Silver Lake is now universally recognized as one of best foodie neighborhoods in Los Angeles, but that wasn’t always the case.
In the last decade or so this relatively small geographic space has risen up to be a hotbed for top chefs and newcomers alike, with restaurants ambitiously experimenting and pushing the limits of what they’re offering.
And who wins when all this culinary competition takes place?
Us, the eaters!
With so many great choices, you may be intimidated on where to start. But to help you navigate Silver Lakes’s food scene, I put together a list of 10 of my favorite spots to get you going. A sort of a primer to point you in the right direction, if I may.
List starts after the jump, in no particular order (numbered only for reference).
1. Pine & Crane
The beauty in Pine & Crane is their simplistic approach to Taiwanese cuisine. Scallion pancakes, beef rolls, dan dan noodles, rice dishes like three cup chicken and a number of sautéed vegetables in garlic make up the bulk of the menu. The seasonal salads in the glass cold case proudly showcase a rotating selection of chilled delicacies that include sliced pig ear, lotus root salad and bamboo shoots marinated in chili oil. Chef and owner Vivian Ku sources her produce straight from her family’s farm. This is a place locals can rely on to deliver fresh, affordable, and tasty dishes, unique to the city of Silver Lake.
2. Knuckle & Claw
At Knuckle & Claw you will find fresh lobsters flown in overnight from the cold waters of Maine. Upon arrival they are transformed into one hell of a Lobster Roll using only the knuckle and claw meat, hence the name. A quarter pound of meat is drizzled with butter and sprinkled with a secret seasoning. You can order the roll in a half or a full size and there are shrimp and Dungeness crab rolls too if lobster is not your thing.
3. Cliff’s Edge
The patio at Cliff’s Edge is one of the most magical places in Silver Lake. Anchored by the spreading arms of a huge tree, tucked away from the busy streets of Sunset, guest can enjoy craft cocktails and beautifully plated California inspired dishes by Chef Vartan Abgaryan. Scallops with roasted heirloom carrots, duck chanterelle with mushroom puree and roasted plums are just a few of Abgaryan’s creations. On Thursdays they have a oyster hour from 6:00 – 7:00pm where oysters are just $1!
This trusted neighborhood joint focuses on northern Italian cuisine. Chef and Owner Zach Pollack is trained in traditional Italian cooking, making some of the best tortellini in town. Don’t expect Alimento to be too traditional though. Pollack’s pig in a blanket starter is an Italian take on an American classic, and he makes his with mortadella, spelt pastry, brovada and stracchino. Hands down the chicken liver served with black plum mostarda is my personal favorite. Creamy and rich- it’s perfection on a plate.
5. El Cochinito
Located on Sunset Boulevard, El Cochinito, has been cooking up authentic Cuban cuisine since 1988. A popular dish at El Cochinito is the lechon asado a juicy slow-roasted pork dish, the Cubana is delicious too. I’m a sucker for Cameron Al Jillo, they sautéed their shrimp, drench it in a garlic sauce, and serve it with fluffy white rice and black beans- I must be in
Havana heaven cause it’s seriously too good.
Homestate is a Tex-Mex spot that serves breakfast and lunch, Austin native Briana Valdez is making our most important meal of the day AWESOME. Case in point the breakfast taco with shredded brisket. They also serve what I like to call breakfast nachos “migas” a plate of eggs scrambled with tortilla strips topped with onions, cheddar cheese and pico de gallo. Grab some of Austin’s best coffee while there, they serve Cuvée Coffee. Don’t worry the lunch options are just delicious, Frito pie in a bag (pictured below via their Instagram), day time tacos and achiote sandwiches on toast are just some of the goodies on the menu.
This neighborhood hot spot can get really busy on two occasions. On Mondays when Barbrix offers three types of oysters for $1 at the bar from 6:00pm to 7:30pm. The weekend during brunch, when folks flock here for the churro french toast, cheese boards and $8 bottomless mimosas. Who doesn’t love a spot with great food and some amazing deals!? During dinner, count on the small plates menu of Spanish octopus, charcuterie of French jambon and air dried duck prosciutto, grab a glass of wine too, it’s modestly priced.
8. Night Market Song
Night + Market Song is one of the most popular restaurants in Silver Lake. The menu is based on Thai style street food, packing heat and intensely flavored. Chef Kris Yenbamroong’s piping hot bowl of khao soi, a coconut curry based noodle soup is a must try and the pork toro- a marinated, fat-lined jowl meat- grilled to the point where it becomes pork candy, can be seen at every table.
9. L&E Oyster Bar
The oysters at L& E are prepared with precision, served fresh and chilled on some very cold ice. This is how all raw oysters should be savored. Patrons of this Parisian style restaurant can enjoy a casual dinner on the first floor or go for happy hour, a raw bar and small bites at the popular upstairs bar. Chef Spencer Bezaire’s in-house smoked mussels with chorizo toast pair beautifully together and the oyster po’ boy topped with shaved fennel, chicory, heirloom tomato and gribiche is a delicious modernized take on a Louisiana classic.
Jason Kim’s Forage has been going strong for five years near the trendy intersection of Sunset Junction. Like the name states, Kim and his team forage their produce from local home growers and highlight only seasonal fare. Their side salads are top notch, the apple and pear salad with chicory greens and the kale salad are popular picks. Solid entree choices include the pork belly sandwich served with cabbage jalapeño slaw, tomato, and aioli and their protein plates.
What are your favorite restaurants and food spots in Silver Lake? Let us know in the comments below!