A slew of restaurant openings along Sunset Boulevard has brought new dining options to Silver Lake that include homestyle Taiwanese dishes and tea drinks, Northern Thai specialties from Night + Market's Kris Yenbamroong and Indian vegetarian street food from Westside favorite Samosa House.
So whether you're craving moo yang or chana masala or a Margherita pizza, here are five new reasons to love Silver Lake:
5. A sunny patio and margaritas at El Condor
El Condor opened in the former El Conquistador space with a revamped menu and fresh paint job by the same owners as L&E Oyster Bar and Bar Covell. There are still plenty of rice-beans-and-cheese Mexican standards but also fresh guacamole, handmade tortillas and California salads. Ask for a table on the patio, where the sun streams in and calls for lots of chips and fruity margaritas. The patio opens at 4 p.m.
El Condor, 3701 Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles, (323) 660-4500, www.elcondorla.com.
4. Chaat at Samosa House Sunset
Samosa House in Culver City has long been known as a go-to vegetarian (and vegan-friendly) Indian restaurant in Culver City. Its sister restaurant, Samosa House East, opened a few years ago down the street from the original. Now Samosa House has made the leap to Silver Lake, with the same steam-table format and an additional menu of chaat -- street snacks -- and soon-to-come dosa (filled rice flour crepe) options. Proven Westsider favorites at the steam table include smoky cauliflower, chana masala and the veggie "chicken" served at Samosa House East. But the chaat might be where it's at, especially the samosa chaat, a samosa split open and topped with chickpeas, yogurt, chutney, herbs and spices. It looks and tastes like a volcano of flavor.
Samosa House Sunset, 3200 W. Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles, (310) 398-6766, www.samosahouse.net.
3. Pizza straight from a brick oven at Wood
There isn't a dearth of pizza in the swath of L.A. between East Hollywood and Echo Park (but RIP, Nicky D's). Still, Sunset Boulevard in Silver Lake isn't exactly a pizza haven, especially for fans of straight-from-the-oven Neapolitan-style pies with bubbly, charred-edge crusts. The pizzas at Wood Handcrafted Pizza fill that void, with plenty of options, from the Margherita to pizzas topped with mushrooms, or lamb sausage and mint, or prosciutto and arugula ...
Wood, 2861 W. Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles, (323) 667-9940, www.woodsilverlake.com.
2. Taiwanese standards such as "three cup chicken" at Pine & Crane
"Three cup chicken" (sanbeiji) might be the litmus dish at any Taiwanese restaurant, and the one at Pine & Crane isn't disappointing -- chunks of chicken in a sticky sauce of soy sauce, rice wine and sesame oil (the traditional recipe calls for a cup of each, hence the name), scented with star anise and mixed with thick slices of ginger, whole cloves of garlic, chiles, basil and green onions. Other highlights include the beef roll; beef noodle soup, with thick springy noodles, braised beef brisket, bok choy and suan cai (pickled mustard greens); and seasonal sauteed greens such as pea shoots, chyrsanthemum greens, water spinach and sweet potato leaves. They come from the farm of owner Vivian Ku's father in Bakersfield.
Pine & Crane, 1521 Griffith Park Blvd., Los Angeles, (323) 668-1128, www.pineandcrane.com.
1. Thai street food that brings the heat at Night + Market Song
Kris Yenbamroong of Night + Market in West Hollywood opened the restaurant's Silver Lake outpost last month and puts on the menu daily specials such as moo yang nom khon khamin sod, sliced pork shoulder marinated in condensed milk and fresh turmeric, and khao soi with egg noodles, fresh and pickled vegtables, chiles, chicken and lime in a coconut-milk-based curry. Original favorites not to be missed are the crispy rice salad, "startled pig," fatty hog collar and catfish "tamale." The chiles are abundant, for fans of the spicy.