Although L.A. is in many ways an ideal summer destination, it makes perfect sense to want to get away during your vacations, especially if you’re a local. Despite the city’s great beach offerings and its unmistakable cultural appeal, most of us prefer to jet off to the most romantic southern European destinations for the warmest season of all. But what if you could stay home and still feel like you’re traveling through the most beautiful parts of these countries? Let your palate be your guide and visit these L.A. restaurants where you can enjoy the best Italian, Greek, Portuguese, or Spanish dishes with that unique Los Angeles twist.
Denzel Washington once said that in “Los Angeles, everyone is a star”. In many ways, this Mount Vernon-born famous actor was right: L.A. is full of stars and not all of them are in Hollywood. A city in which celebrities like the Jennifer Tilly, Angelina Jolie, or Leonardo DiCaprio were born, Los Angeles is also Nancy Silverton’s hometown. The prominent chef — and a legend in our city — whose fame recently grew when she was featured in Netflix’s foodies’ favorite show Chef’s Table, is the owner of the exquisite Osteria Mozza. If you can find a table at this award-winning restaurant — which also hosts a very special Amaro Bar — you will certainly get carried away tasting the best mozzarella in the city and Silverton’s personal touch on the most delicious Italian dishes. Travel across Italy without taking a plane as you visit one of L.A.’s most exclusive and still affordable A-list restaurants.
But if Spain is the one place you’d love to spend your summer, then let your taste buds take you there as you visit The Bazaar by Jose Andres on La Cienega Blvd. In a venue designed by the one and only Philippe Starck, chef Andres mixes traditional Spanish flavors with sophisticated culinary techniques, serving the best tapas in town. Awarded the Outstanding Chef title by the James Beard Foundation and considered to be one of Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People, this Asturias-born chef born invites his diners to enjoy a culinary trip across his home country with mouth-watering dishes like the famous Empanada Gallega or a Dungeness Crab a la Donostiarra. A couple of hours spent at The Bazaar will actually feel like a month traveling throughout Spain.
Portugal, which has become an increasingly popular destination, is also one of the gastronomic stars of Europe, offering the most famous cod fish dishes on the continent, along with exquisite Pasteis de Nata and fresh Vinho Verde. So, it comes as no surprise that its exquisite cuisine would find a spot in Los Angeles. Our personal favorite and much more discrete than our two previous options is Natas Pastries, a small and welcoming venue on Ventura Blvd. Serving the classic Salada de Polvo and Francesinhas, as well as the country’s famous Bacalhau Com Natas or à Brás, this Portuguese spot will surely make you feel like you’re on the Atlantic coast of one of Europe’s most beautiful countries.
When it comes to Greece, L.A. has much to offer. Inotheke, however, is at the top of our list and also the ideal spot to eat the best moussaka in town as you picture yourself on the Mediterranean coast without even stepping out of Santa Monica. Whether if Spain, Italy, Portugal, or Greece are your favorite summer destinations, no need to leave L.A. as the city’s eclectic gastronomic offerings take you to the most paradisiac enclaves. Visit Osteria Mozza for a truly Italian — and undeniably Los Angeles — experience. Let chef Jose Andrés guide you across the most beautiful Spanish cities with his exclusive dishes. Try a huge typical Portuguese sandwich or taste the best cod fish as Natas Pastries provides you with an authentic experience, or give Inotheke a try and feel like Greece has come to you. Either way, enjoy your summer and treat your senses by visiting the city’s best southern European eateries.
Tags: Amaro Bar, Chef’s Table, Empanada Gallega, Inotheke, José Andrés, Nancy Silverton, Natas Pastries, Osteria Mozza, Philippe Starck, The Bazaar, The Bazaar by Jose Andres
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