10 Best Restaurants in Culver City
Ayu sweet fish
There's some rather excellent food being served in Culver City these days. The city's last culinary heyday was circa 2008, when a number of upscale restaurants popped up around the Culver Hotel and in Helms Bakery. It kind of petered out, but the restaurant scene is back, baby! It's just slightly more relaxed this time around, except for Destroyer and n/naka, which can't just be classified as upscale, as they're singular creatures. (And n/naka is technically in Palms.) Have fun rediscovering Culver City's great food!
Wonho Frank Lee
BäcoShop, a counter-service restaurant, brings Josef Centeno's half-pita, half-burrito creations to an area that could really use a high-quality lunch option. (It's open for dinner, too.) "Bäco" really refers to the vessel; it can be wrapped around any kind of filling. These have shown up before at Bäco Mercat, though the options at BäcoShop are perhaps a little more accessible. They're all — shrimp, steak, eggplant, etc. — saucy and soulful. My current favorite is the "green herb chicken" with thyme, spiced yogurt, green cabbage, parsley and a Meyer lemon vinaigrette. The menu is rounded out with a number of salads and vegetable dishes, dips served with crackers, a daily soft-serve ice cream option, bottles of Bäco Pop and tubs of Centeno's famous rice pudding.
9552 Washington Blvd., Culver City; (424) 258-6301, baco-shop.com.
Sunchoke, walnut, egg yolk
Sarah Needleman (Sprout)
Jordan Kahn's Destroyer follows new rules that seem contradictory to the idea of success and longevity but might just be the future of restaurants: Pick an odd, out-of-the-way location with no parking; pare down your build-out to absolute basics; open on the days and at the times that suit you — ignore dinner and weekends altogether if you like. Cook whatever the hell you want. Kahn has always been known for his visually stunning food. That hasn’t changed here, despite the fact that Destroyer is basically a futuristic cafe where office workers come to get coffee and oatmeal. But the coffee is from San Francisco’s Coffee Manufactory, and the oatmeal comes raw and crunchy in a beautiful, white bowl with drifts of red currant, perfect for Instagram, as is just about everything here. In fact, Destroyer’s stark background, heavy, earthy ceramics and meticulously artful platings might make it the most Instagrammable restaurant in the known universe. —Besha Rodell
3578 Hayden Ave., Culver City; destroyer.la.
Courtesy The Wallace
The small-plates menu at the Wallace in Culver City isn't revolutionary, but it is interesting, with a vaguely Mediterranean vibe and fresh California ingredients. Start with something from the Jarred section — maybe a caponata with ricotta and sea salt, duck rillettes, or the grilled flatbread served with mini jars of bacon marmalade, romesco and wilted greens. The cheese and cured selections include, well, cheese, but also popovers, salt cod fritters and a cured salmon belly served with an artistic smattering of cucumber, beets and horseradish. There are enough vegetable options to fill up even nonvegetarians (amazing grilled cauliflower with almond breadcrumbs, sprouting broccoli with tahini and feta, market greens with pumpkin and pomegranate seeds) and the "sea" and "land" sections have well-executed standards (grilled Greek octopus, tuna tartare) but also lemonfish crudo, charred lamb leg with farro risotto and an impossibly light short-rib ravioli dish. You'll need a couple of dishes per person to fill up, but everything is affordable — and dishes are far prettier than their price tags suggest. —L.A. Weekly
3833 Main St., Culver City; (310) 202-6400, thewallacela.com.
Maple Block Meat Co.
Barbecue is, above all else, regional. Part of the pleasure of visiting barbecue restaurants in the South is the ability to take a deep dive into that region's foodways, to understand that what's on your plate could only be had in that state, that county, that town. Maple Block Meat Co., which opened in August 2015 in Culver City, pays homage to all kinds of traditions, including the more modern L.A. tradition of making your barbecue restaurant very pretty in a wood-lined, rustic kind of way. The chef, Adam Cole, moved around the South as a kid, living in Texas, Georgia and North Carolina, and he got a taste for quite a few different barbecue styles. At Maple Block, he's not adhering to any particular style or region; you can get brisket or chopped pork or smoked turkey or smoked chicken or pork ribs or prime rib or Scottish trout. It's hard enough to do one kind of barbecue well; it's almost impossible to do three or four kinds. What Cole does do very well is smoke meat and, in particular, brisket. The tender slices of beef are intensely smoky, the ratio of fat to lean meat is just right, and the peppery crust on the outside gives just enough prickly flavor. This brisket is as good as any I've had outside of Texas and far better than 90 percent of what the other 49 states have to offer. —Besha Rodell
3973 Sepulveda Blvd., Culver City; (310) 313-6328, mapleblockmeat.com.
Chocolate-framed almond mazarin cake
This little shop prides itself on its "authentic Danish pastries," which doesn't really mean, you know, danishes. It means a ton of butter making everything flaky, from the Copenhagen Line, a sticklike pastry filled with yellow custard, to the signature kringles, full of almond paste (actually, most items here contain almond paste, which is one of the world's best dessert ingredients). There are also breakfast pastries and cakes, and rye bread made in the super-dense Nordic manner.
11113 Washington Blvd., Culver City; (310) 839-8900, copenhagenpastry.com.
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