The Best Restaurants in Culver City

Fried chicken sandwich at Akasha | Photo by Joshua Lurie

Culver City’s culinary scene has finally arrived. Sure, plenty of places opened in the Aughts, particularly downtown, but not many places generated enough excitement or staying power. Now, a new wave of gastronomy is washing over Culver City, spanning from the Marina del Rey border to Mid-City. Here are some favorites.

Fried chicken sandwich at Akasha | Photo by Joshua Lurie

AKASHA



Akasha Richmond was Michael Jackson’s one-time personal chef, but she’s made a name for herself in Culver City at her seasonal, multi-faceted establishment. An airy bakery and café fronts the space, touting a pastry-filled counter and Intelligentsia coffee program. The dining room showcases reclaimed wood and brick walls with arched cutouts, exposed rafters, and a mobile crafted with pieces that look like space aged guitar picks. Depending on the season, you might find citrus & fennel salad with Bliss Farms avocado, arugula, and fennel frond vinaigrette. Enduring perennials include tandoori-spiced chicken wings, roasted garlic hummus, and burgers made with beef or turkey.

Chef/designer Chloe Tran and partner John Cao took their casual “Fraiche Vietnamese” concept from Costa Mesa’s Camp to the next level by joining forces with American Gonzo Food Corporation partners Paul Hibler and Jason Neroni. The space is of Tran’s design, with a cartoon-accented mural of Vietnamese “cyclo bandits,” floral floor tiles, and an inviting sidewalk patio. Lunch loosely resembles what Tran and Cao continue to churn out at The Camp. Dinner is more ambitious, with no-holds-barred dishes like lamb ribs with a tamarind glaze; fried rice with salt cod, chicken and rapini; and blue shrimp in crab paste butter with grapefruit. Dessert brings Vietnamese coffee pot de crème.

Father's Office Burger

 |  Photo: Joshua Lurie

Father's Office - Los Angeles



Sang Yoon was one of the first chefs to establish the Helms Bakery complex as a culinary destination by opening a considerably larger branch of his powerhouse Santa Monica gastropub in 2008. The Culver City outpost has a covered patio, communal seating, and a long bar with 36 mirror-image taps. People swear by the Office Burger, which features dry-aged beef, caramelized onion, applewood bacon compote, Gruyere, Maytag blue cheese and arugula on a baguette. Of course the menu runs deeper, driven by seasonal inspiration and “the rich bar culture of Europe.” That might mean cod brandade fritters with piquillo gastrique, Pimenton aioli and olive oil; or lamb pot pie with root vegetables and Irish stout.

BBQ beef brisket panini at Jackson Market | Photo by Joshua Lurie

Jackson Market



This neighborhood market and deli with twin patios has drawn people to a quaint residential street and has been revered as a local secret for over 80 years. The market is a favorite of people who work at nearby film studios and design houses, so expect to wait at lunch. But persist, and your reward is sandwiches like the BBQ Beef Brisket Panini. Juicy chopped beef marinated in savory barbecue sauce joins sweet caramelized onions and gooey pepper Jack cheese on toasted ciabatta. The Jamaican Jerk Sandwich is another triumph between sliced bread. The wheat baguette touts Jamaican Jerk turkey with bacon, chipotle Gouda, romaine, Roma tomato and honey mustard.

Beef & Broccoli at Lukshon | Photo by Joshua Lurie

Lukshon



Sang Yoon expanded beyond the gastropub with this contemporary pan-Asian restaurant in the Helms Bakery complex. The space features a showcase open kitchen, communal tables, comfortable bar, and dining room with hand-painted wallflowers. Lukshon’s share-friendly menu includes steamed cod with spicy citrus broth and tatsoi, spicy chicken pops with garlic, kecap manis and spicy Sichuan salt; and a large scale beef and broccoli with seared Prime hanger steak, grilled gai lan, black bean ghee and tendon puffs. No matter what you order, expect a complimentary dessert, which could include carrot cake or Beijing-style yogurt.

Shrimp and chickpea pancake at The Wallace | Photo by Joshua Lurie

The Wallace



Former Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Michael Teich and wife/GM Carol opened The Wallace on America’s shortest Main Street near the end of 2013. The contemporary space features an open kitchen, exposed wood rafters, Edison bulbs and sconces. The restaurant constantly updates a beyond-seasonal, highly sustainable, vegetarian-friendly menu. Seven starters arrive in jars with grilled bread, perhaps none better than smoked trout. Old school popovers get a modern update with Gruyere, black pepper, Parmesan, and chive butter. Pancakes make a surprising appearance at dinner, showcasing shrimp and chickpeas, with sides of spicy pickles and harissa aioli. Flat iron steak is another winner, with a good sear, meaty trumpet royale mushrooms, and a skordalia anchor.

Fried green olives at Wildcraft Sourdough Pizza | Photo by Joshua Lurie

Wildcraft



Ever since Jed Sanford and chef Tin Vuong started their ascendance in the LA food world with Abigaile, they haven’t exactly been known for restraint. Each of their establishments has a fun, brash vibe, and Wildcraft Sourdough Pizza is no exception. Pop art adorns the walls and red cushioned banquettes face an open kitchen that houses a wood-fired oven that blisters crusts crafted from wild yeast sourdough at a scorching 900 degrees. The chewy, pull-apart crusts host bold combinations that might include pork and beef meatballs; chopped clams and pork belly; or “carbonara.” Starters are similarly aggressive, with crusty garlic knots bombed with Asiago and oregano, or deep-fried green olives filled with fennel sausage. Yes, they’ve got salads, but most customers prefer to stick with bigger flavors.