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Mar 30, 2007 01:14 PM

The Best Bouillabaisse and Cioppino in L.A.?

My enduring love for all things that swim, squirm, and filter means that my most ideal dish consists of a proper representation of all above. Hence, my obsession with the two rustic fish soups, the Bouillabaisse and Cioppino. I have thus set forth on a mission to taste and rate every single example of these two dishes in the greater Los Angeles area. If anyone could lead me toward restaurants that list either of these dishes on their menus, I would be eternally grateful. Feel free to include or exclude your personal thoughts on the experience- I will most likely try them on my own either way. Thanks!

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  1. I had a very nice Cioppino dish at Vivoli Cafe and Trattoria in West Hollywood. It's located in a mini-mall, but very charming inside.

    Vivoli Cafe
    7994 Sunset Blvd
    West Hollywood, Ca 90046
    (Two Block West Fairfax)
    323 656 5050

    1. So you wish to sample and rate "ALL" the Bouillabisse the Los Angeles area has to offer?
      Well here are 13 places to get you started:

      La Cachette - French - Century City-ish

      Chez Mimi - French - Santa Monica

      Frenchy's Bistro - French - Long Beach

      Basilic - Swiss/French - Newport Beach

      The Arches - Old American - Newport Beach

      Pascal - French - Newport Beach

      Riveria at the Fireside - Continental - Westminister

      Bistro 45 - Cal/French - Pasadena

      The Seashell - Seafood - Woodland Hills

      La Dijonaise - French - Culver City

      Bel Air Bar & Grill - American - Bel Air

      Barsac - Cal/French - North Hollywood

      On the Waterfront Cafe - Swiss - Venice

      I look forward to reading your reviews and I'll leave the Cioppino spots to someone else. And no I haven't consumed all those Bouillabaises, I realize there are some great restaurants in that list and some not so great, and I hope they're all still in business.

      9 Replies
      1. re: JBC

        I would add Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays at Mimosa

        1. re: chica

          After reading many fine reviews of Mimoso we finally went for the Bouillabaise and it deserves a place near the top of the worst restaurants in L. A. list. There was no lobster or crab in it to save money said the manager who served the dish and spilled much of it on the floor. The French onion soup and greasy pork appetizer and tough beef stew also are unworthy of mention.

          The late Delmonico's Seafood Grille on Pico Blvd. had great Zuppa Alla Pescatore, their version of Cioppino, but they and it are gone now.

          1. re: Barbara Ladden

            There's Delmonico's Lobster House in Encino, is that any relation?

            1. re: Das Ubergeek

              Used to be but has not been for around 5 years or so since Tony bought the Encino location.

              1. re: Das Ubergeek

                We once asked at Delmonico's on Pico about the Encino location and were told that the chef or cook left Pico and opened in Encino using the same name and menu but there was no connection between the 2 restaurants. The people we talked to weren't clear on details or wouldn't/couldn't give details on just what happened and the legalities. We'll never know.

              2. re: Barbara Ladden

                Would not deny your thoughts on Mimosa.
                Had as bad a meal for Bastille Day last year, yet went to Pastis 3 blocks to the west, south side of the street, and the place was packed, the food was good, and they were serving until at least midnight, yet Mimosa was closing by 10:30.
                In fact, went to a wine tasting dinner at Pastis this past Thursday, and the food continues to be very solid, and way beyond whatever that slop is that Mimosa passes off on people.
                But Mimosa looks nice!
                but so does Pastis, in an up-to-date Paris bistro kind of way.

            2. re: JBC

              Thank you for giving me so many locations to pick from! I was in Pasadena last night so I made a reservation for Bistro45 with the sole intention of trying their Bouillabaise. I recommend this restaurant for anyone and everyone. From the moment we walked in the door, the service was supreme (the kind where you water glass is never empty and you have a fresh folded napkin between every dish). We sat on the patio, which was nicely heated and with a very charming garden feel, full with a mini fountain and true ivy crawling up the walls. Their wine list was impressive, with a fresh suggestion for everyone of their main dishes. I took their red wine suggestion for my soup and the pairing was spot on. Finally; the food. Very very good indeed. The main portion of the soup was a monkfish, surrounded with mussels, clams, one large shrimp and two scallops. The monkfish was delicate, but the flavor was lost in the sometime spicy broth. The mussels were good, but not as large or delicate as I have had in the past. The shrimp was the biggest disappointment, it was cooked a little too long and was tough. But the scallops....oh the scallops! They were little mini custards, so soft and flavorful! All in all, a great suggestion and it has made my list of the top ten. The only one in LA that is better that I have tried so far is the one from La Cachette, which I tried months before and I still remember fondly. Thanks agan, happy Easter, and I will keep slurping and marching on with my quest!

              1. re: JBC

                had Mimi's this week and think that Jiraffe and La Cachette serve significantly better versions

                1. re: epop

                  I have been to La Cachette and I loved the entire experience. Their bouillabaisse was my favorite in Los Angeles so far (the best I have ever had was in Las Vegas and San Fran). However, I called Jiraffe two days ago, and they do not have a bouillabaisse on their menu right now, Is it a special, or have they just taken it off their menu?

              2. Pastis on beverly at Crescent Heights has a very tasty french bouillabaisse-
                also really like their mussels

                JiRaffe in Santa Monica on 5th has a cioppino that is either on their regular menu or else it is a special EVERY time I have ever been there. My dad and brother always get it.....

                2 Replies
                1. re: msmd310

                  i like their bouillabaise (jiraffe), never seen a cioppino there, and i go often.

                  1. re: epop

                    sorry- my mistake- I asked my father it IS bouillabaisse at JiRaffe ( I usually order their lamb chops)

                2. I recently had a LOUSY cioppino at Ocean Avenue Seafood.

                  1. 17th Street Cafe on Montana has a nice Cioppino.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: anothernotch

                      Seeing this post again, I am compelled to update my last post. My wife and I were recently back at 17th street and found to food, on whole, to be okay at best. I, however, would avoid the Cioppino - I was unaware that it was possible to deflavorize the dish.

                      1. re: anothernotch

                        I agree with you. Stick to Jiraffe, as they make a fine one