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10 Must-Visit Stylish Restaurants Around LA

By Lesley Balla
September 3, 2013
Photo by: Chi Lin

Sometimes, a restaurant's decor seems to impact your perception of what's on the plate or in the glass. Other times, it offers a conversation piece - an opportunity to chat about the cool wood-log walls, sweeping views or colorful murals with hidden messages in the markings. When you want more than an everyday setting, check out these 10 spots with fantastic, unusual or stunning of-the-moment design.

  • Photo by: Lesley Balla

    Terroni Downtown

    The second outpost of Terroni will give its Beverly Boulevard sibling a run for the money. The stunning space, fashioned out of a 1924 bank building in the Fashion District, has soaring ceilings, high-arched windows that let in loads of light, and a huge bar welcoming all in front. The main dining room is centered by the open kitchen, with extra private-dining rooms in the back and upstairs. There's a lot of Italian everything, from the chandelier mimicking the Formula One Italian Grand Prix racetrack, to the wall that's like a map of favorite dishes and ingredients (pannetone, capon 'mbuttunato, carote, fagioli) and a disco-y soundtrack bouncing off all that marble.

    802 S. Spring St.; 323-954-0300

  • Photo by: Lesley Balla

    Laurel Hardware

    Yes, the sign is the original hardware-store sign, and no, it's no longer a hardware store. In the front, look for a kitchen and tables with sliding windows that open to the sidewalk; in the back, a long bar, cozy nooks and fantastic high-back chairs fill out the lounge, while a charming tree-lined outside courtyard completes the scene. Tables are made of metal stools, the wallpaper is cool and so far the staff is both attractive and helpful, which still seems hard to come by in this town.

    7984 Santa Monica Blvd.; 323-656-6070

  • Bestia

    When it comes to Arts District chic, we think this Italian spot from Bill Chait and chefs Ori Menashe and Genevieve Gergis pulls it all together. Hidden in a corner surrounded by lofts, the brick walls, industrial elements, cool light fixtures and meat-hook chandeliers let you know you’re not in the suburbs anymore. It’s the perfect setting for a glass of vino and a plate of Menashe’s housemade charcuterie and pastas.

    2121 E. Seventh Pl.; 213-514-5724

  • Petty Cash Taqueria

    From the uni-topped guacamole to the smoky mescal cocktails, chef Walter Manzke and Julian Cox’s bar crew are hitting it out of the park with this taqueria concept on Beverly Boulevard. The wall-covering mural on one side of the room was done by street artist RETNA, and it’s not just a bunch of lines and shapes; a quote from Nelson Mandela is hidden within. The picnic tables, open-air bar and convivial atmosphere really make this place pop.

    7360 Beverly Blvd.; 323-933-5300

  • The Bazaar

    We still get a rush when we walk into Jose Andres' first LA venture at the SLS Hotel. The multifaceted Philippe Starck-designed space is frenetic, colorful, sexy and almost sensory overload, but that’s what makes it so fantastic. From the separate rooms - the cool, white, earthy Blanca; the dark red Rojo; Bar Centro with its tables embedded with video; and the Patisserie and its gleaming glass jars full of sweets like saffron gelée, cookies, bon bons and chocolates - to the overall scene, everyone should experience it at least once.

    465 S. La Cienega Blvd.; 310-246-5555

  • Photo by: Elizabeth Daniels

    Goldie’s

    Of course we love the look of Eveleigh in West Hollywood, specifically for its open-air dining room out back that can sometimes feel like a farmhouse far, far away. But its sibling on West Third Street has its own look and feel, designed by owner Nick Mathers himself. The cut logs that fill one wall, the retractable garage door in front that opens to the patio, the hanging garden on the wall - it evokes a little Modernist style plus rustic chic, all packed into one very cool space.

    8422 W. Third St.; 323-677-2470

  • Photo by: Mari Vanna

    Mari Vanna

    The former Bastide is now a house of Russian delights, from the bubbe-chic decor and all of its tchotchkes, to the house-cured herring and borscht, and the huge list of infused vodkas (dill vodka, anyone?). It almost looks like your grandmother should be serving tea and crumpets here, but it’s really some rowdy karaoke and vareniki (stuffed Ukranian dumplings).

    8475 Melrose Place; 323-655-1977

  • Photo by: Chi-Lin

    Chi-Lin

    If you didn’t know any better, you might think Chi-Lin meant “dark room full of butterflies,” because that’s exactly what you’ll find at the new West Hollywood Chinese-inspired spot from the guys behind RivaBella (next door) and BOA Steakhouse (across the street). The room is slick and sexy - as are the servers in their glittery mini dresses and go-go boots - with reflections of butterfly wings, tree branches and flickering lights from hundreds of paper lanterns bouncing off of mirrored walls. It might not be the first place you think of for Peking duck, but you should go.

    9201 W. Sunset Blvd.; 310-278-2068

  • Photo by: Gjelina

    Gjelina

    The ceiling looks like a wood floor, the floor is made of brick, and the furniture is all mismatched on the patio. Still one of the most difficult restaurants to get into - mostly because you can’t make a reservation unless you’re a party of six or more. The design doesn’t do much to soften the volume of a packed room, but it does perfectly capture Venice’s Abbot Kinney vibe.

    1429 Abbot Kinney Blvd.; 310-450-1429

  • Photo by: Susan Goines Becerra

    Acabar

    Once you walk in through the tall brass doors, you’re immediately transported to a world of Moroccan fantasy, albeit one with a Hollywood twist. The new restaurant from the people behind The Little Door and director Roland Emmerich reconfigured the former Dar Magreb into one open space with a gorgeous atrium and skylight surrounded by tall columns, colorful hand-painted wallpaper on beamed ceilings, and a swank lounge with flecks of light from pierced lanterns dancing on the ornate walls. Quite the place for things like “porn bread,” citrusy ceviche and flame-topped Zombies from the tap.

    1510 N. Stanley Ave.; 323-876-1400

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Places Mentioned

Bestia

Italian • Downtown

Food25 Decor24 Service23 Cost$59
 
 
 
The Bazaar by José Andrés

Spanish • Beverly Grove

Food27 Decor27 Service25 Cost$83
 
 
 
Goldie's

Californian • Beverly Grove

Food- Decor- Service- CostE
 
 
 
Gjelina

American • Venice Beach

Food26 Decor21 Service18 Cost$46
 
 
 
Acabar

Mediterranean • Hollywood

Food- Decor- Service- CostE
 
 
 
Petty Cash Taqueria

Mexican • Fairfax

Food- Decor- Service- CostM
 
 
 
Mari Vanna

Russian • Beverly Grove

Food- Decor- Service- CostVE
 
 
 
Terroni

Italian • Downtown

Food22 Decor20 Service19 Cost$35
 
 
 
 
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