BITES FOR CASANOVA: APHRODISIAC DINING DESTINATIONS IN LA

Oh, the perils of dating. Drunken booty calls, counting the minutes til it’s cool to text back without looking desperate . . . Well, we can’t control all the factors of chaos in the dating matrix, but why not plan a date this Valentines Day where improving your chances of a liaison is written in the DNA of your meal. From classic aphrodisiacs like oysters and chocolate, to uni, caviar, and honey, we dig around for the best places for you to get your best foot forward.

OYSTER
Photo: Sidney Bensimon / L&E Oyster Bar

 

SILVERLAKE | L&E OYSTER BAR
1637 Silverlake Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90026

Get your fillings of the world’s most notorious aphrodisiac at this neighborhood oyster bar. Served up in a multitude of manners—raw, grilled, and fried—you’re sure to find a presentation of the bivalves that’s to your liking. Beware though: L&E does not accept reservations, so give yourself plenty of time to snag a seat.

WHAT TO GET: For the traditionalists, raw oysters are available by the dozen and you can scope out L&E’s daily oyster offerings on their Twitter. Not so keen on raw? You can also get your oysters grilled here. Try them “casino” style with butter, paprika, thyme, shallots, and neuske’s bacon, or get the “oysters L&E” with duck confit, dried sour cherries, chives, and bread crumbs.
leoysterbar.com

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Photo: Q Sushi

 

DOWNTOWN | Q RESTAURANT
521 West 7th Street, Los Angeles, CA 90014

This recent addition to downtown houses some of the best Edomae-style sushi LA has seen yet, with an interesting backstory: Two western attorneys fall in love with sushi in Japan at the hands of Chef Hiroyuki Naruke. When the Fukushima nuclear disaster hits, they and a fellow lawyer colleague help the beleaguered sushi chef fulfill his dream of opening a sushi restaurant in the U.S., and the rest is history.

WHAT TO GET: Although it may be an acquired taste, uni—otherwise known as sea urchin—is a prized delicacy in Japan, and discerning epicureans around the globe are catching on. With a sweet, buttery, and briny flavor, uni owes its aphrodisiac reputation to anandamide, a neurotransmitter which is reported to activate dopamine production in your brain. You’ll want to go omakase here, but make sure to request uni and you’ll likely be served a San Diego variety of uni much preferred by the chefs over the ubiquitous Santa Barbara kind. For a real sweet-and-savory treat, try their miso-marinated uni.
qsushila.com

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Photo: Petrossian

 

WEST HOLLYWOOD | PETROSSIAN
321 North Robertson Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90048

The Petrossian’s history as a caviar purveyor dates back almost a century when Russian brothers Melkoum and Mouchegh Petrossian relocated from Russia to Paris to sling the fish eggs and elevate the delicacy into the world of luxe, French cuisine. Today, caviar is known world-over and is often viewed as an aphrodisiac not so much for its makeup, but for its elusiveness and expensive pricetag. On top of that, caviar is also said to be a symbol of fertility.

WHAT TO GET: Who knew caviar could be served in so many ways? Whether folded into scrambled eggs encased in an eggshell and topped with vodka cream, or sandwiched in between layers of beef tartare, there’s a presentation to satisfy all—from the novice to the caviar connoisseur. Those willing to shell out can get the Tsar Imperial Caviar Trio: 30 grams each of Tsar Imperial Ossetra, Siberian & Transmontanus Caviar for a whopping $390.
petrossian.com

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Photo: Thirsty in LA

 

MANHATTAN BEACH | M.B. POST
1142 Manhattan Avenue, Manhattan Beach, CA 90266

Chef David LeFevre’s post office turned “social restaurant” is a Manhattan Beach staple, making the perfect setting for a romantic brunch. Communal tables and re-invented down-home cooking make M.B. Post the optimal mix of casual, accessible ambiance and gourmet cuisine.

WHAT TO GET: While fried chicken doesn’t exactly shoot to the top of our aphrodisiac list, the ingredients featured in this rendition are what help this dish make the cut. Laced with honey and truffle, the highly aromatic dish satisfies both the glutton and the epicurean with its crispy exterior, juicy meat, and fragrant sauce.
eatmbpost.com

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Photo: Honestly Yum

 

BRENTWOOD | COMPARTES CHOCOLATIER
912 South Barrington Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90049

From its aroma to its heavenly taste, what’s not to like about chocolate? Whether you like dark, milk, or white chocolate, you’ll find some of the city’s most beautifully presented chocolates here at Jonathan Compartes chocolate emporium. Go ahead and judge a book by its cover, too, because the chocolates here taste as good as they appear, adorned with elegant and colorful patterns indicative of the chocolates’ flavors.

WHAT TO GET: Compartes chocolates come in over 100 varieties, so there’s bound to be at least one chocolate to satisfy even the pickiest of chocolate eaters. Pick something fragrant to maximize the aphrodisiac potential. We suggest the olive oil rosemary, pear cardamom, strawberry balsamic, and smoked sea salt. Compartes also offers holiday and seasonally-themed chocolate flavors, like egg nog or blackberry sage.
compartes.com

GATHER, GLUTTONS: DINE LA DELIVERS 12 DAYS OF GUILT FREE DINING

It’s that time of year again! When the most gluttonous of the gluttons exercise their right to wine and dine all over the city during LA’s Winter Restaurant Week. From January 20-31st, LA’s best restaurants are offering specially priced prix-fixe lunch and dinner menus. For some, it’s an excuse to be thrifty while indulging in their favorite haunts, and for others it is a perfect reason to be adventurous with those tastebuds. Either way, you should give your stove, microwave, and local pizza joint a break and treat yo self to culinary magic at a great price – it only happens a few times a year.


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Lukshon | Photo by: Jakob N. Layman

Asian/Asian-Fusion

Lukshon | 3239 Helms Avenue, Culver City, CA 90232
Price: Lunch: $20, Dinner: $35
Father’s Office chef/owner Sang Yoon’s take on South Eastern Asian cuisine is executed at Lukshon with fine dining techniques and a beautiful outdoor atmosphere to match. What to expect: bold flavors, but small portions.
*menu not available yet

Badmaash | 108 West 2nd Street #104, Los Angeles, CA 90012
Price: Lunch: $15, Dinner:  $25
As if we could ask for a better combination of cuisines from the food gods, Badmaash has answered our prayers. Savory, bold Indian dishes with a gastropub slant–burgers, poutine fries and chili cheese will never be looked at the same ever again.
*menu not available yet

Night + Market | 9041 Sunset Boulevard, West Hollywood, CA 90069
Price: Dinner: $35
Famed for their Thai street food-influenced menu, Night + Market has gained a rep for using Dine LA as a time to experimenting with off-menu offerings and Chef Kris Yenbamroong is one of the rising stars in LA’s culinary scene.
*menu not available yet

sottoCourtesy: Sotto Restaurant

Italian

Sotto | 9575 West Pico Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90035
Price: Dinner: $35
Noted for their pastas and pizzas cooked in a wood-burning oven, Sotto offers delicious South Italian-regional cuisine.
Menu: http://www.discoverlosangeles.com/what-to-do/restaurants/sotto

Piccolo Venice | 150 S Beverly Dr. Beverly Hills, CA 90212
Price: Dinner: $45
A quaint slice of Italy that can be enjoyed on the beaches of Venice — it may not be overlooking the waters of the Venetian Lagoon, but hey, close enough. Piccolo offers classic dishes with an authentic dining experience, and they may be one of the few restaurants offering truffles on their Dine LA menu.
Menu: http://www.discoverlosangeles.com/what-to-do/restaurants/piccolo-venice

 

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Picca Peruvian Cantina | P
hoto by http://hautekhuuture.blogspot.com/

Latin

Rivera | 1050 South Flower Street #102, Los Angeles, CA 90015
Price: Lunch: $25, Dinner: $45
A modern Latin restaurant, their dishes may read as ordinary on paper, but are artfully presented with sauces and spices painted and stenciled on that make for gorgeous presentation that looks as impressive as it tastes.
Menu: http://www.discoverlosangeles.com/what-to-do/restaurants/rivera

Picca Peruvian Cantina | 9575 West Pico Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90035
Price: Dinner: $45
Chef Ricardo Zarate plays by the traditional rules when it comes to how he serves his menu of over 50 Peruvian dishes, designed to be shared family-style, but where he breaks the mold is in his knack for Japanese flair in his execution and innovation.
Menu: http://www.discoverlosangeles.com/what-to-do/restaurants/picca

Chef de Cuisine Ken Takayama of Melisse - Los Angeles, CA
Courtesy: Melisse Restaurant 

French

Patina | 141 South Grand Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90012
Price: Dinner: $85
Nestled in Walt Disney Concert Hall, Chef Joachim Splichal’s flagship restaurant is modern and classy, with Patina’s location preceding its penchant for elegance and exquisite French-Californian dining.
Menu: http://www.discoverlosangeles.com/what-to-do/restaurants/patina-restaurant

Melisse | 1104 Wilshire Boulevard, Santa Monica, CA 90401
Price: Dinner: $85
Like to take your time dining? A visit to Melisse is in order. Serving up seasonal French cuisine, Melisse will have you feeling totes refined – but be prepared for a long stay, 2.5 hours long to be exact.
Menu: http://www.discoverlosangeles.com/what-to-do/restaurants/melisse

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Fogo de Chao Churrascaria | Photo: James Camp

Best Bang For Your Buck

Fogo de Chao Churrascaria | 133 North La Cienega Boulevard, Beverly Hills, CA 90211
Price: Lunch: $25, Dinner: $45
Meat, meat, meat. Head to Fogo de Chao for Brazilian style all-you-can-eat steak and other choice cuts of meat alongside a pretty legit salad bar (hint: grab some parmesan wedges). The cat’s out of the bag when it comes to Fogo being a good deal though, so make sure you’re prepared to potentially be seated an hour after the time you’ve reserved.
Menu: http://www.discoverlosangeles.com/what-to-do/restaurants/fogo-de-chao-churrascaria

Lucques | 8474 Melrose Ave. West Hollywood, CA 90069
Price: Lunch: $25, Dinner: $50
The appearance and vibe of Lucques is that of a weekend getaway in your rich in-laws’ guest house. Chef Suzanne Goin is notorious for her take on Mediterranean cuisine by adding a bit of our regional California style: bold flavors, seasonal ingredients and farm-to-table produce.
Menu: http://www.discoverlosangeles.com/what-to-do/restaurants/lucques

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Courtesy: Nick + Stef’s Steakhouse

Steak

Cut | 9500 Wilshire Boulevard, Beverly Hills, CA 90212
Price: Dinner: $85
This Wolfgang Puck steakhouse is a mixture of top notch meat slabs and art, basically everything you could hope for in fine dining. While parking may be a little troublesome, we promise they make up for it in outstanding steak.
Menu: http://www.discoverlosangeles.com/what-to-do/restaurants/cut

Nick + Stef’s Steakhouse | 330 South Hope Street #100, Los Angeles, CA 90071
Price: Lunch: $20, Dinner: $35
Rave reviews of dry-aged USDA choices and nearly too many a la carte sides to choose from, Nick + Stef’s seems to be the place to indulge in all your carnivorous longings.
Menu: http://www.discoverlosangeles.com/what-to-do/restaurants/nick-stefs-steakhouse

 

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Scratch Bar | Photo:
MyLastBite

Gastropub  &  New-American

Fundamental LA | 1303 Westwood Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90024
Price: Lunch: $15, Dinner: $35
Fundamental LA has the four S’s you look for in a casual dining spot: soup, salad, sides and sandwiches. Sprinkled throughout the menu is more eclectic dinner options such as duck liver jar and japanese sword squid.
Menu: http://www.discoverlosangeles.com/what-to-do/restaurants/fundamental-la

Scratch Bar | 111 North La Cienega Boulevard, Beverly Hills, CA 90211
Price: Dinner: $45
Heavily influenced by tattoo culture and handmade aesthetic the men of Scratch Bar aim to serve those with a creative slash humorous side and the proof is in the menu – cured pig’s head, squid in a box,  and vanilla ice cream with sprinkles to name a few.
Menu: http://www.discoverlosangeles.com/what-to-do/restaurants/scratchbar

Mud Hen Tavern | 742 North Highland Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90038
Price: Dinner: $25
Susan Feniger’s latest restaurant endeavor gives you gourmet pub food with a heavy dose of comfort. This gastropub gives you a range of vegetarian and vegan options with specialty and creatively named IPAs, pilsners, and lagers to wash your palate with.
Menu: http://www.discoverlosangeles.com/search/site/mud%20hen%20tavern