Atwater Village, that almost two-square-mile neighborhood of Los Angeles between Silver Lake, Los Feliz, Glendale and the Los Angeles River, is getting a jolt of energy from new businesses moving onto Glendale Boulevard. Just come on a Sunday for brunch at Canelé or All’ Acqua, maybe a capuccino at Kaldi Coffee or a healthy kick of vegetables in a glass from the Juice and watch the crowd stroll by.
Some are headed for the Atwater Village Farmers Market to shop for organic produce or eggs. Others are poking their heads into the exotic bird shop, the knitting store, art bookstore or a craft boutique. Lots of babies. Lots of dogs. In other words, this modest blue-collar neighborhood is heading toward hipster-dom. You can still duck into the Club Tee Gee for drinks, update your tennis and badminton gear at the Racket Doctor — or sign up for lessons at Dave’s Accordion School.
Whether you live in Atwater or are just visiting, here’s our guide to places food lovers will enjoy.
All’ Acqua — This rustic contemporary Italian restaurant from the Barbrix team — Claudio Blotta, Adria Tennor and chef Don Dickman — brings a dose of glamor to the neighborhood. A full bar offers well-priced cocktails (try the Eastsider or the Atwater Julep) while a wood-burning oven turns out Neapolitan pizza (after 10 p.m., they’re discounted for happy hour) topped with fennel pork sausage and wild fennel pollen. Dickman is a master of ragu, and his pasta sauced with short rib and and porcini ragu is worth a trip. Warm service and a well-edited list of Italian and Californian wines add to the appeal of this bright spot on Glendale Boulevard. Brunch on Sundays, too, right next to the farmers market. P.S., that name? It’s Italian for “at water.” 3280 Glendale Blvd., Los Angeles, (323) 663-3280; http://www.allacquarestaurant.com/
Atwater Village Farmers Market — Held every Sunday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Wells Fargo Bank parking lot, the Atwater Village Farmers Market gathers together more than two dozen high-quality farmers. You can find the basics, but also rare herb plants, organic grains and beans, local cheeses, poultry and pasture-raised meats (even rabbit sometimes). Food choices are pretty good, too — homemade soups, fresh-shucked oysters, fish tacos. And on the last Sunday of the month, you can bring your e-waste for recycling. 3250 Glendale Blvd. (at Larga Avenue), Los Angeles; http://www.seela.org/atwater-village-farmers-market/
FOR THE RECORD
April 30, 12:02 p.m.:An earlier version of this post said the Atwater Village Farmers Market takes place in the parking lot of Bank of America. It is in the Wells Fargo Bank parking lot.
Canelé — At this farm to table restaurant, chef/owner Corina Weibel turns out fresh, seasonal dishes with a quirky charm. The menu (which doesn’t change all that much) is chalked on a tall blackboard: French lentil soup, dandelion salad, pissaladière, roast chicken and more, and for dessert, the Buena Chica cheesecake. The best seat in the house is the communal table in the front window. On Sunday mornings, there’s always a wait for shrimp and cheddar grits or steak hash for brunch, and there's now lunch three days a week. 3219 Glendale Blvd., Los Angeles, (323) 666-7133, http://canele.la/#/home
Dune — A tiny storefront (with no sign) houses Dune, the popular falafel joint from former Elf Cafe chef Steve Zweizen. Organic green herb falafel is light and fluffy, set on a slab of dense flatbread and garnished with hummus, shoestring potatoes and house-made pickles. Pasture-raised lamb, cooked rare, comes on the same flatbread, with lemon turmeric yogurt and seasonal greens. The menu is short and sweet — a few salads, and plates of hummus with egg and other items. Eat at the narrow counter or outside at sidewalk tables. 3143 Glendale Blvd., Los Angeles, (323) 486-7073, http://dune.kitchen.
The Juice — This tiny juice bar is filled with the roar of the machines as juicing enthusiasts line up for carrot-apple-ginger or apple-celery-kale-romaine-parsley-lemon-ginger, more than a dozen combos in all. They also make their own almond milk in three flavors and, for those into it, sell detox and cleanse packages. Watch for the Juice bike outfitted with a cart at farmers markets and other events. 3145 Glendale Blvd., Los Angeles, (323)644-0250; http://thejuicela.com.
Kaldi Coffee — So many writers are polishing scripts or stories on their laptops that this cozy coffee shop could be mistaken for an Apple store. With the rich aroma of dark roast coffee wafting overall and a barista pro turning out espresso, latté and macchiato, it looks like study hall in here, serious but relaxed. There’s free wifi, of course. You can sweeten your joe with fair trade raw cane sugar. On Sundays, there are doughnuts. And the place opens at 6:30 most mornings. 3147 Glendale Blvd., Los Angeles, (323) 660-6005; www.kaldicoffeeatwater.com.
Momed — This sleek contemporary Mediterranean is an outpost of Momed in Beverly Hills. The Atwater version boasts an outdoor bar and expansive sun-drenched patio shaded with umbrellas. Owner Alex Sarkissian describes the cuisine as eastern Mediterranean with forays to Morocco, Tunisia, Iraq and Egypt. That means an array of fresh salads and mezze, including a golden beet tzatsiki, avocado hummus, smoky eggplant baba ghanouj and muhammara (roasted sweet red peppers, walnuts and pomegranate). And wonderful pide, long oval flatbread from the woodturning oven topped with soujuk sausage, cheese, or vegetables (discounted on Monday nights and happy hour). The wine list includes Greek and Moroccan wines. 3245 Casitas Ave. Los Angeles, (323) 522-3488, http://atmomed.com/aw/
Proof Bakery — “Croissant! Croissant!,” a 3-year-old answers his mother at the next table. Proof Bakery has its passionate devotees, some of them, obviously, very young. There are also the Valrhona chocolate croissants, the orange current scones, the peanut butter cookies with apricot jam, the French apple tarts and flourless chocolate cakes — and gorgeous fig oat cakes in cooler weather. Owner Na Young Ma is a gifted baker who uses only the highest quality ingredients. Stop by at lunchtime for sandwiches on house-baked baguettes. It’s best to get there early, before that pastry you’ve been craving is already gone. 3156 Glendale Blvd., Los Angeles, (323) 644-8633; http://proofbakeryla.com/.
Viet Noodle Bar — Long communal tables and a shelf of books are the minimalist setting for Viet Tran’s pho and noodle dishes made with mostly organic ingredients. The Hanoi-style pho ga (chicken pho) is delicate, garnished with just cilantro and green onion. Tran makes a vegetarian pho, too, with tofu and shiitake mushrooms. Turmeric fish noodle and soy skin noodle with mushrooms and shallot are two of the most popular dishes. The menu offers a number of vegetarian dishes, too. Even banh mi comes in shiitake-tofu or vegan basil tofu versions. You can’t get banh mi made with pork — sole, chicken or spicy sardine are the other options. 3133 Glendale Boulevard, Los Angeles, (323) 906-1575, http://www.vietnoodlebar.net.
55 Degree Wine — Atwater Village also has a neighborhood wine shop in 55 Degree Wine focusing on wine and craft beer with a good price/quality ratio. The wine selection is tilted toward Italy, which is a good thing, but the shop also stocks wines from Argentina, Portugal, Spain and Australia. Not sure what you want? Come in the early evening for wine tasting downstairs in the cellar. The wine flights and wines by the glass change every week. And if you want to stay and hang out, they have simple charcuterie and cheese platters and can send over a thin-crust pizza baked by their neighbor Crispy Crust. 3111 Glendale Boulevard, Los Angeles, (323) 662-5556, http://www.55degreewine.com.
Follow @sirenevirbila for more on food and wine.