Even though LA is not known for its pastoral qualities, several LA restaurants specialize in farm-to-table dining, offering seasonal cuisine with ingredients harvested at regional farms.
These restaurants choose to serve local cuisine because it is not only more flavorful, but it also contains more nutrients, benefits the environment and is ethically satisfying for chefs and consumers to know where their food comes from. Whether they grow their own ingredients or build relationships with local farmers, the following restaurants offer seasonal and farm-to-table cooking all year round.
952 S. Broadway, Los Angeles
As the titleholder of Bon Appetit’s Best New Restaurant of 2013, Alma offers unpretentious gourmet food featuring ingredients from the restaurants garden in Venice. Through November 2013, Alma will serve a la carte menu items, such as seaweed and tofu beignets, dry aged rib-eye with carrot, chanterelle and grass, and a black sesame pudding. After November, the restaurant will switch gears and offer two pre-fixe tasting menus to provide a more curated experience.
1009 Abbot Kinney Blvd, Venice
Located in the heart of Abbot Kinney, Venice’s artistic community, Axe adheres to eight core principles with its cooking. Among these eight principles is the restaurant’s dedication to purchasing only organic ingredients from local farmers, compost all kitchen scraps and use biodegradable packaging for take-out orders. The restaurant is transparent about where they receive their ingredients as well as which organizations they support.
The honesty and pride with which Axe operates is also seen in the food served. Dishes include housemade torn pasta with asparagus, spring onion and lemon ricotta, grilled chicken thigh with wild mushrooms, dandelion greens and farro, and goat cheese, kumquat and beet salad.
Blue Cow Kitchen
350 S Grand Ave, Los Angeles
Playful and comforting with a twist, the dishes at Blue Cow Kitchen range from duck wings and pink eggs and ham with beet-marinated deviled eggs to short rib poutine and country fried chicken. The restaurant is decorated in an elevated rustic style with patterned throw pillows, dark woods and chalkboard wall paint. Boasting a central location by the Walt Disney Concert Hall, Blue Cow has all the trappings of a satisfying meal, for both the stomach and the soul.
Bosc on Vine
724 Vine St, Los Angeles
In Spanish, it means “forest”, but in LA, it stands for fresh farmers market ingredients crafted into delicious morsels. While the menu changes weekly depending on the chef’s local finds, the biggest hit at Bosc on Vine is its pig candy, made of bite-sized pieces of toffee-covered pig belly. Other dishes on the menu are predominantly focused on vegetables, such as a farro salad with arugula, seasonal squash, cranberries, walnuts and goat cheese. The décor stays true to its name and features textured tree and floral wallpapers.
2135 Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles
Consisting of a completely vegetarian menu, Elf Café in Echo Park has built strong relationships with local farmers such as Shear Rock Farm and Soledad Goats. The menu is loaded with fresh vegetables and cheeses, including homemade pappardelle pasta with smoked mozzarella and a baked tart with rosemary potatoes, sheep feta and baked leeks. Decorated with dimly lit lights and a brick wall, the atmosphere is intimate, romantic and perfect for date night.
Industriel Urban Farm Cuisine
609 South Grand Ave, Los Angeles
Every morning, the chef at Industriel visits a local farmers’ market to hand pick the produce that will star in dishes inspired by the French countryside. While the décor, featuring bright red chairs and crate-lined walls, is meant to transport diners to the green rolling hills and quaint barns of France, the food is made with modern influences. Basics like French onion soup, amped up with duck and herbed gruyere, share space on the menu with an original Moroccan chili. From their “Farmer’s Market Massacre” Bloody Mary, made with 30 fire-roasted ingredients, to their homemade cheeses and breads, Industriel’s motto that their “ingredients have never seen the inside of a super market” is evident in all the details.
Local Restaurant Silverlake
2943 W. Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles
The name says it all: this restaurant serves local, organic fare for the health-conscious diner. Many dishes, such as the tempeh sloppy Joe with soy mozzarella, cater to the vegan crowd, while a turkey burger and braised pork belly suit the tastes of omnivores. Designed with simple wooden tables and chalkboards, the focus at Local is truly on the food.
2100 Laurel Canyon Blvd, Los Angeles
Tucked away in the Laurel Canyon passage between the San Fernando Valley and Beverly Hills, Pace is easy to miss in its unassuming place beneath the trees. The beauty of the restaurant’s interior is evenly matched with the decadent dishes on the menu. Decorated with a whimsical iron gate, mismatched furniture, brick walls and lots of original artwork, the space is romantically intimate with a sense of humor (a box of crayons sits on every table, inviting patrons to get creative).
While the atmosphere is a feast for the senses, the true masterpiece is the restaurant’s food. Featuring organic produce and hormone-free meats, the menu includes homemade lobster ravioli, pizza with potatoes, pesto, green beans and mozzarella atop a crunchy, chewy organic crust, and their famous cedar wood grilled salmon.
Originally published on LosAngeles.com.