Three blocks from The Charlie, Rick Bayless’s swinging Red O (+1 323 655 5009; www.redorestaurant.com) serves California-style Mexican dishes, bright ceviche and potent, fruity margaritas in a see-and-be-seen space on Melrose Avenue. Book a table at the wildly popular, minimalist Animal (+1 323 782 9225; www.animalrestaurant.com) on Fairfax Avenue for small plates that showcase less-popular cuts of meat in superlative preparations. Try the poutine with oxtail gravy, pigs’ ears with chilli, and buffalo-style pigs’ tails. Talented chef David Myers presides over the lively Comme Ça bistro on Melrose Avenue (+1 323 782 1104 or www.commecarestaurant.com), which ladles bouillabaisse, shucks oysters and minces steak tartare for Francophiles. Two miles away, Pizzeria Mozza at the corner of Melrose and North Highland Avenues (+ 1 323 297 0101 or www.pizzeriamozza.com) expertly blisters large, doughy pies and serves a near-addictive butterscotch budino at dessert.
The Roger Room on La Cienega (+1 310 854 1300) is a dimly lit speakeasy-style bar with clever spins on classic cocktails. Chef Michael Voltaggio’s ink. (+1 323 651 5866; www.mvink.com) two blocks away on Melrose Avenue houses a lively bar with a selection of tonics and mixers that could rival an apothecary’s stash.
A leisurely mile-and-a-half stroll away, the Original Farmers Market at Third Street and Fairfax Avenue (+1 323 933 8929 or www.farmersmarketla.com) is a city landmark that holds market stalls, food shops, fruit stands and cafes with outdoor seating. Behind it, the newly constructed mall, the Grove, holds several upscale restaurants with patio seating. Kings Road Café (+1 323 655 9044; www.kingsroadcafe.com), a seven-block walk away on Beverly Boulevard, is a favourite spot for screenwriters and script-studying actors. Sweet Lady Jane nearby on Melrose Avenue (+1 323 653 7145; www.sweetladyjane.com) is an ideal afternoon stop-off for treats from the in-house bakery: the fancy cakes and fruit tarts are both beautiful and scrumptious.