It's hard to believe that when L&E Oyster Bar opened in early 2012, Silver Lake was lacking in quality modern, casual restaurants, or that Los Angeles was lacking in neighborhood seafood restaurants. L&E helped to usher in a new era of dining in the neighborhood, as well as a new era of oyster bars in the city, mixing a Euro-cafe vibe with the creative cooking of chef Spencer Bezaire. Almost five years later, L&E is a staple of both Silver Lake and Los Angeles.
Bezaire lives with his wife, Sabrina (who serves as L&E's wine director), a few miles from L&E in Highland Park. He was kind enough to give us a tour of his favorite things to eat in his neighborhood.
6. Civil Coffee
"Beautifully designed space with an amazing coffee selection from local roasters, this is a great place to plug in and drop out. Most recent addition includes food, and it's exactly what you would want when slurping down espressos. The capressa sandwich is among my favorites, with a house-smoked ricotta and salsa verde." 5629 N. Figueroa St., Highland Park. civil-coffee.com.
5. Belle's Bagels
"Operating out of a service window in the Hi-Hat on York, Belle's Bagels is pumping out not just their amazing hand-rolled beauties but also piling them high with sandwich options and great house-made smears. The North of York (smashed avocado, chives, cucumbers, radishes and SBEZ hot sauce) is my go-to. They are open from 7 a.m. until they run out, Thursday to Sunday, so get there early." 5043 York Blvd., Highland Park. (323) 208-9408, bellesbagels.com.
4. "The Taco Ladies” on York
"You know it’s a good taco table when the first thing they ask you is how many you are ordering. This tells them how many tortillas they need to make to complete the order. All tortillas are made fresh and the pastor spit perfumes the air for blocks. Just a propane flat-top, some stringed lights and a table full of salsa options, including a nopales salad that is not to be missed. The pastor is sweet and adding piña is a must." Located between Milwaukee Avenue and Toledo Street, just east of Avenue 57.
3. The Hermosillo Club/Highland Park Brewery
"Bob Kunz is the master brewer and owner of Highland Park Brewery, and he is making hands down the best beer in Los Angles. In a space that occupies no more than 300 square feet, Bob stocks the list at the Hermosillo Club, which is located right in front of the brewery, with at least eight to 10 fresh offerings daily. With growler fills and beer-centric events that seem to happen every week, the Hermosillo Club is the perfect neighborhood watering hole. Along with great beer, the Hermosillo Club boasts a terrific fried chicken sandwich, and crispy fried pickles." 5125 York Blvd., Highland Park. (323) 739-6459, thehermosillo.com.
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2. Kitchen Mouse
"The day after some heavy drinking and street-food gorging, sometimes you just need some simply prepared and well-executed vegetable dishes. Kitchen Mouse is an oasis in an otherwise bar food–saturated area. The romesco tacos and warm brown rice pesto bowl are just what the doctor ordered, or maybe that's my liver talking." 5904 N. Figueroa St., Highland Park. (323) 259-9555, kitchenmousela.com.
1. Antojitos Guerrero
"Little family-run Mexican restaurant that specializes in birria de chivo, slow-braised goat served with a side of consommé de chivo and handmade, to order, yellow corn tortillas. They used to only serve this on weekends, but it has become so popular that it is now served every day. Also little-known secret, it's BYOB." 5623 York Blvd., Highland Park. (323) 254-6118.