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Behind the Scenes at Botanica in Silver Lake, Where the Aspirational Fantasy Is Real


Grilled lamb kebabsGrilled lamb kebabsGrilled lamb kebabsGrilled lamb kebabsBeet cocktailGrilled lamb kebabsWall of wineGrilled lamb kebabsSoCal Delights: three California cheesesGrilled lamb kebabsdriedGrilled lamb kebabsdriedGrilled lamb kebabsdriedGrilled lamb kebabschickpeas and stone fruitGrilled lamb kebabsBowl of market passion fruitGrilled lamb kebabsCoal-roasted eggplant and Sungold tomato tartineGrilled lamb kebabsMarket tomatoesGrilled lamb kebabsRomescoGrilled lamb kebabscharred leeksGrilled lamb kebabscilantroGrilled lamb kebabsView through Botanica's windowGrilled lamb kebabsKing salmonGrilled lamb kebabscitrus and herbsGrilled lamb kebabsStrauss organic unsalted butterGrilled lamb kebabsWatermelon cocktailGrilled lamb kebabsBub and Grandma’s focacciaGrilled lamb kebabsGazpachoGrilled lamb kebabsLate-afternoon light at BotanicaGrilled lamb kebabsOrange almond cakeGrilled lamb kebabsSummer Harvest Farm stone fruit for saleGrilled lamb kebabsCloseup of the SoCal DelightsGrilled lamb kebabs

Botanica, the new restaurant in Silver Lake, is owned and operated by two women who were — and still aspire to be — food journalists. Heather Sperling and Emily Fiffer worked in New York for years, writing about food for Tasting Table, Daily Candy and StarChefs. Botanica was conceived as a way to bring their food dreams to life, both physically and on the page. They refer to the endeavor as a “restaurant, marketplace and magazine,” and while the magazine has yet to materialize it's still very much a part of the plan. That means this is an intellectual pursuit as well as an aspirational fantasy. The look and feel of the place are massively important, in the same way that a glossy food magazine is judged on the visual package it presents. We read Saveur and Bon Appetit to fall into the beauty of their pages, and Botanica scratches a similar itch. You could go there simply to eat gorgeous plates of food that look as though they were lifted from the pages of a fabulous food magazine, in a room that might be featured in the pages of a fabulous design magazine. Botanica is a restaurant, but it is also a lifestyle. Read Besha Rodell's full review.    

Photos by Anne Fishbein