It’s not hard to find great restaurants in Los Angeles, and with nearly perfect year-round weather, al fresco dining is at the forefront of city feasting. And when it comes to brunching, Angelenos know how to do it best. So when the two combine, it seems like the world is in perfect harmony. Recently, three heralded restaurants have decided to swing open their patio doors to serve new weekend brunch menus, and we’re pretty stoked about it.
Photo Credit: The Larchmont
The Larchmont — Hollywood
Since opening two years ago, The Larchmont has become a power-lunch HQ for Paramount execs, a romantic dinner hideaway, and a friendly Hollywood-locals bar in a neighborhood where liquor licenses aren’t terribly common. Now co-owners Mathew Cape and Spoon Singh have decided to open their charming craftsman-style bungalow for Saturday and Sunday brunch, starting May 9. Executive Chef Kevin Kathman has conceived a contemporary California menu with French influences, pivoting around organic eggs, hormone- and antibiotic-free meat, straight-from-the-farm vegetables from Spoon’s Ojai ranch, and decadently rich treats.
Sharable dishes include a lemony crêpe with smoked ham, brie, truffle and egg, the gooey goodness of the iron-skillet Caramel Roll, and a fragrant Thai style whole fish (with or without the head, it’s your call). Other highlights are the King Crab Benedict and an over-the-top stuffed French toast oozing with peanut butter, roasted banana, maple bacon, and, for the super-indulgent, foie gras. “It’s the perfect slutty hangover food,” says Kathman, a French Laundry alum. Hair-of-the-dog standouts from Chris Kramer’s bar menu includes his Fresh Strawberry Cosmo, The Larchmont Pimm’s Cup, Tequila in the Garden stuffed with cukes and arugula, $15 bottomless mimosas and special mimosas feature Ojai’s iconic Pixie tangerines from Singh’s farm.
Small balcony tables are offered upstairs, and downstairs the long, tented patio is shielded from busy Melrose with a high privacy wall lined with bench seating. It creates a cozy, fresh-air spot for a leisurely weekend brunch, and the $10 kids menu makes the bungalow feel like home.
Photo Credit: The District by Hannah An
The District by Hannah An — Beverly Center
Vietnamese food for breakfast? It’s not such a strange concept in Vietnam, of course, but it’s LA’s newest thing. The District by Hannah An opened three months ago in the Beverly Center neighborhood for lunch and dinner, and is now serving weekend brunch inside and out on the beautiful deck with fire-features and 3rd Street views.
Not surprisingly, The District presents a daring, a sophisticated approach to traditional Vietnamese cuisine, just what you’d expect from a member of the hospitality family that introduced Beverly Hills to fine Chinese cuisine with Crustacean restaurant. The District is Hannah’s solo debut, and it’s clearly her baby from start to finish, from the recipes and careful ingredient sourcing, to personally greeting guests and guiding them through selections.
Photo Credit: The District by Hannah An
“I want to create a harmonious, healthful dining experience that arouses the five senses and introduces guests to a contemporary interpretation on the traditional flavors of Vietnam from the districts throughout the country,” said An. “It’s a very personal expression of the food my family has loved for generations, whether from street vendors or French-trained chefs or our own home kitchen.”
The exciting menu offers inventive eggs and oats and much more, like a bahn xeo crepe, a reinvented breakfast banh mi, Saigon summer salad, and Cha Ca, a turmeric-crusted Chilean sea bass served with dill and rice vermicelli noodles. Richer temptations include a crab Benedict “Bao” with lemongrass Hollandaise, filet mignon Bo Luc Lac, and the half pound District Wok Lobster served on a bed of garlicky noodles. The bar program stars premium sakes and cocktails with house-made tinctures and bitters, and seasonal fruits, vegetables, and herbs accenting Southeast Asian flavors. Featuring kaffir lime leaf, The Guava Rita is The District’s tropical take on the margarita; The District Mule mixes No. 3 gin, organic hibiscus agave, fresh squeezed lime juice, Fever Tree ginger beer, and ginger zest; and the #1 crowd favorite Love You Long Time is muddled with cantaloupe and cucumber, and includes cucumber-infused vodka, fresh lime juice and organic agave.
Photo Credit: The Little Door
The Little Door — Santa Monica
The Westside’s newest brunch spot is the romantic Little Door Santa Monica, which opened for lunch and dinner last September, and has now expanded its hours to serve weekend brunch every Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. From May onward, the main dining room’s retractable roof will roll open to take advantage of the LA sunlight for alfresco brunching all year long.
Executive Chef T. Nicolas Peter’s brunch menu features the restaurant’s signature Mediterranean-inspired cooking with Southern California’s best seasonal produce. “The brunch menu is a great way for us to take advantage of more seasonal produce that I find every week at our local farmers markets,” says Peter.
The opening brunch menu will include waffles and seasonal berries with whipped Mascarpone; a roasted baby artichokes omelet with spinach and goat cheese; seared foie gras, poached eggs, fingerling potato frites, and green lentils; and a Moroccan crab cake Benedict with Harissa and preserved lemon Hollandaise. Bar manager Michael Gannon’s cocktail menu has classics and signature Weekend Tonics for brunch such as The Little Door Derby (smashed lemon, honey and Elijah Craig bourbon) and house-made Strawberry Lemonade with farmers market strawberries and Beluga vodka.