Friday, April 2, 2010

Wine Bars in Los Angeles

Hello all! I'm just starting this blog up, which will be a collection of the odd and diverse food, music, art, literature, drinks and random amusements that swirl around me.

To kick things off I was rambling recommendations to my girlfriend about fun places that served great wine in Los Angeles that she could take out-of-town guests. So here's a small list of fun places to get you started (and a touch drunk):

Bottle Rock
This is the mellow place in Culver where if you buy two glasses of wine they will open any bottle in the store - and the remnants of those bottles get added to a chalkboard for other patrons to try - they have a great beer list as well - also they make a great truffle grilled cheese and have a pleasant tiny patio that I have wiled away many evenings:

This is *the* destination classy wine-bar-meets-chic-restaurant in L.A. Constantly gets amazing reviews and I can't really afford to eat here. You would need a reservation for sure:

Rustic Canyon
A true westside gem that has fantastic farmer's-market-driven, sublimely wine-friendly, food on Wilshire near 11th. This place has really come in to it's own over the past year or two and is one of my favorite restaurants in Los Angeles now. Everything on the small menu is worth trying. The duck breast is killer, as are the mussels. The real gems are in the small plates section, since it's all items from the last couple day's farmer's market. You will very likely need a reservation for this place as well:

Bar Pintxo
Across the street from each other in Santa Monica near Ocean Ave. are Pourtal, which is a neat wine-o-matic place where you put money on a card and then can buy any of about 50 wines by the ounce from fancy machines (a great selection of small grower California wines usually, plus some French), and Bar Pinxto, which is a small tapas and Spanish wine bar that was featured in Wine Spectator. Pourtal is a wonderful place to dig in to learning about wine - they regularly have special events and monthly special selections, such as a whole array of Santa Rita Pinot Noirs. Pintxo is a fun place to spend a late late lunch after wandering on the beach, and has some fun tapas and a great selection of Spanish wines, but someone needs to tell them to get decent wine glasses...

Continuing the saga of the wine-o-matic reminds me that right near Bottle Rock in Culver City is another wine bar called Ugo, which has that same system but specializes in Italian varietals - it can get a bit boisterous on weekends to get serious about wine [from my experience] but is a fun place to meet some friends. The restaurant next door isn't great by any stretch... :

And for my next post, I'll write up the three additional places that slipped my mind - sorry Callie's mom, you'll have to wait until next trip to try Bodega, Cork, and Wine House!