Located on a two-block stretch of Venice Boulevard known as “Little Brazil,” Café Brasil serves some of the best Brazilian food in Los Angeles. Tucked behind a lush garden setting, this casual café offers an eclectic mixture of mismatched chairs and wooden tables, topped with vases of tropical flowers. A touch of culture comes in the form of Brazilian music playing throughout the indoor/outdoor dining areas, and soccer matches showing on the flat-screen TVs. Entrées of meat, poultry and seafood are grilled with Brazilian spices, accompanied with rice, black beans, plantains and salsa, with several vegetarian options available as well. A breakfast plate, served all day, consists of scrambled eggs with collard greens and tomatoes, toast, fried plantains, cheese bread, fruit, passion fruit juice and coffee.
Short of the sink, Bella Vista Brazilian Pizza's chefs pile almost every ingredient in the kitchen?from meats and cheeses to fresh fruit and chocolate?onto thin-crust disks to create 30 different styles of gourmet pizza. Waiters then meander through the dining room in the tradition of Brazilian-rodizio-style meals, serving guests as much pizza as they can stomach or fit in their cheeks for later. Slices come slathered in specialty Brazilian-style sauces and topped with brazilian sausages, and catupiry?brazilian cream cheese?as well as in other non-traditional toppings such as cinnamon, hearts of palm, beef stroganoff, and vegetarian cheese. In addition to its savory pizza staples, Bella Vista also churns out dessert pizzas and four pasta dishes.
Open seven days a week and stationed in the Brazilian Mall, Bella Vista enshrouds guests in the light emitted by a tinted-window ceiling and decorative wicker-basket light fixtures. Energetic music fills the space as diners sup on slices and sip their own BYOB beverages. And on major international soccer match days, the matches are broadcast on TVs throughout the restaurant.
The Grill on the Alley recaptures a bygone era; one of crisp white linens, impeccable service, and steaks as big as your head. Inspired by the steakhouses of San Francisco and New York, The Grill’s founders replicated the American tradition in L.A. The first location, which opened in Beverly Hills in 1984, still sits mere steps from Rodeo Drive (four Californian branches now exist, along with ones in Chicago, Dallas, and Aventura, Florida). Though its menu might match Rodeo in sophistication—order the 8-ounce filet mignon, ahi tuna, or a sip of spirits for proof—the staff works hard to maintain a distinctly welcoming, unpretentious atmosphere. And if a constant stream of good press is any indication, they succeed.
The meat connoisseurs at Libra Brazilian Steakhouse know showmanship is one of the primary draws of churrascaria-style dining. In this spirit, the chefs cook succulent hunks of meat on giant skewers over an open flame. And once it’s ready, their servers distribute the tender, freshly flamed meat throughout the dining area, pausing tableside to carve off slices directly onto plates.
Presentation aside, Libra Brazilian Steakhouse backs up its bravado with quality meats. The chefs use only 100% Black Angus beef and refuse to accept any meat containing hormones or antibiotics. Additionally, the culinary artists cook more than 30 hot, made-from-scratch sides as well as housemade desserts. And to top it off, the steak-house staff curates and recommends numerous international wines.
The white tablecloths and high-backed cream-colored banquettes found at Shilo’s Kosher Steakhouse, are a rarity on this stretch of strip malls, chain stores and more casual restaurants along Pico Boulevard in the Pico-Robertson neighborhood. This high-end kosher eatery has made its name by combining a steakhouse menu with religious dietary laws and refuses to compromise on either end. There are salads, seafood entrées and pastas here to sample, but the stars of the show are the steak cuts, each wet-aged in house for three to four weeks and backed by one of Shiloh’s steak sauces. Those looking for quality at a lower price would do well to check out Shiloh’s Kobe Burger, coupled with the New York Onion Rings.
Ease into dinner with the smoked-salmon quesadillas ($10) or a jumbo-shrimp cocktail served with spicy diablo sauce ($14). Signature steaks include everything from 12-ounce marbled rib eye ($29) to the lighter 10-ounce filets ($29) for those who accidentally already ate. There are also fish, chicken, lamb, and vegetarian options (from $16). Supplement your protein-packed dishes with sides, including Porterhouse’s infamous fries ($9), broccoli ($6), mushrooms ($9), or grilled onions ($5); or have another steak laid neatly atop your first. You’ll also find a well-edited list of affordable wines priced by the glass and bottle.