Because every Angeleno loves to eat, even if he has to valet, we bring you Table Stakes: a series that answers man’s eternally recurring question (“Uh, what’s new?”), and recurs once every lunar cycle or so. Bon appétit.
As the brains behind blog/Instagram Let Me Eat Cake, it’s no surprise that Nastassia Johnson has a self-proclaimed sweet tooth. We’ve had the good fortune of crossing her path a few times during our own culinary hopscotching, and thusly decided to team up with her on this month’s edition of Table Stakes.
Note: You’d be wise to leave room for dessert.
The Ponte Restorante
You’re here for: The charming patio and some soulful Italian cuisine. It’s a sexy space and ideal for a date.
You’re dining on: Fans of Scarpetta will recall some of Scott Conant’s signature dishes, like his famed spaghetti pomodoro. But the new additions to his menu owe thanks to the wood-fired oven. Think: grilled vegetables and pizzas that’ll rock your tastebuds. And don’t miss the salads: they’re the perfect expression of California’s beautiful produce.
You finish with: A banana budino with rum caramel and toffee. Decadent, rich and delicious — it will be hard to share this, so maybe get two.
8265 Beverly Blvd. (map)
You’re here for: A casual dinner that feels more like a friend’s dinner party than a restaurant. Perfect for a night out with a friend or a group of friends.
You’re dining on: Seasonal fare that leans heavy on vegetables. The eclectic menu covers everything from patatas bravas to Korean fried chicken. The coconut black rice with oil-cured vegetables is a must.
You finish with: The baked Alaska: housemade yuzu sherbet covered in toasted marshmallow atop a speculoos cookie. Refreshing and creamy.
2764 Rowena Ave. (map)
From Our Friends at Mercedes-Benz®
As for how to get there...
Whether you’re squiring a client, date or just plain old número to one of the restaurants enumerated herein, it’s important to arrive in style. Enter: the 2017 GLC Coupe by Mercedes-Benz. With creature comforts like adjustable ambient lighting, a console-mounted entertainment system and optional “in-cabin aromatherapy” alongside a dynamic drivetrain that can handle any terrain you throw at, it’ll get you where you’re going in timely — and handsome — fashion.
You’re here for: A casual dinner with a group of friends or a date in a tony modern space.
You’re dining on: Southeast Asian small plates and bone broth. Definitely order some Jidori wings and the Gado Gado, an Indonesian tofu tempeh salad with peanut sauce. Then move on to the bone broth and noodles paired with a protein like fatty brisket or braised oxtail.
You finish with: Halo halo, a nice palate cleanser to end a full flavored meal. This Filipino-inspired treat is practically a treasure hunt in shaved ice: you’ve gotta pick out all the jellies, beans and other sweet treats.
67 North Raymond Ave. (map)
You’re here for: To grab a coffee and quick breakfast or lunch. Or to meet a friend for a coffee date.
You’re dining on: Unique food and drink from two of the cities favorite small businesses (Found Coffee + Crème Caramel LA). Spanish tortillas with longaniza, veggie quiche and an assortment of sandwiches and salads while sipping on locally roasted specialty coffee.
You finish with: A crème caramel. Try the über-pandan flavors of this luscious silky custard.
3116 Sunset Blvd. (map)
You’re here for: Quick and convenient fast-casual lunch, dinner or takeout. Great post-workout meal or pre/post-movie dinner.
You’re dining on: The flatbread-based bäcos and bäcorritos are Josef Centeno’s version of a sandwich/taco, filled with things like coffee-rubbed steak, braised pork and roasted eggplant. On display in the front case: a selection of seasonal salads that’ll get anyone to eat their veggies.
You finish with: A big cup of soft serve. The flavors and toppings change daily, which is a good excuse to come back and try something new.
9552 Washington Blvd. (map)
Main image courtesy of Dustin Downing