Elf Cafe

  • Restaurants
  • Dinner
1 Love It
Photograph: Jakob N. Layman
Elf Cafe
Echo Park

The quintessential Echo Park restaurant—a tiny, romantic, cash-only cave where the staff all look like members of some obscure art band who sing about responsible hedonism and turn veggies into magic. Farms are named on the menu, and chef/owner Scott Zwiezen is serious about his food philosophy, from local and non-GMO ingredients to specified sea salts and cooking oils. Early proponents of the kale salad ($13), the kitchen at Elf also makes a rich, wild exotic mushroom risotto ($22) and a housemade labneh ($12) topped with date-olive tapenade— tangy, cool and ready to be scooped up with pieces of warm pita.

Venue name: Elf Cafe
Address: 2135 W Sunset Blvd
Los Angeles

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Kate W

This intimate vegetarian restaurant in Echo Park plates the most inventive, rich dishes, replacing meat with earthy mushrooms and melted cheese. It existed forever as a tiny, cash-only, BYOB joint, but recently expanded into the space nextdoor, added a wine list, started accepting credit cards and began serving brunch. As happy as I am for the venue's success, I do miss running across the street for a bottle of wine before wedging into a table for two amidst cramped, happy customers. They're still happy—because the food is amazing and the service is always warm, flirtatious and gracious—but they expect space and booze and a credit card machine, chop chop, and the camaraderie, the neighborhood feel has changed.