Elf Cafe

Dinner at Elf Cafe in Echo Park was a delicious introduction into the cafe's MICHELIN guide mentioned Mediterranean cuisine - in Echo Park, California

When Marie mentioned that she’d heard of Elf Cafe and wanted to know if I was interested in meeting her at the restaurant for dinner, in Echo Park, I was more than happy to say yes. The menu looked like inspired Mediterranean cuisine, which is one of my favorites. Plus, it had been way too long since I’d visited my other favorite Mediterranean spot in Los Angeles –  Momed in Atwater Village. So, why not try some place new?

Now, parking on Sunset Blvd is wild. Your best bet is to park south on Mohawk Street, next to the school. Added bonus? You’ll be greeted by this beautiful mural.

Walking across the street to Elf was lovely. However, I was also reminded that Mohawk Bend, an awesome vegan spot I’d introduced Margaret to a few years prior, was now shuttered and replaced by a Pitfire pizza. Such is the changing food landscape of Los Angeles.

However, I wasn’t there to reminisce. I was there to savor a meal from a spot that recently reached the MICHELIN guide’s Los Angeles edition.

After greeting Marie, I sat down, browsed the menu and immediately, my eyes were drawn to the amari menu. It was brilliant – this was the most expansive menu I’ve been outside of Italy.

Frankly, I’d love to stock my home bar with more amari selections, as nothing speaks of a relaxing European summer quite like an Italian spritz or amaro sipping cocktail with a peel of orange or lemon.

I ordered the ADONIS COCKTAIL (Amontillado Sherry, Sweet Vermouth, Orange Bitters). This was explained to me as their take on the traditional Manhattan. It was actually a refreshing and smooth cocktail that I took pleasure in sipping. Plus, I loved the detail of the metal cocktail stick with the cherry treat. It’s the little things….

The SMOKED TROUT BRANDADE (raclette, toast) was absolutely incredible. It was perfectly balanced in flavors of trout and cheese.  It’s served with two pieces of grilled toast – which honestly, is tragically too small for what you receive. We requested additional bread and were served plain sliced French bread for $4. Honestly, I would have paid more for another serving of the same delicious grilled, large pieces of country bread.

The BAKED SHEEP FETA (dates, Echo Park honey, herbs) was also a solid choice. The plump dates added a hint of sweetness to the cheese dish. I also loved that it was served on grape leaves.

The SEARED MAITAKE (crispy potatoes, aji verde) were even better than I imagined them, after viewing them on the restaurant’s Instagram page. It was such a unique and expressive dish. The crispy potato reminded me of a polenta cake – which balanced the woody and earthy flavor of the mushroom. The aji verde was a brilliant sauce, with a slight kick.

I ordered the LO-FI DRY VERMOUTH (Cherry, Elderflower, Star Anise, Chamomile) on the rocks, to go with the main courses of the evening. This was a drier Amari with very light flavoring. If I would order it again, I would have ordered it neat rather than on the rocks.

The HALIBUT VERA CRUZ (Smoked Olives, Pickled Chiles, Cauliflower, Saffron Rice) was absolutely delicious. The char, the olives, the tomato sauce … sigh….. I could eat this once a month and be completely satisfied with my life.

I absolutely loved using the aji verde sauce and topping it on top of the halibut. It hit.

The off menu, CASUNZIEI ALL’AMPEZZANA (Beet-Stuffed Pasta with Brown Butter, Garrotxa Cheese, Poppy Seeds) was another dish I’d noticed on their Instagram page. Luckily, when I sat down, I asked our server if it was still available. With a stroke of luck, we were able to get the last serving.

The result? The most interesting dish of beet and cheese stuffed pasta with brown butter sauce I’ve have the pleasure of savoring.

As a night cap, we both ordered the BORDIGA BIANCO (Moscato Grapes, Complex, Alpine) to go with the absolutely scrumptious STICKY DATE CAKE (Salted Toffee Sauce, Whipped Cream).

Overall, dinner at Elf Cafe was a lovely, cozy and delicious dinner in Echo Park, California.

- -

Elf Cafe

2135 Sunset Blvd
Los Angeles, California 90026
Your custom text © Copyright 2024. All rights reserved.