At Viceroy Lounge, diners await plates of Middle Eastern delicacies in a dining room full of comfy couches illuminated by drop lighting and mirrored walls reflecting revelers. A mutabbal appetizer starts meals with a potent blend of roasted eggplant, garlic, and sesame oil, whereas the shrimp cocktail helps crustaceans fit into a lounge setting without being overshadowed by tuxedoed cephalopods. Filet mignon stacks up on skewers in the beef shish kebab entree, and the chicken lulah kebab pairs minced lean chicken and chopped onion. Alternatively, a soltani entree mixes meats with tomato sauce and garlic yogurt, eerily reproducing the sensation of eating gyros in a Moroccan tomato forest. Beers from brands such as Sapporo, Blue Moon, and Stella Artois accentuate the eats.
For centuries, smoking hookah in a caf? has been a way to relax among friends. Lux Cafe & Hookah Lounge adds a touch of refinery to this experience. Dim lighting punctuated by a rim of neon on the ceiling shrouds the room in hushed ambiance, and a music-video DJ projects audiovisual collages onto the lounge?s wall. Seated at sofas, love seats, and magical toadstools around low tables, hookah smokers puff on Starbuzz tobacco flavors ranging from blackberry and tangerine dream to fuzzy naval.
Start a romantic evening with a Dungeness crab cake with aioli, caper, lemon, and coleslaw ($15) and a bowl of the soup of the day ($10). Eye entrees like the soft and succulent roasted half chicken with fingerling potatoes, haricots verts, mixed wild mushrooms, and pearl onions ($24) and the braised short ribs with polenta, Swiss chard, and salsa verde ($25). Complete the circle of life by burying your fork in a slice of key lime pie with guava puree and mango sorbet ($10) or the chocolate chocolate chocolate trio ($16), whose richness is so deadly it was, until recently, banned by nonproliferation treaties. If you've recently cycled through Fraiche and think you've tasted it all, try the new lunch menu. The chopped salad with Italian cured meats, tomato, provolone, and chick peas ($13) and the Moroccan lamb sausage sandwich with harissa aioli ($13) offer just the right noontime spice-kick to erase your morning malaise.
Mixologist Vincenzo Marianella scours the Santa Monica Farmers Market for fresh and local produce. Then he lets his customers decide how to use them. With Copa D’Ora’s make-your-own cocktail program, guests choose from a long list of spirits (Plymouth gin, Buffalo Trace bourbon, Hardy’s V.S. cognac), fresh herbs (basil, mint, sage), jams, organic juices, and vegetables. Then Vincenzo, who studied his craft in Sydney, New York, and London, takes care of the rest, blending it all and filling tumblers, martini glasses, and highballs full of a libation wholly personalized to each patron. He also offers an extensive list of pre-designed cocktails that also bear the mixologist’s distinct liquid signature.
The farmers market doesn't only play a part in the cocktail menu—Copa D'Oro's food is also prepared with the local ingredients. Panini sandwiches on LaBrea Bakery’s sourdough bread and platters brimming with artisanal cheese and Nostrano salami mirror the sophistication of the space. As the LA Times notes, there are no “shrill sorority sisters or high-fivin' sports fans…no DJs, no television.” Rather, plush leather banquettes and lounge chairs gather regally amid soft lighting, exposed brick walls with tasteful works of art, and exposed beams that zigzag above the dining room.
Extract Juice Bar resounds with buzzing blenders that liquefy fruits and vegetables into an array of juice and smoothie concoctions. Past vintage motorcycle and gas pump, the kitchen staff whips limes, apples, ginger, and spinach leaves into The Leaf and combines cucumber, pineapple, and jalape?o to yield The Flash's smoothie froth. They also assemble vegetarian sandwiches and vegan dishes during breakfast and lunch hours.
In simplified fashion, karma is illustrated in the dining room of Karma Restaurant Bar & Lounge each day. Polite waiters are rewarded for their work with tips, and diners reap the benefits of their past acts of kindness while enjoying meals with good friends. The menu offers a full spectrum of traditional Indian dishes, from rich lamb-coconut curry to vegan-friendly plates of yellow daal, all perfectly scooped up with soft pieces of plain, garlic, or olive naan. To bolster the dining experience, the staff surrounds guests with Indian artwork and pairs dishes with classic beverages such as masala-infused chai tea or mango lassi.