One sunny afternoon, Ginnie Lu and her friends sat in a café sipping hot drinks and chatting about how much they would love to run their own tea and coffee house. When the group realized that they had the means to carve their dream into reality, they spent the next two years saving and planning. Finally, in 2010, they opened Four Leaf Tea Room, a cozy enclave where guests can sip specialty brews amidst the aromas of sweet and savory crepes. Mugs of oolong and chrysanthemum keep fingers warm during the year's cooler temperatures, and when the summer returns, they cool down with iced teas and mango freezes on an outdoor patio.
Despite Four Leaf’s name, its upscale, innovate crepes force its teas to share the limelight. A chef trained at Le Cordon Bleu dreams up the lavish fillings, pairing smoked salmon and caper-herb cream or soy-marinated chicken with crushed peanuts for savory meals. Sweet versions make use of exotic ingredients such as red-wine-poached pears, candied pecans, taro paste, and gelato. As guests fork into these creations, they can admire walls decorated with spring-green leaves and shelves filled with loose-leaf blends and prehistoric fossils of steam from early teas.
Now in its third generation of management, Taix satisfies the palates of Franco-feasters with a menu of country cuisine presented in generous portions. Begin the edible expedition with a bowl of traditional french onion soup ($6.95), or start with a half-dozen escargots in garlic butter ($12.95), which arrive at tables still modestly dressed in their shells to accommodate prudish American attitudes toward gastro-nudity. Leaf lovers can focus their forks on an assortment of salads, such as a mélange of baby greens, sesame-seed dressing, tomatoes, and bell peppers topped with a boneless chicken breast ($12.95), and carnitarians can seek out the proteined pleasures of grilled skirt steak with lemon parsley butter and pommes frites ($18.95). Roasted fresh salmon is served with champagne cream ($19.95) to permit taste buds to toast their good fortune, and a savory schedule of daily specials allows mouths to keep track of what day it is without chewing on a calendar. Midday munchers can sate their cravings with a lunch menu sporting an array of sandwiches and other selections suited to daytime dining.
Since 1992, California Canteen has bridged the culinary and cultural gap between Californians and Francophiles with its tasty twist on French bistro Mediterranean fare. French favorites populate the menu. Sample the nicoise salad with tuna steak ($14), beef bourguignon ($17.50), or lamb shank osso bucco ($18.25). Meanwhile, enterprising diners and triumvirates can customize comestibles in the three-course dinner ($20.50 4 p.m.–7 p.m., Sunday-Thursday). Alternately, the lunch menu spins a lighter, two-course remix of the prix fixe ($12.95).
Delphine, an upscale brasserie located inside of the sleek Hollywood W Hotel, boasts of dim romantic lighting by night, lots of natural lighting by day and a very elegant, earth-toned color palette always. There are wood-paneled ceilings, circular booths and wood-framed mirrors, though the décor itself is surpassed by the elegant, vibrant entrées. Amplified prices are par for the course in this part of Hollywood, especially considering Delphine’s location adjacent to the Pantages Theater, with menu options ranging from grilled swordfish to pacific prawns with lemon fettuccini or simpler tuna sandwiches with tomato compote. The busy space tends to fill up on weekends and before show premieres, so it’s best to book a reservation in advance – quick pre-show service gets guests in and out and across the street in time to catch the curtains opening, though the relaxed yet elegant atmosphere is equally suited for lounging dinners with someone special.
Cafe Midi is a Euro-style cafÌ© shoehorned into Maison Midi, an eclectic homewares boutique on La Brea Avenue. A row of tables aligned with cushioned benches is squeezed in amid the pottery, picture frames, furnishings and other home goods for sale in the boutique, blurring the lines between dining and shopping. There‰Ûªs also seating at sidewalk tables with Parisian-style woven cafÌ© chairs, plus an antique bar where patrons can perch on a stool and admire freshly made tarts on display. The expansive menu offers primarily French fare, including an omelet ProvenÌ¤ale at breakfast and everything from quiche to croque-monsieur to NiÌ¤oise salad at lunch. Yet there‰Ûªs also a surprisingly Mexican lilt to the offerings, with a wide selection of quesadillas, gourmet tacos and breakfast burritos. The bar is a good place to stop in for espresso and pastries, which rival those of a Parisian pÌ¢tisserie.
Foodies flock to husband and wife Quinn and Karen Hatfield‰Ûªs eponymous restaurant, tucked away in Hollywood on Melrose Avenue. Geometric light fixtures hang overhead, while stylish diners feast on elevated, market-driven cuisine churned out by the restaurant‰Ûªs exhibition kitchen, separated only by a large window. Choose between entrees of roasted branzino, pan-roasted duck and 36-hour, slow-cooked beef rib and red-wine-braised short rib. Or try a seasonal or vegetarian prix fixe tasting menu of four courses, including a choice of one of Karen‰Ûªs can‰Ûªt-miss desserts such as the "Sugar & Spice" beignets with Venezuelan chocolate fondue. A slightly more casual atmosphere can be found at the bar, and there is also a conservatory with a ‰ÛÏliving wall‰Û� covered in plants. There is a serious wine program, and their three private dining rooms make holding events a cinch.