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Best Bread Basket in LA Restaurants

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Will fellow 'hounds share your take on who has the best bread basket in LA? I am not talking about bread from bakeries, but the complimentary basket of bread which restaurants serve before your orders arrive. I'm interested at places of all price ranges. West LA preferred, but not limited to it.

My favorites:
- Al Gelato
- Urth Cafe's fruit and walnut bread
- I also think that the crunchy little toasts that Morel's Steakhouse at the Grove serves alongside the cheese plate is quite interesting, although I prefer to enjoy my cheese with soft bread. Their bread is nothing special.

Any thoughts?

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  1. I'd call myself "carb lover" if the moniker wasn't taken -- me love bread (but not my thighs)! Ugh!

    Great post, here's my likings:

    Jack Sprats (hot pretzels served w/ good mustard in place of bread)
    Rockenwagner (don't know why this place is dead, we've had a lot of great meals here, great bread basket!)
    Marmalade (as I remember)
    Spitfire Grill (SM Airport, food so/so, but the bread comes with artichoke spread, admittedly haven't been there in years)
    Mazarrinos (garlic bread to die for!)

    3 Replies
    1. re: Silverlaker

      Thanks for the recs! Carbs are awesome :)

      Where is mazarrinos? What kind of food does it serve?

      1. re: oli

        It's a well-known, old fashion Italian restaurant on Riverside Dr & Coldwater in Sherman Oaks. I've been going there since I was three (not kidding!). It seems to have caught on lately as a sort of "hole in the wall" and I've seen it featured on some reality shows, and have seen there a TV star or two gleefully eating speg. & meatballs. The garlic bread is served complimentary and is really good. Not only does it have all the Italian staples, but when I've been on one of my protein only kicks, I've had a really good chicken cacciatore w/ side veggies. Check it out if you live nearby (I wouldn't necessarily go out of my way for it, it's more of neighborhood joint).

        1. re: Silverlaker

          wow, thanks! it's not in my neighborhood, but i do go to sherman oaks once in a while (my bf loves weiner factory's dogs)

    2. Mastros has a great variety in their bread basket with a killer pretzel roll!!

      1 Reply
      1. re: Seo

        Yes! I was just at Mastros (almost 3 years after this comment) and had to literally make our server take the bread basket away from me before I ate the entire thing! The pretzel roll, BTW, tastes the same as the ones made by Rockenwagner. I love those things.

      2. t

        Parkway Grill in Pasadena- cheesy/spicy bread sticks, peppery flat bread, blue corn madelines, yellow corn madelines, and french bread all come in one basket.

        1 Reply
        1. re: tokyoastrogirl

          very true. it IS a great bread basket.

        2. If variety is your thing, World Cafe on Main Street in SM might interest you: pumpernickel, warm sourdough, bialy, and parmesan crostini with pickles and olives to boot. Unfortunately, all the food I've tried there has been lackluster and overpriced.

          Link: http://www.worldcafela.com/

          1. s

            flat bread, great thin breadsticks, white french, olive bread, pizza foccacia. Served with a side of goat cheese spread

            The one at the Palm for lunch was nice today. Big pieces of challah and nice portions of seseme flat bread.

            1 Reply
            1. re: SpongeBobSquarePegs

              I like the Palm's, too. They often have a yummy dark (rye? pumpernickel?) with raisins and walnuts. I'd rather have a buttered slice of that than a conventional dessert.

            2. FOGO DE CHAO- has the BEST cheese bread. does anybody know how to make them btw?

              1 Reply
              1. re: Porky Yorky

                Look for a recipe for pao de queijo. I actually found a not-bad mix at a Brazilian-owned smoke shop.

              2. Chain: Cheesecake Factory
                Non-Chain: Ciudad (don't ask me why, I can't explain it either)

                1 Reply
                1. re: ipse dixit

                  Are you talking about about the thin crispy flatbreads? Those are pretty good, maybe my favorite thing at Ciudad.

                2. Maybe it's just where I'm eating, but complimentary bread basket extravaganzas (ie, AT LEAST 3 kinds of bread) to please a carb lover such as myself are not very common these days. ~Sigh~

                  Believe it or not, the most memorable bread basket I consumed during my 3 yr. eating stint in LA was at Il Fornaio in Santa Monica. Artfully arranged basket w/ 4-5 varieties of fresh breads...ciabatta, rosemary foccacia, breadsticks, flat bread. Their lemon-infused olive oil def. made for dipping pleasure.

                  1. For me, nothing compares to Lucques. Those olives, almonds, delicious butter and coarse salt, along with the very tasty bread of course, have yet to be surpassed anywhere.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Megan

                      Plugra, coarse fleur de sel, La Brea Bakery bread. You can make the very same thing in the comfort of your own kitchen.

                    2. Taix French restaurant on Sunset Bl. in Los Angeles, baskets of hot fresh french bread and they just keep it coming.

                      1. Arroyo Chop House, Pasadena. Awesom warm, crusty, sour, sourdough bread. Take the compliementary basket of plain sourdough, served with a slab of sweet butter, then order a basket of garlic bread made from the same sourdough.

                        If you have room after that, the scallop and pancetta appetizer in a luscious sweet reduction, a medium-rare filet mignon with the portbello wine reduction sauce, and some Lyonnais potatoes, potatoey-onioney goodness.

                        1. I have to agree with Il Fornio. Nice assortment. Spago is very nice but it's served by a bread person, not a basket. I love the seasoned flatbread and the walnut bread. I guess it's a good thing it's not on the table; I'd totally fill up on them....I guess that's the point of not having a bread basket!!! Wolfgang saving money? LOL
                          In the more casual category, I do like the sourdough at Cheesecake, especially when the crust is well done!

                          1. The Depot restaurant in Torrance, 1250 Cabrillo blvd.
                            310-787-7501 . Incredible assortment from crispy flat bread to mouth watering banana nut, can't be beat.

                            1. The hot, fresh from the oven, artisanal mini-loaves they serve at Angeli Café (7274 Melrose Ave., 213-936-9086) kick ass. (They remind me of the killer rolls served at Bertucci's, an Italian chain in the north east.) Sometimes we actually order extras to go (in which event, they are, understandably, no longer free); they make nice sandwiches and are great with scrambled eggs in the morning.

                              Also, both Tesoro Trattoria (300 S. Grand Ave., (213) 680-0000) and Ciao (815 W. 7th St., (213) 624-2244) downtown serve baskets full of small, hot, braided egg bread rolls that are infused with roasted garlic and olive oil. I operate on the assumption that they contain 500 calories each.

                              Finally, Nick & Stef's 330 S. Hope St., (213) 680-0330) has a consistently good bread basket. Nice artisanal white and multi-grain/seed breads, both of which are always fresh and delicious.

                              Alas, the toasted cheese bread at the Dal Rae (9023 E. Washington Blvd., (652) 949-2444), while good, is a pale imitation of the substance that graced the tables at Scandia in years past.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: David Kahn
                                rabo encendido

                                Though not a "basket", strongly second David's mention of "Angeli". Those delicious "mini-loaves" are like heaven-sent bread frisbees.

                              2. Granita in Malibu. Basket comes w/crisp flatbread, walnut bread, wheat, white, and they'll refill it if you ask.

                                2 Replies
                                  1. re: Emme

                                    Keep in mind that Granita closed nearly 2 years ago and that the post you responded to was nearly 3 years old.

                                1. I know this is an old thread but I wanted to resurrect it to mention the great bread I had last week at a chain of all places; Maria's Italian Kitchen.

                                  Within minutes of being seated they brought out their homemade rosemary bread hot out of the oven. I usually avoid the bread basket to save room for the main attraction, but within seconds I had inhaled two large pieces and finally had to push away the basket to regain my self-control!

                                  1. Kate Mantilini has amazing bread - Lawrys - Three Square in Venice has a great variety that could make a decent meal - The Ivy - -La Scala...

                                    1. Mama D's in Manhattan Beach gives out amazing foccacia with a delicious garlic dipping oil.

                                      1. Just recently had the bread at Pastina which I loved. Comes piping hot to the table and tasted as if it had cheese inside but didn't. Also, love the bread "baskets" at Angeli Caffe, Cafe Carrera, Hidden, Amarone and Comme Ca (that baguette!!).

                                        And for chains you can't beat Louise's when it's right out of the oven.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. I know this seems unlikely, but I went to lunch at the Liberty Grill last week and they served the most incredible sourdough with butter - yum yum yum!

                                          1. Il Forno Caldo on Santa Monica (little Santa Monica) in Beverly HIlls has some delicious, Italian crusty bread made fresh.