The Best Restaurants in Silver Lake

Sorrel Pesto Rice Bowl | Photo courtesy of Sqirl

From its history as a center for early film studios such as Walt Disney, Silver Lake has developed into a trendsetting, multicultural neighborhood filled with unique shops and nightlife. The Silver Lake dining scene is vibrant, varied and one of the most interesting in the city. Read on for some of the best spots in Silver Lake.

Tortellini in brodo | Photo courtesy of Alimento

Alimento



From the start, it seemed clear that Zach Pollack’s brand new Italian spot was destined to be a hit. The space is clean and modern, with little to distract from the food. Instead of the usual Caesar salad and spaghetti there is roasted escarole with anchovy, and squid ink radiatori with red wine-stained rings of tender squid. An early favorite is the toothsome tortellini filled with a robust, meaty broth and finished with Parmesan. There are a handful of wine bottles in the 30-something range. And the initial chatter about the water charge seems to have diminished, a result perhaps of a reduction to $1.50, half of which goes to Silver Lake Reservoirs Conservancy.

Guava cheese pastry at Café Tropical | Photo by Leslee Komaiko

Café Tropical



Years before Forbes magazine dubbed Silver Lake the country’s “best hipster neighborhood,” there was this colorful corner café. The eclectic menu features ample croissant breakfast sandwiches, ultra-charged strong coffee - including Cuban-style café con leche - traditional Cuban sandwiches served toasty warm, and Frisbee-sized cookies. But the can’t miss treat here is the guava cheese pastry. Served warm, it’s a layer of rich creamy cheese topped by a thin layer of vibrant red, not-too-sweet guava paste tucked between layers of flaky, buttery pastry. A single slice is big enough for two to share.

Cliff's Edge



Past a parking lot and through a sizable Moroccan doorway is one of the most enchanting patios in the city, tiered, so it feels intimate despite its size, and anchored by a grand, old tree. There are few better date spots than Cliff’s Edge. Adding to the magic is a list of yummy, seasonal cocktails and an appealing Cal-Med menu courtesy of Vartan Abgaryan. Beautifully charred octopus is finished with a peach jam barbecue sauce, slivered red onion and fresh herbs. Weekend brunch, served well into the afternoon for sleepyheads, is popular too. If you’re in a savory mood, try the pork belly hash. Dog owners take note: well behaved pooches are welcome.

The Fix Burger | Photo by Leslee Komaiko

The Fix Burger



This sharp, simple spot serves a burger that falls somewhere between the fancy, double digit gourmet burger and your typical L.A. burger stand entry. The Fix Burger features a substantial half-pound patty on a soft, toasted egg bun painted with mayo along with lettuce, tomato and onions. It’s juicy and messy and completely satisfying, especially when paired with a bottle of ice cold Bubble Up or Grape Crush. For $2 extra, you can upgrade to grass-fed beef. Wild boar and buffalo are also offered.

Sweets at Forage | Photo by Leslee Komaiko

Forage



Forage serves the sort of food you could eat everyday: perfect rotisserie chicken, buttery quiche and lovely prepared salads like quinoa with white beans and cherry tomatoes. Don’t miss the vibrant green mix of cavolo nero and arugula in the barest of bright lemon-olive oil dressing, finished with salty feta and bread crumbs. As patrons wait in line to order, they're tempted by a display of gorgeous homemade sweets that includes outsized berry hand pies, brown butter hazelnut cake, and glistening caramel colored Florentine cookies flavored with orange peel and shot through with almonds and raisins.

Photo courtesy of L&E Oyster Bar

L & E Oyster Bar



At L&E Oyster Bar, there’s a beautiful presentation of beet cured salmon with buttery toasts and crème fraiche served on a wood plank. And you can get some fine clam chowder made with Nueske’s bacon. But the oysters are a must. A fun route to go is the daily dozen, an assortment of bivalves from the Atlantic and Pacific, served on ice with all the necessary accoutrements. Wash them down with a tall glass of pale ale from El Segundo Brewery or a glass of prosecco. Note the menu upstairs is limited, but the balcony is still a popular spot to park.

Ginger icebox cupcake at Lark | Photo by Leslee Komaiko

Lark



The carrot cake cupcakes are delish as are the red velvet at this airy, attractive bake shop. But it’s the icebox cupcakes that distinguish it from the crowd. Ginger or chocolate wafer cookies are layered with lush whipped cream and enrobed in more whipped cream and then refrigerated until the cookies soften just so. It’s a tried and true cake recipe recast in a modern format – the cupcake. And they must be eaten cold. Massive pecan bars are another favorite. Bags of homemade brittle or toffee make a swell hostess gift.

Gai tod naeng noi (fried chicken) at Night + Market Song | Photo by Leslee Komaiko

NIGHT + MARKET Song



With its bright orange walls and vintage come-hither poster of Cindy Crawford, Song (which means "two") the little sib to the West Hollywood Night + Market, doesn’t look like the typical L.A. Thai restaurant. And it’s not. The menu features dishes like “Thai strip club fried rice” and catfish tamale. Gai tod naeng noi is perfectly executed juicy fried chicken, cut in strips for easy eating and sharing. It is served with a beguiling garlicky paste made with waterbugs. (The squeamish need not worry. You can’t tell there are bugs.) Sticky rice is served in cute little bamboo canisters.

Spicy peanuts at Pine & Crane | Photo by Leslee Komaiko

Pine & Crane



This streamlined, modern Taiwanese café serves spicy peanuts that are a revelation: skin-on peanuts fried to a beautiful burnished gold, irresistibly crunchy, and laden with scallions, garlic chive, tiny slivers of fiery Thai chilies and a hit of vinegar. Vivian Ku, chef and co-owner, recommends eating them with rice, perhaps the satisfying, slightly sweet ground pork with rice on the menu. Veggies like pea shoots and baby bok choy come from Ku’s parents’ Bakersfield farm. And this might be the only place in the neighborhood to get your boba fix. If you prefer your tea hot, there are several loose-leaf tea choices. Whichever you order, it will arrive tableside with a tiny digital timer set to go off when the tea is done steeping.

Hold the Rice | Photo: Sqirl

Sqirl



Picture the toast that you make on the run in the morning. Now delete that and imagine a textbook thick slice - more like a plank really - of toasted fresh brioche bread loaded with soft homemade ricotta and then a slick of jam (also homemade), perhaps Blenheim apricot or blueberry rhubarb. This and perfectly pulled espresso are among the things that have made Jessica Koslow’s tiny café a neighborhood favorite, with lines wending out the door. Rice bowls are popular too. Some mornings, it seems like every other person is tucking into the Kokuho Rose Brown Rice Bowl - sorrel pesto, preserved Meyer lemon, lacto fermented hot sauce, black radish, French sheep feta and poached egg. For a few extra bucks, you can add a housemade pork-fennel sausage patty.