Los Feliz, the quaint neighborhood wedged between Hollywood and Silver Lake, is a mix of glamour villas in the hills, Arts and Crafts cottages and mid-century apartment buildings. Eminently walkable, the main drags — Vermont, Hollywood Boulevard and Hillhurst — are filled with a grab bag of quirky boutiques, restaurants, cafes with outdoor patios and ice cream shops. The neighborhood also is home to one of the city’s best butchers, a destination wine shop — and a beloved taco shack in the parking lot of a liquor store.
A mix of hipsters, young families and folks who have lived here for decades, Los Feliz used to be a lot sleepier than it is now, with only a handful of places to eat. But things are changing — and fast. There’s even a swell new 5-room hotel above everybody’s favorite bar, Bar Covell. And an offshoot of the coffee mecca Go Get 'Em Tiger is in the works.
Croque Monsieur at Bar Covell. (Bar Covell)
Bar Covell has no sign and a darkened facade on Hollywood Boulevard. But this is one of L.A.’s best wine bars, a great place to drop in for a glass of wine and a well-curated cheese plate. More than a hundred wines may be open on any given night, yet there’s no wine list, just a handful of selections chalked on a board above the bar. It goes like this: You name a couple of wines you like, someone will suggest something and pour a taste to try. This could take awhile, but it’s a great way to find a wine you like. The bar doesn’t have a full kitchen, so there are just a couple of hot dishes — you’ll want the classic Croque Monsieur, one of the best in town. And on the weekend, Bar Covell teams up with Home State down the block to offer a boozy brunch. 4628 Hollywood Blvd., Los Angeles, (323) 660-4400, barcovell.com.
Back in the early '90s, Fred Eric was one of the most cutting-edge chefs in L.A., turning out wild food at Olive and later Vida. In 1997, he opened the 24-hour diner Fred 62 in Los Feliz, and it has stuck around for 18 years. Stop in for a breakfast burrito or a California omelette, an order of billion-dollar pancakes or a bearded Mr. French (French toast with a beard of crispy cornflakes). You can still get Eric’s signature Thai Cobb salad and hefty sandwiches. And on Thursdays, the Fred Plate Special is Thanksgiving dinner. The diner is probably not going to end up on anybody’s 100 Best list, but it serves a purpose 24/7, 365 days a year. 1850 N. Vermont Ave., Los Angeles, (323) 667-0062, fred62.com.
Gelato Bar & Espresso Cafe
Affogato at Gelato Bar & Espresso Caffe. (Mariah Tauger / Los Angeles Times)
This Los Feliz offshoot of the Studio City gelato shop opened in 2010 and is going strong, a fixture in the neighborhood. Come for espresso made the way the Italians make it, and for the authentic gelato in classic and American flavors. About two dozen are available at any given time from a vast repertoire. 1936 Hillhurst Ave., Los Angeles, (323) 668-0606.
Migas at HomeState. (Gary Friedman / Los Angeles Times)
At this breakfast and lunch spot devoted to Tex-Mex cuisine, Austin native Briana Valdez serves up eggs in breakfast tortillas and in migas — eggs scrambled with crispy corn tortilla strips, onions and cheddar cheese — and pico de gallo. Get your eggs in a breakfast taco with shredded brisket, chorizo and cheddar, with refried charro beans and cheddar, or with black beans and Monterey jack. She’s also got sandwiches and “daytime tacos” — and for your sweet tooth, buñuelos in a bag. The coffee is Austin’s finest, Cuvée Coffee. And do not forget the Fritos in a bag. 4624 Hollywood Blvd., Los Angeles, (323) 906-1122, myhomestate.com.
Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream
Jeni's Splendid Ice Cream. (Jeni's Splendid Ice Cream)
The popular Midwest ice cream shop finally made it to L.A. — the stand-alone shop is its first on the West Coast. For the opening, founder Jeni Britton Bauer created a special Los Angeles flavor — wheatgrass, pear and Vinho Verde sorbet. Get in line for classics such as Intelligentsia Black Cat espresso, brown butter almond brittle, pistachio honey ice cream and queen city cayenne, plus whatever new flavors the prolific ice cream maker dreams up. 1954 Hillhurst Ave., Los Angeles, (614) 407-0687, jenis.com/scoop-shops/jenis-los-feliz.
The bar at Little Dom's in Los Feliz. (Barbara Davidson / Los Angeles Times)
The sister restaurant to Dominick’s in WeHo, Little Dom’s is a neighborhood favorite for Brandon Boudet’s retro-Italian cuisine and its moderate prices. Monday night features a $15 prix fixe menu and on the weekends, it’s packed for brunch. This is the place for rice balls (arancini), Italian wedding soup with dainty meatballs and swatches of spinach, spaghetti and giant meatballs, or a Tomahawk pork chop that won’t break the bank. Decent cocktails too. There’s a deli next door for take-out, deli meats and cheeses, hot sandwiches and happy hour from 4 to 6 p.m. 2128 Hillhurst Ave., Los Angeles, (323) 661-0055, littledoms.com.
Lou Wine Shop & Tastings
Lou Amdur with some of his wine. (Margy Rochlin)
Lou Amdur's new Los Feliz spot is a wine shop, albeit and unconventional one, where you can taste several times a week. Come here for beautiful Beaujolais crus, special Champagnes, unusual California wines, French and Italian and Spanish wines from small, sometimes unheralded producers. This is the place to discover Amdur’s selection of what he calls “natural and unusual” wines. Get on the email list to receive notice of spur of the moment tastings—Weird Wine Wednesdays, for example, which occur generally three times a week. 1911 Hillhurst Ave., Los Angeles, (323) 305-7004, louwineshop.com.
McCall’s Meat & Fish Co.
Nathan McCall of McCall's Meat & Fish Co. (Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)
In 2010 chefs Nathan McCall and Karen Yoo opened a minuscule butcher shop on Hillhurst Avenue, offering meats raised without antibiotics or hormones and a small selection of choice wild-caught seafood, plus their own sausages. Their shop has doubled in size since then, and now includes a patisserie section with Karen Yoo’s superb pastries and house-baked baguettes. And if you’re looking for hard-to-find spices, cheeses, ham and bacon, special mustards and even Mori Onodera’s koshihikari rice grown in Uruguay, this is the place. 2117 Hillhurst Ave., Los Angeles (323) 667-0674, mccallsmeatandfish.com.
Inside the wood-burning pizza oven at Mother Dough. (Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times)
Bez Compani is so devoted to his dough that he doesn't let anybody else touch it — or the sourdough mother he saves back to feed the next day's dough. Compani, an Iranian who was raised in London and trained in pizza in Naples, turns out billowy Neapolitan-style pizza from a massive wood-burning oven at the back of this brick-walled, bare-bones Los Feliz space. The oven, from Naples, works at such a high temperature (about 850 degrees) that pizzas — just a half dozen are on offer — cook in about a minute. 4648 Hollywood Blvd., Los Angeles, (323) 644-2885, motherdoughpizza.com.
Skylight Books in Los Feliz. (Lindsay George)
One of the last independent bookstores in Los Angeles, Skylight Books is thriving, happily, after almost 20 years in this neighborhood. The beautifully curated food and wine book section is stocked with all the latest titles along with the classics. The staff picks are super reliable. Check the schedule of author readings happening almost every night. 818 N. Vermont Ave., Los Angeles, (323) 660-1175, skylightbooks.com. ALSO:
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