Campanile: 99 Essential Restaurants 2011

The heart of regional cooking lies in the ability of its chefs not only to work within the limitations imposed by the meager ingredients available but also to exalt those limitations as the soul of the cuisine itself. Rich regions eat cheeseburgers every night. Poor regions eke minestrone, socca or bouillabaisse out of their desperation. For decades, Mark Peel has been L.A.'s master of rustic, grill-intensive Mediterranean cuisine, elevating simple, strong-flavored peasant preparations with the best farmers market ingredients and chefly skill. No other restaurant has managed to marry populist tendencies with the highest levels of culinary ambition, and no other restaurant has introduced even a fraction of the number of wines, from Italy and from small California producers, to the American palate. Every time you walk into the restaurant, whether for your 14th portion of the grilled prime rib with bitter greens, for Thursday's grilled-cheese night or for a Monday-night family meal, you are greeted with the cheery smell of wood smoke in the soaring restaurant fashioned from a courtyard built by Charlie Chaplin for his child bride, Oona. Campanile wears its state of well-being like a well broken–in shirt. 624 S. La Brea Ave., L.A. (323) 938-1447, campanilerestaurant.com. Lunch, Mon.-Fri., 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m.; dinner, Mon.-Wed. 6-10 p.m.; Thurs.-Sat., 5:30-11 p.m.; brunch, Sun., 9:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Full bar. Valet parking. All major CC. California/Mediterranean.

99 Essential L.A. Restaurants 2011:

Jonathan Gold's Introduction
Anne Fishbein's Photos
The Google Map

The List:

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