Elf Cafe

Restaurants, Vegetarian Echo Park
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Elf Cafe
Photograph: Jakob N. Layman
Elf Cafe

This Echo Park haunt is a date night go-to for Eastside vegetarians and omnivores alike who fall for the Middle-Eastern and Mediterranean menu that changes with the season. Call ahead to claim a spot at the counter or table, rubbing elbows with your date (or neighbor) inside the cozy, dimly-lit dining room. Choose from the well-curated wine and cocktail menu (you can also BYOB for a $20 corkage fee) and toast over vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options like Moroccan vegetable tagine and walnut-pesto pappardelle. The kitchen at Elf also makes a rich, wild exotic mushroom risotto and a housemade labneh topped with date-olive tapenade—tangy, cool and ready to be scooped up with pieces of warm pita.

By: Jade Chang


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