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Oct 17, 2006 07:52 PM

Trendy, Small, and Avant-Garde?

Hello! I was wondering if anyone had any suggestions for new, off-the-beaten-path places that serve excellent food and have an intimate vibe. They can be anywhere in the city - because I am new and still trying to get the lay of the land.

I have friends from France coming to stay with me for a month and I really like the trendy, avant-garde places with chefs doing crazy things with the food.

Examples include Nook, Orris, Empress, BLD, etc.

Please let me know if you tihnk of anything. Thank you!

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  1. BluJam Cafe (


    626 Reserve (


    132 S. Central Ave., Little Tokyo, (213) 613-9554

    1. The new restaurant Canele in Atwater Village satisfies the first part of your requirement -- excellent food with an inimate vibe.
      It's neither trendy nor avant-garde, but perhaps the patrons can fulfill that requirement :)

      1. How about Wilson in Culver City? Chic design, intimate space, interesting food ...

        1. Hatfield seems to be more or less what you are looking for. Tiara Cafe. Providence, Sona and Water Grill aren't exactly ``trendy,'' but they are among the most adventurous kitchens in town.

          1. Great, thanks for the help. Do you know if any of these places have a good wine program?

            Actually on that note, do you know of any good restaurants in general that have a 'funky' or an 'obscure' wine list? My friend is a sommelier, and a self-proclaimed rockstar somm at that. So, I'm looking for great food and wine that is different than the usual fare. Thanks for the help!

            3 Replies
            1. re: poppasmiths

              3847 Main St., Culver City

              Read about it here:

              1. re: ipsedixit

                Brilliant concept here, with opened bottles selected by customers going onto a community board from which all can order but much as I liked the place it has decidedly corporate vibe, along the lines of a "really special" Houston's (don't get me wrong - I love certain things about Houston's), something about the space, the vibe and the logo, etc. Pretty far from the kind of secret, intimate thing you said you're looking for.

              2. re: poppasmiths

                Hatfields has a very obscure list filled with oddities. Providence's list is more mainstream, but is pretty huge.

                You might also want to check out that place above the Wine House on Cotner, which is supposed to have decent, innovative food and obviously has a mondo list.