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Best Bread Basket in LA Restaurants

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oli Apr 15, 2005 07:36 PM

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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    Silverlaker RE: oli Apr 15, 2005 07:47 PM

    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
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      oli RE: Silverlaker Apr 15, 2005 09:06 PM

      Thanks for the recs! Carbs are awesome :)

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

      1. re: oli
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        Silverlaker RE: oli Apr 16, 2005 02:28 PM

        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
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          oli RE: Silverlaker Apr 16, 2005 07:31 PM

          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)

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      Seo RE: oli Apr 15, 2005 08:08 PM

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

      1 Reply
      1. re: Seo
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        recovering_vegetarian RE: Seo May 2, 2008 04:15 PM

        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
        tokyoastrogirl RE: oli Apr 15, 2005 08:15 PM

        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
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          steph p RE: tokyoastrogirl Apr 17, 2005 12:51 AM

          very true. it IS a great bread basket.

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          foodfiend RE: oli Apr 15, 2005 10:15 PM

          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/

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            SpongeBobSquarePegs RE: oli Apr 15, 2005 10:24 PM

            Vert:
            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
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              Dorothy RE: SpongeBobSquarePegs Apr 16, 2005 01:24 AM

              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. p
              Porky Yorky RE: oli Apr 15, 2005 10:41 PM

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

              1 Reply
              1. re: Porky Yorky
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                Cicely RE: Porky Yorky Apr 23, 2005 07:49 PM

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

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                ipse dixit RE: oli Apr 15, 2005 11:53 PM

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

                1 Reply
                1. re: ipse dixit
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                  aventinus RE: ipse dixit May 1, 2008 07:57 PM

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

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                  Carb Lover RE: oli Apr 16, 2005 03:09 AM

                  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. m
                    Megan RE: oli Apr 16, 2005 03:25 AM

                    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
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                      Goldie RE: Megan Apr 16, 2005 03:47 PM

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

                    2. m
                      malibumike RE: oli Apr 16, 2005 11:40 AM

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

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                        Chino Wayne RE: oli Apr 16, 2005 05:51 PM

                        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.

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                          sarabeth RE: oli Apr 17, 2005 01:12 AM

                          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!

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                            winewiz RE: oli Apr 17, 2005 02:56 PM

                            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.

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                              David Kahn RE: oli Apr 17, 2005 07:24 PM

                              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
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                                rabo encendido RE: David Kahn Apr 17, 2005 07:31 PM

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

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                                misomom RE: oli Apr 17, 2005 10:41 PM

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

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: misomom
                                  Emme RE: misomom Jan 24, 2008 09:25 PM

                                  yes definitely concur!

                                  1. re: Emme
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                                    carter RE: Emme Jan 25, 2008 08:50 AM

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

                                2. ReelMike84 RE: oli Jan 24, 2008 02:16 PM

                                  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. f
                                    flowergirl RE: oli Jan 24, 2008 09:40 PM

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

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                                      kermit RE: oli Jan 25, 2008 12:54 AM

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

                                      1. b
                                        bruinike RE: oli Jan 25, 2008 08:37 AM

                                        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. re: bruinike
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                                          jennygirlie RE: bruinike May 1, 2008 06:20 PM

                                          930 in Westwood

                                        2. aching RE: oli May 2, 2008 01:11 PM

                                          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. mrshankly RE: oli May 2, 2008 05:51 PM

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

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