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Canele

Another trip to Canele in Atwater and another great meal! Thought that after Irene's review that it would be packed, but got seated right away. The staff are just great: sweet, professional, and knowledgeable. Tasted three appetizers: the beet salad, a celery root salad, and the brandade. The celery root was very special - crisp and tart against the spice of red onion and shaved garlic and balanced with big leafs of parsley. The brandade was restrained yet fun and the beet salad was fine but unremarkable. Entrees included a great seared trout with roasted leeks that made me forget about going fishing and cooking over a campfire. Just exquisite! The leg of lamb was nicely done with large pearls of Israeli couscous that just shined. The snapper was simple and elegant. I still adore the chocolate-almond torte that is redolent of a fine fresh chocolate covered marzipan candy - not too sweet, but definitely a dessert that can help you finish the last of your red wine. This is definitely my new favorite place!

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  1. I couldn't agree more. The celery root salad is my favorite of the salads. The beet salad is good, but the celery root is amazing!!! We got there early Sunday night (5:30), but by 6:30it was packed and stayed that way until we left at 8:00.
    The portions seem really generous for the price too!
    I'll be there once a week !

    1. I admit that for purely selfish reasons, I've hesitated to comment on Canele; out of fear that everyone would flock to the best addition to the Eastside! As a native to LA and resident to Los Feliz, I'm proud to say we have excellent dining choices. If you're into good food, fresh, quality ingredients and a warm atmosphere, you'll have no complaints. Show up with your favorite vintage (corkage 10 bucks) or pick from their well-rounded, reasonably priced wine/beer list and take a seat at the window-side community table or a table-top at the rear of the place, either way it's cozy. The seasonal squash appetizer is the perfect treat for a chilly night. It's served warm, but the fresh baby arugula is refreshing and spicy, perfect with red or white wine (I'm typically a red wine drinker, but my husband drinks white, so I indulged him and it paired perfectly with this and the rest of our meal...shall i continue, ok)...as a major food addict by night and yogi by day, I'm in heaven with the beef bourguinon with buttered pappardelle pasta. OMG! I love fish so I tried the trout and it was yum! Although I die for good authentic Middle Eastern food, I usually order my fish filleted. On this occasion, I went for the real deal (head on, etc!). It was to die for! BTW, chocolate almond desert, ice cream, coffee, the perfect finish to the perfect meal. Dinner for 2 $70 + tip.

      1. Canale is good, imho. It serves our hood very well and the food is more consistent now. The salads and staters are very well done. I do think some of the mains have room for improvement. The beef bougogne had too much pancetta and the smokieness was overpowering rather than complimentary. The leg of lamb was over cooked on my last visit served medium rather than the kitchen recommended medium rare. The lamb portion size was 2 small pieces of meat on the bed of cous cous. Another slice would have been nice. I think the filet of beef suffers the same portion problem. The trout is terrific and my wife loves it. The snapper is very good. Desserts could improve. The almond chocolate cake tastes of almond liqueur rather than fresh almonds, whcih detracts from the focus. The cheese cake needs some fruit or coulis to add depth. The wine list is still poorly thought out with very little excitment. The floor staff knows very little about the wines other than the label contents. As long as corkage remains $10, this problem is easily remedied. The Riedel Os are a very nice touch. The communal table is where we often sit and adds a nice element to dining.

        Canale is a great addition to the hood. While my comments may come off as somewhat critical, I think with some improvements, Canale will become a very fine bistro worthy of a top billing. I would rate (using the LA Times system) Canale ** right now with the potential for ***.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Grog

          I went to Canele again recently and they have definitely increased the portion sizes. I adored the beef tenderloin entree (served with a divine roasted broccoli/broccoli rabe and potatoes anna), so I ordered it again. On the first visit, it came with two slices of tenderloin and one little wedge of potatoes anna, and on this latest visit, it came with three slices of tenderloin and two wedges of anna. Almost everything was just as good as the first time, although the service suffered a little bit -- the waitress we had was new, and with the crowds she was a little slammed. Other entrees my table ordered included the beef bourguinon (delicious), the trout (one picky eater at my table found it too oily, but the other two who had it loved it) and the pork (the recipient licked his plate clean). Beet salad and celery root salad were both delicious. I ordered the green salad with the creme fraiche vinagrette, and while I had this my first time there and loved it, this time I found it a little under-dressed. Oh, and they were out of the snapper, which disappointed the two people at my table who don't eat meat -- it left them with only one fish option, the trout.

          We skipped dessert since it was a birthday dinner and we were having cake and coffee at home.

          We went on a Thursday night (we arrived at 7 pm), and shortly after we got there, every table was full and LOTS of people were waiting.

          Overall, I am happy to have this option in the neighborhood, although I think they are still getting into their groove -- increased crowds have put pressure on the kitchen, and they still need to work on small variations in consistency (i.e. my salad). I really think they should consider taking reservations for at least some of the tables, which would help with both consistency and stocking ingredients.

        2. Neighborhood Osteria Nonni's congenial, elderly owner (who's name I don't know) but who for seventeen years could always be found at the far end of the open kitchen, apparently has retired and sold his friendly and familiar restaurant.

          According to the Times, Corina Weibel and (cute as a bug) Jane Choit have reopened the restaurant, as Canele. They have remodelled delightfully, but only slightly --- you'll still recognize the place. It's no longer Italian, but a sort of quirky California French. The clientelle has changed, younger and hipper. If you're middle aged, you'll love people watching for the girls in mix and match Barbi Doll modern (lots of torn jeans, leggings and cheap jewelry) and guys in plaid PJ bottoms and hospital greens are a hoot.

          Nonni's sublime male waiter (I'm blanking on his name right now) is still at work, so regulars will feel right at home and well-treated. The tables in the back, always less inviting at Nonni, now seem more comfortable, with a previous covered brick wall now exposed to add some warmth. The ubiquitous hot Italian bread that Nonni served every table is gone (you'll have to travel to the supreme Angeli on Melrose for that) but the brief menu is great! The herb-roasted chicken is great as are the tapenade potatoes that accompany it. While I shouldn't eat it, their cheese cake is a "ten". I recommend pretty much everything on the carefully planned menu. I think they violated a state law that requires all resturants to have a Caesar Salad, but Go Girls! Relatively inexpensive and a warm, inviting place with loads of street parking.

          My only mild criticism is the four tables right in the front window (always the best place to sit at Nonni) have sadly been replaced by one immense, communal table, shades of your high school cafeteria.

          Nevertheless, a great revitalized destination in Atwater, on the edge of Glendale and Silverlake. I'll see you there!

          1. After hearing about Canele from several trustworthy eaters, I finally met a friend for dinner on Wednesday night. I have to agree with most of the posters - it's a lovely neighborhood place - cozy, very friendly and the food was very good. I think that they have probably ironed out most of the issues they may have had with service at the very beginning, we had very friendly and attentive service, although it was early on a wednesday night and not particularly crazy busy. We had 2 special appetizers - clams with white wine, very flavorful and perfectly not oversalted, with garlic and thin slivers of chili that added a perfect bit of spice - and a roasted delicata squash salad - i believe it was served on a bed of arugula - the squash was perfectly roasted, slightly caramelized and oooh so tasty!

            i would definitely go back for the squash. my friend had the pork loin - it's her favorite and she apparently she can't bear to order anything else and i had the beouf bourginon. i love beef bourginon but i have to agree with one of the posters - the meat was very tender (perfect) and i did like the broth but the smokiness was a tad overpowering. i, however, loved the chunks of pancetta, because really, little jewels of smoky porkiness - how can that be bad? no, really? the pork loin was good but i think i was completely envious of friend's polenta and chard - i could have that every night in the winter and perfectly happy. except for the extra 50 lbs i would pack on.

            dessert - we had the flan and the biscuit w/ pears and creme fraiche; the flan was perfect!! omg - i'm a huge custard fan and i have to say they nailed the consistency of the flan - delicate and silky, floating on a light pool of caramel sauce. oh yes. the pears and biscuit - very good - the biscuits were light and flaky and the pears were quite good - not too sweet, but the delicate flavor of pear was quite nice.

            however, i have to say - WHAT IS UP WITH THOSE CANELES? i LOVE caneles, and have had some great ones - at Bay Bread Boulangerie in SF and Boule here in LA, but these were misshapen, crusty on the outside (and not in a good way), dry - like little hockey pucks! ideally, they should keep the shape of the mold, be somewhat dark on the outside, with a nice shiny crust (from the use of a beeswax coating on the mold), and have a moist, almost custardy center. i couldn't even detect any rum in the batter, which is key. these...caneles...i say not.

            i love the restaurant - atmosphere, food, service - i'm definitely going back, what a find! but if they are going to call themselves canele, they should nail those pastries at the end.

            1. Finally got to Canele tonight, and was rewarded with an easily-found table, and a wonderful dinner. Had the special(as quoted even though it has been on offer for a while, judging by the responses above) Kabouka squash salad, which is the roasted squash with raisins, onions, and arugula - fabulous. The squash is warm, and the balance of the ingredients are at room temperature. A treasure of an appy, even though I was really tempted by the celery root salad, now being saved for a future visit.
              The pork tenderloin entree over slow-cooked chard and polenta was divine. The glasses of sablet, the red rhone they discuss as wine by the glass, serves the food quite well, and if dining solo, is an adequate replacement for the corkage issue, yet at $8 a glass, corkage might have still been a better option.
              No dessert nor canele, which is oftentimes my option as a non-dessert person, basically; yet I truly left sated, thankfully awaiting my next visit, which should be sooner than later. Definitely a superb neighborhood find, even though in Atwater, and not Sherman Oaks!!!

              1. My husband and I went to Canele the day before Valentine's, a Tuesday, at around 8pm for their Farmer Freeze Relief Menu (Canele was one of several restaurants and food suppliers, like Lucques and Angeli, to donate goods and services to an evening of meals, the profits going to freeze-affected farms). It was packed tight, it was friendly, it was hip-ly home-y, and we enjoyed it. The hostess was a pro, and I loved the open kitchen and how you can see the finished dishes put up for delivery. The special Freeze Relief menu included Niman Ranch-donated pork as the main. I don't eat pork, unfortunately, as I'm sure that would have been delicious, and the chef very nicely indulged my being a pill by saying she would more than gladly sub chicken for the pork. The Freeze Relief Tahitian squash soup with creme fraiche was delish (creme fraiche brought it to delish level); my husband's flageolet with basil oil and evoo soaked crostini was excellent (that's a regular menu item); The chicken was a crispy-skinned outside and the apples and cabbage were delicious, as was the sauce. The chicken meat was cooked perfectly, but was a bit bland, which is something I often find with chicken we eat - it's killed too young after too much time in one place being overfed, producing a tender but bland muscle. The Freeze Relief dessert was a candied kumquat bread pudding a la mode, a nicely firm and satisfying bread pudding given an interesting brightness by the kumquats. I have no idea what a good canele is supposed to taste like, but I liked the nice closure to our experience provided by the same pro hostess, who greeted and seated us, offering us one from a cloth-covered tray on the way out the door. The canele (again, the caveat that I've never had it before) was crispy and dense.

                1 Reply
                1. re: megababedeluxe

                  Ha! I think I took a few kumquats away from your evening's dessert plans. I opted for some kumquats before leaving from last Sunday's dinner rather than taking the offered caneles.

                  There's a tree in Silver Lake that has some amazingly fragrant ones...Oh, Fallen Fruit.

                  In any case, I had been considering going to Tuesday's dinner, but decided not to do so, as so many restaurants fail at doing events. But it sounded like it went well, overall?

                2. We were there, as well. My husband and I went expressly for the freeze relief menu, it's the second time I've been there. I liked the menu, but didn't love it. I felt the menu was missing more of a savory element. I had the pork chops, and while they were good--I found myself wanting garlic or onions.

                  We live close, so I'll probably give it one more try, I'm still hoping to love it.

                  1. I went again last night. I have now had most of the things on the menu (going with other people and sharing). It really is a superb restaurant. And some of my favorite things are the most simple. The simple salad of greens, with a dressing with I believe crème fresh, is about the best salad in town currently. It is wonderful. And last night I had the side of greens. Wow. I grew up in the south and am picky about greens; these were not quite what I grew up with, with lots of bacon grease, etc (so good) but they were extremely flavorful, perfectly cooked, sublime. I hope both of these stay on the menu for a long time. I haven’t had a bad dish there yet.

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: Tom P

                      When I first went, the place was packed, and they didn't have printed menus. The second time around they had menus, which really helped, and they were still packed. Since you go more often than me, are they always that busy? I kind of thought things would have slowed down by now.

                      1. re: cjla

                        They are doing very well, as far as I can tell, which is heartening. I teach Yoga right next door, so I see inside the restaurant any night I teach, along with the times I have dined there (4 times). People really seem to love it, and in addition to the individual tables, which are very close, there are always people sitting at the small bar to eat, and the large community table is also often full. They are doing a very good job of getting people in: as busy as it has been, I have never waited over 15/20 min for a table, and they will let you start a wine tab while you wait. I imagine midweek is not a crazy busy as the weekends, if you don't want to potentially wait as long. I think it is a good example that a really good restaurant can make it in the area. Blair’s and Edendale Grill both still seem to do well, and Canele has to be getting some Glendale business in addition to Atwater and Silverlake, given the dearth of this type of place in Glendale. Canele has a really nice neighborhood feel to it that I love.

                        1. re: Tom P

                          I really want to like Canele. Don't get me wrong, it's good, but not great. Like the above posted, I liked the menu, but didn't love it. The appeal is that it's in Atwater Village.

                          1. re: marcellammmm

                            Keep in mind that as a neighborhood restaurant, you cannot be everything to everyone, and they are not - they are trying to do a good job with a smallish menu, smallish wine list, and trying to put out food much more than just competently, which most people seem to feel they are also doing a good job of.
                            Destination restaurant like Spago - do not let that idea cross your mind. Good job like a Bistro Verdu when it was in Montrose, absolutely. Every nabe needs at least one or two, and they should be supported for what they are - a neighborhood restaurant.

                    2. Just had a really nice small meal at Canele. I ate by myself at the bar, but met some lovely people also eating at the bar and also spoke with the cook at the meat station a little and the chef a little. The kitchen is open, so for a complete foodie/home cook like myself, it was really fun to eat dinner while watching the kitchen take orders and prepare everything. They do small things well, I think. The "coop omelete" looked delicious coming out of the kitchen. I had a nice soup, a nice Spanish cheese and ham special plate, and a ehh pear dessert. IMO, the pear dessert really needed to be warm, especially on a "cold" night like tonight. Other than that, good service, really pleasant, want to go back and try more!

                      6 Replies
                      1. re: Lmo1823

                        I think "ehh" is an excellent description of the desserts at Canelé.

                        1. re: Woolsey

                          Not so for the orange cake. That has to be one of the best desserts in LA right now.

                          1. re: Tom P

                            Again, I disagree. In fact, the orange butter cake might have been the most "ehh" of all the desserts. (In fact, for some of my fellow diners, it bordered on the "eww.")

                            1. re: Woolsey

                              Interesting! I had dinner there twice the week before Thanksgiving (close and easy) and both times the people at the table with me went nuts over it. We ordered a second one, one night. Such is taste. Both meals that week were terrific. I really love the place.

                              1. re: Tom P

                                I do agree that Canelé is really good. I'd rather have some larger versions of the restaurant's namesake pastry myself to end the meal; I love a good canelé (or four) for dessert.

                          2. re: Woolsey

                            I don't know if its still on the menu, but the chocolate cake they served last fall was divine. I'm not a big dessert person, but that one had me cleaning the plate and I'm still thinking about it a year later.

                        2. Just ate at Canele for the first time last night. Wow! This is the kind of restaurant I wish existed in the San Fernando Valley, where I live. Great food, cozy atmosphere, nice wine list. The dessert menu is the least interesting part of the menu.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: Cheezy Beefington

                            Max in Sherman Oaks is probably the closest yet is a little less casual, yet the food is every bit as good as is the wine list.

                          2. Anybody know if they still have these two items (their web site menu does not list them 12/25/2007):
                            "pork tenderloin over slow-cooked chard and polenta" and "squash appetizer with arugula"?

                            I can't imagine a better dinner for my tastes!

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: ecaitlin

                              They are not. But I have been 4 times in the last 2 months (near my house and I love it) and have had most everything on the menu...there really is nothing I would not recommend. The two special appetizers...chorizo, potato and fried egg, and the Cod Brandade, are worth crawling through nails for. And the new pork chop is wonderful. As is the lamb (yum). As is...