisine located in Marina Del Rey. The wine list is extensive and features many wines from France. Although the idea of French and Vietnamese coming together in a culinary experience seems contradictory, the opposite flavors coming to make incredible delicacies. Chef Hiep Le and Bernard make this place great for enjoying a cocktail or trying great Vietnamese cuisine. Hiep Le made a few adjustments for us to make our meal vegetarian. She’s so accommodating and friendly. She took time to talk about the choices that go into the ingredients of each item on the menu.
The small bites appetizer that we chose was a vegetable, open-faced ravioli with tofu, mushrooms, and a pesto and marinara sauce. The seafood soup combined the delicious flavors of wild salmon and tiger shrimp and was perfectly seasoned with a ginger flare. the profiteroles were covered in a hot chocolate ganache that was heavenly. All three courses were paired proficiently with a glass of Domaine Pichot wine from France. A true dining experience masterpiece.
heres their website;http://www.le-cellier-winebar.com