Grab a bite at our favorite Silver Lake restaurants
By now, there has been plenty written about Alimento’s tortellini in brodo, a dish that is alone worthy of a visit to this Italian restaurant. But chef Zach Pollack’s talent doesn’t stop there. The pig in a blanket features puffy spelt pastry bookending a thick slab of mortadella, fatty and rich and piled high with stringy brovada (pickled turnips). The fried chicken sandwich is one of the best in town. And if rice pudding happens to be on the dessert menu, don’t hesitate to order it. Yes, it gets a little loud at Alimento sometimes, but you’ll be drowning out any conversation or excessive music with your own food-induced sighs of pleasure.
White walls, an expanse of brick and low, black leather banquettes set the stage at this Vietnamese eatery, which also has a cozy downstairs seating area boasting a glass-walled wine cellar. You’re here for some of the best pho in L.A.: most options are beef-forward and contain pleasantly fatty brisket and beef balls that pack a peppery punch—satisfying and just right. And if you aren’t down with meat? There’s a stellar vegeteraian option here that appeals to just about everyone.
Fresh, produce-forward dishes, natural wines, herbaceous cocktails and the occasional author talk and wine tasting event make for one of Silver Lake’s sunniest gathering places, whether you’re stopping in for a meal of tahini French toast and Turkish eggs or hitting up the cute and well-curated market up front. Over the last few years, owners Emily Fiffer and Heather Sperling managed to build a breezy, health-conscious café with all-day fare, third-wave coffee and fresh pastries, and it feels a little like Silver Lake incarnate.
From the outside, Bowery Bungalow may scream beachy clothing boutique or quaint coffee shop, but enter this eatery and you’ll find a homey restaurant serving modern Mediterranean food. Reinterpreted classics arrive in the form of a heaping bowl of couscous royale, which boasts okra and figs alongside dried nuts and chickpeas; and beef-tongue shawarma gnocchi—not wholly Middle Eastern, but delicious nonetheless. Perhaps some of the best dishes are the desserts, like the exotic konafah, whose light and stringy texture distinguishes it from the similarly composed baklava. There’s an outdoor patio, too: perfect for eating outside on balmy nights or during weekend brunch.
A bar, a brunch spot, a great place to grab dinner: Café Stella embodies all of these. You may have to wait a while for a seat—the restaurant is located at the highly trafficked Sunset Junction, a busy area that gets especially crowded around meal times. But on mellower weekday nights, the atmosphere is charming and the French bistro food is better than decent: Order steak frites, the mussels or the famous beet salad. If you’re coming for breakfast, the Moroccan eggs with stewed tomatoes, za’atar and merguez is one of the best ways to start your day.
The two-level patio at Cliff’s Edge, which somehow shelters itself from Sunset Boulevard at its doorstep, is its own little island in the middle of Silver Lake. In the center grows a gnarled tree that produces miniature figs in the summer; at night, twinkling lights twist around the centerpiece to light up the space. The modern American-focused menu offers plates of crispy octopus, chorizo-and-leek mussels, and a wild-boar and veal terrine, while the inventive cocktail list guarantees a night of satisfied sipping.
On the eastern end of Sunset Junction sits this homey café, where you’ll find hungry Angelenos dining on Eastsider Tacos (seitan topped with cashew cheese) or one of the restaurant’s tasty burgers (the nacho burger is a favorite). Sit outside and people-watch as locals, all in various states of stylish dishevelment, walk by. Be sure to order one of the vegan desserts—we love the excellent lemon berry cake—which are on display in the deli cases. Many of the carbs here are gluten-free, including the pancakes, and GF substitutes are readily available.
Forage sources all of its ingredients locally—and we mean really locally. The restaurant exchanges produce from backyard farmers for free meals and gives grants to help urban farmers obtain state certification as approved food sources for markets and restaurants. Open for lunch and dinner, the ever-changing seasonal menu runs the gamut, from salmon belly tacos to a Korean brisket bowl to barbecue baby back ribs. Order at the counter and take a peek at everything on display before you choose.
The Kitchen is what you hope for when you’re looking for a regular neighborhood spot. It’s a place where the staff will know your name after a few visits, where service is friendly but not overbearing, where you can come for piping hot doughnut holes on the weekends and buttermilk fried chicken on weeknights. Inside, cozy tables hug a brick wall, while outside there’s plenty of seating to enjoy lunch on a warm afternoon. Brunch is available on the weekends, and trust us—you’ll want to get those doughnut holes.
Charles Olalia takes Filipino classics and turns them on their head at his lively full-service restaurant, Ma’am Sir. The beloved RiceBar chef whips up crackling sweetbreads sisig, served piping hot in cast iron; a craveable house-made longganisa sausage sandwich; uni-topped lumpia stuffed with shrimp mousse; and a deconstructed kare kare stew unlike any you’ve had before, to name a few. The vibe is casual and congenial but always bustling, and the cocktails are just as fun as the atmosphere. Take a seat under the hanging plants and just let Olalia do his thing.