Most times when you think of going to Hollywood, you’re thinking of clubs and bars.
With venues such as Lure and Avalon, you sometimes wonder if that is all Hollywood has to offer. With the exception of Thai town, it would not seem that Hollywood is a very popular destination for local foodies.
But if you were in the neighborhood, Madera would be the restaurant.
The very spacious interior is illuminated with beautiful hanging lights from the ceiling, wine bottles hung from the walls and a DJ booth nuzzled at the back corner. The patio seating creates a very intimate atmosphere perfect for a date, with a fireplace crackling in the background.
Next to the fireplace, you can grab a couple more drinks after dinner if you’d like from the extension of the bar. Then, you can head to the outside lounge area that includes comfortable seating for good conversations. Service here is friendly, yet attentive, helping to create an enjoyable dining experience.
The food served is somewhat Mediterranean, with many small plates meant to share and some larger pasta and entree plates being offered as well. The oysters are small but flavorful, and you finally might not object to eating kale, which complements the oyster well.
The charred octopus was delightfully tender, not so different from ones you may find in much higher-end restaurants. The crispy lemon served with the octopus might suggest some advanced techniques being employed in the kitchen, to a purposeful end.
The flatbreads here are surprisingly bold, yet display a great understanding of the balance of flavors. The smoked prosciutto flatbread, served with Castelvetrano olives and Medjool dates, is a perfect example of this understanding. The thin crust serves as a perfect delivery vehicle for the ingredients and you would be remiss to to not order this. Do note that their flatbreads are not small, and may be slightly difficult to finish with a party of two.
One place where the restaurant does fall slightly short are with the bigger dishes, namely pastas and the entrees. The pasta pappardalle serves as an example. While the pasta was homemade, it was cooked for slightly too long with a lingering raw floury taste to it. The mint, intended as a balance to the lamb, ended up overpowering the tomato sauce that was meant to accompany the pasta. In addition, the New York steak was cooked to a medium instead of a medium rare (as requested).
For both dishes, the plates themselves were not warmed prior to serving, resulting in two dishes that cooled very quickly, especially in the outdoor weather. This was especially apparent with the steak, where a thin layer had congealed on the gravy due to the lower temperature. However, the celeriac puree served as a welcome change from the traditional mashed potatoes.
Apart from dinner, Madera offers a happy hour Monday to Friday from 5:30-8:00 PM, with both drinks and snacks offered at a cheaper price. There is also a Sunday brunch available with offerings such as chicken & waffles, cinnamon donuts, and slow roasted pork and bottomless mimosa’s for $14. Prices here are generally very reasonable and would be a great location for students to dine at before heading out to Hollywood.
1835 N Cahuenga Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90028