With its quaint shops, family restaurants and essentials — an international newsstand, drug store, beauty supply — Larchmont Village has always felt like a small town in the middle of larger Los Angeles. And though it’s set at the edge of posh Hancock Park and Windsor Square, Larchmont never felt particularly chic or exclusive.
But with new businesses coming in and old ones falling away, including the mom-n-pop hardware store that had been there for 82 years, Larchmont Boulevard has a very different feel now. Go Get ‘Em Coffee, from the guys behind G&B Coffee, has moved in with its almond milk lattes. Portland’s cult ice cream shop Salt & Straw has set up an outpost a few doors up the street. And north of Beverly Boulevard, Café Gratitude is packing in the vegan and vegetarian crowd.
The village is still more neighborhood than detour-worthy dining destination, but it’s definitely worth a stop if you’re nearby to grab a coffee, some ice cream or a bit of lunch. And don’t forget to poke your head into the long-running Chevalier's Books (78 years!), to check on the crop of new food and wine tomes.
Cafe Gratitude — The Larchmont outpost of this San Francisco-based restaurant is always busy. Cars pull up to pick up a takeout order — there’s even an app. Don’t be put off by the names of the dishes — “inspired,” “flourishing” or “magical,” the latter for the cafe’s veggie burger. To try: “humble” (an Indian curry bowl), a pad Thai made with kelp noodles, and whatever tostada is on offer. Of course, they juice. But they also do an intense rosewater lemonade and vinegar-tinged shrub sodas. And if you need a pick-me-up, the bartender can put together a shot of wellness elixir. Organic wine and free Wi-Fi. 639 N Larchmont Blvd., Los Angeles (323) 580-6383, cafegratitude.com.
Chevalier’s Books — Chevalier’s Books dates back all the way to 1940 and could be a poster child for the neighborhood bookstore. If you're book-shopping with your dog, she'll be welcomed in for a treat. Tables and shelves are well-supplied with novels and nonfiction. The lineup of authors for signings and readings is terrific. And the cookbook section, while small, stocks the best in newcomers and classics. And if you can’t get in for the novel you’ve been hankering to read, you can order it online. 126 N. Larchmont Blvd., Los Angeles, (323) 465-1334, chevaliersbooks.com.
Go Get ‘Em Tiger — This chic coffee bar from the world-class baristas behind G&B Coffee at the Grand Central Market is worth a detour for the perfect espresso drinks. The macchiato is one of the best in town. Hear that shaking sound? It’s not martinis, but the barista shaking up an iced latte with almond milk. Hungry? Go Get ‘Em Tiger also has a grilled cheese sandwich, made with Hook’s two-year cheddar and a smear of romesco sauce, and a jambon beurre made with thinly sliced ham. Not many seats here — just a handful of tables on the sidewalk out front and a couple of ample sofas tucked in the window. Hang out at the bar, then pick up coffee beans and artisan chocolate bars to go. 230 N. Larchmont Blvd., Los Angeles, (323) 380-5359, ggetla.com.
Larchmont Farmers Market — Sundays, a farmers market sets up in a big parking lot on the west side of the boulevard. It’s small, but choice — ideal for the neighborhood, with dry-farmed peaches, organic produce and Asian vegetables. If you can’t find a parking spot on the street, there’s free farmers market parking across the way at Rite-Aid. Hitting the farmers market and then repairing to Go Get ‘Em Tiger for coffee, and to Salt & Straw for some ice cream or a bite from the wine shop is a pretty great way to spend Sunday morning. 209 N. Larchmont Blvd., Los Angeles, larchmont.com/merchants.alphabetical.html.
Larchmont Village Wine, Spirits & Cheese — Though small, this shop manages to fit an impressive number of interesting bottles in just two aisles. You can find familiar labels, but true wine geeks will be roaming the aisle for those hard-to-find, highly allocated bottles that make life worth living. At the back is a small craft beer selection and as for spirits, the Larchmont shop stocks the basics along with some highly coveted bottles. Cheeses are pretty standard, but they’re put to good use in sandwiches, paired with ham or salami and other cured meats. The shop does a rousing business at lunch and on the weekends, when you can pick up the generous well-made sandwiches to-go. 223 N. Larchmont Blvd., Los Angeles (323) 856-8699, larchmontvillagewine.com.
Lemonade — Lemonade now numbers more than 10 locations across the Southland, but the Larchmont outpost is one of the most appealing. Set in a yellow-and-white bungalow with an outdoor patio in front, the cafe and takeout features moderately priced sandwiches dubbed “right-sized sandwiches,” i.e., not gargantuan, toasted to order. That means turkey club, ham and Manchego cheese, or a Caprese with mozzarella, tomato and basil on focaccia. Side salads are under $3, desserts like cookies, cake and macarons are $5 or less. 626 N. Larchmont Blvd., Los Angeles, (323) 464-0700, lemonadela.com/locations/los-angeles/larchmont.
Lette Macarons — Made at the flagship shop in Beverly Hills, Lette Macarons offers those petite French meringue bites in myriad flavors. Try Sicilian pistachio, salted caramel, passion fruit or violet cassis. You can order online for pickup at the shop or shipment home. The shop also will create party towers of macarons: You pick the flavors. Order by 3 p.m. for pick up the next day. If you've got a teenage daughter, this place makes the whole expedition worthwhile. (Life, really.) 122 N. Larchmont Blvd., Los Angeles, (323) 469-3620, lettemacarons.com.
Another location for the popular fresh-pressed juice company, with all the usual offerings — including half a dozen greens juices and a trio of “roots” or “citrus” recipes. And if you’re not into all that, you can pick up a cold-brewed coffee with vanilla while your friend waits for her rose coconut H2O or citrus 3 (grapefruit and mint). 201 N. Larchmont Blvd., Los Angeles, (323) 464-5800, pressedjuicery.com.
Pour Vous LA — For those who would rather sip a cocktail than a freshly pressed juice, the neighborhood has you covered with Pour Vous, a small Parisian-style cocktail lounge from the team behind La Descarga and Harvard & Stone. That is, provided you can wait around until 8 p.m. when the place opens (closed Sundays and Mondays). Recommended: “Ceci Est Pour Vous” (this is for you), a mix of Calvados, Aperol, lemon juice, simple syrup, grapes and Champagne; and the Tequila Mockingbird, made with tequila, Campari, Noilly Prat ambré, grapefruit juice and agave nectar. Big spenders can order bottle service or a punch bowl. 5574 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles, (323) 871-8699, pourvousla.com.
Salt & Straw — Consider the rope and stands set to the side of the ice cream shop’s facade because sometimes there’s an eager line of people here, wanting whatever new flavor the folks behind the Portland-based shop think up. Right now, the theme is street food. That means a special flavor from Kogi king Roy Choi called Papi's Korean Fluffernutter, mole rojo flan (flavored with Guelaguetza's mole rojo), green corn tamale (with a nod to Border Grill) and more. But you also can look to the other side of the board for Salt & Straw classics, like sea salt ice cream with caramel ribbons, Stumptown coffee with Comparte’s chocolate “love nuts” and almond brittle. Best thing here? A flight of any four ice creams for $10. That’s one scoop per glass bowl, set on a long wooden board with four matching spoons. 240 N. Larchmont Blvd., Los Angeles (323) 466-0471, saltandstraw.com.
Vernetti — After decades on Larchmont Boulevard, the neighborhood Italian restaurant Girasole was sold to Steve and Joanna Vernetti. Steve Vernetti vowed to keep it a neighborhood place, very much in the tradition of the much-loved Girasole. He renamed the restaurant Vernetti and reopened in May after a much-needed remodel, which included an expanded kitchen. His menu keeps much of Girasole’s spirit, updating some of the dishes and adding Vernetti’s own touches. 225 N. Larchmont Blvd., Los Angeles, (323) 798-5886, vernetti.la.
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