Firefly may be the closest thing to a modern day secret garden in LA, walls of tangled ivy included. Found on a more popular stretch of Ventura Boulevard in Studio City, the fine-dining restaurant offers modern American cuisine from chef Paul Shoemaker in a romantic, cozy setting—a heated patio is decorated in candles and twinkling lights, while the library-like bar area offers a truncuated menu and an ideal date-night vibe. In this secret garden, you’re fed exquisite plates of Shoemaker’s carefully constructed dishes, like perfectly seared scallops or the popular John Dory chicken. The recent legalization of foie gras in California left no chef unaltered, Shoemaker included, and he is going balls-to-the-wall with his foie creations: foie ravioli, a rich marriage of pasta and meat that dissolves almost instantaneously in your mouth; seared foie, which may be too fatty to handle for some, but for foie-enthusiasts is a dream; and a classic foie terrine with grilled pieces of bread and an accompanying square of super fresh pineapple. End with A Beautiful Disaster: a deconstructed ice cream cone (with spiced mocha and peanut butter scoops) that looks like it has fallen and splattered on a plate.
11720 Ventura Blvd
|Opening hours:||Mon-Sat 5pm-2am; Sun 5pm-1am|
What a charming place to eat - or even just grab a cocktail. It's a little hard to find with no visible sign and ivy creeping up the sides, but that kind of makes it even more charming once you're inside. A dark, library-esque cocktail lounge is the perfect place for a cozy date, but if you want something a little more bright and spacious, the back patio is great, too. I've had hit-or-miss food here - dinner is definitely better than brunch - but if you're looking for some solid ambience, Firefly has it.