Los Angeles might be a city that espouses ‘bigger is better’ at almost every turn, but one thing I’ve noticed lately is the number of small restaurants opening up around town. Nice as it is to eat somewhere with lofty ceilings, a great outdoor patio and enough space that you’re not worried you’re going to knock over your neighbor’s wine glass, small spaces can be very charming, ultra cozy and well, just plain cute. Whether it’s by design or simply a coincidence, here are six restaurants in LA that prove bigger doesn’t mean better.
L&E Oyster Bar – Silver Lake
In case you haven’t heard, the guy behind evvvvverybody’s favorite Eastside wine bar (Covell, duh) is ready to add solid foods to your liquid diet. L&E Oyster Bar is where you’ll now be sidling up for a fried oyster sandwich and a cold one after a long day
on Facebook at the office. Like the space itself, which has 10 tables inside, the menu is pretty small with a few raw and cooked oyster options along with some wine and beer. This place just opened like two days ago, so you might want to think about getting in line. Now.
Freddy Smalls Bar & Kitchen – West LA
The secret is out. This tiny place located along Pico Boulevard is the popular new kid on the block thanks to its late hours (open ‘til 1am weekdays and 2am Friday-Saturday), great drinks and tasty small bites. It has that NYC bar vibe on lock with its subway floor tiles, dark leather booths and slick bar where you can order cocktails like the Stumbling Cowboy, a smooth mix of rye, housemade sarsaparilla, candied ginger and lemon. FYI: If you plan to mosey on over with a large group, keep in mind there may be a wait. Rezzies aren’t accepted.
Milo & Olive – Santa Monica
The latest addition from the folks behind Rustic Canyon, Huckleberry and Sweet Rose Creamery, Milo & Olive proves that people on the Westside will wait … and wait … and wait for food. Never mind that there are but two communal tables in the entire shoe-box sized joint or that there are just a handful of chairs at the pizza bar overlooking the kitchen (which, by the way, takes up half the room). And never mind that everything on the menu is on the pricey side and the pizza is way too salty. (Although many of the other dishes are quite tasty.) This perpetually busy, terminally crowded joint has a line weaving out the door morning, noon and night. It’s cray cray. And clearly people will pay pay.
Papilles – Beachwood Canyon
This ultra-cozy spot on Franklin (it’s pronounced pa-pee, which means tastebuds in French) is really like a taste of France in LA. Rustic, charmingly simple yet colorful, both the aesthetic and approach of Papilles is inspired by the bistronomic movement in Paris. Which means higher-end fare in a casual, bistro setting. The menu changes every week–go online to see what’s cooking–with the price usually at the $35 mark for a three-course dinner. Naturally, there’s wine, too. Wham, bam, oui oui ma’am.
Moon Juice – Venice
This airy, clean and modern-looking newbie on Rose Avenue isn’t exactly a restaurant, but it is a place that’ll nourish your bod with nothing but the best stuff. Clocking in at just 460 square feet, Moon Juice packs a punch with its selection of 100% organic cold-pressed juices, creamy Moon Milk made from raw almonds, alkaline water and any number of customized ingredients + carefully sourced snacks and homemade granola. So fresh and so clean, clean.