While these restaurants have always been some of my absolute favorite places to eat, I have found myself especially enjoying them this summer. I hope you can make it to each of them while there are still a few weeks of warm evenings left.
There is a special energy about Sunset Plaza that this restaurant perfectly captures for me. The white tablecloths, the patio so packed with tables that you feel like you are sharing with the diners next to you, and the delicious yet beautifully displayed food creates an environment that I am consistently drawn to. Inside, the restaurant is cheerfully lit and just as busy as the patio, and while the décor may be cozy and simple, the dishes are not. Intricate salads, pastas, and pizzas embody the most delicious flavors, and you can even order more exotic French dishes such as Boudin Noir, Steak Tartare, and Duck Confit. Of course, the meal isn’t complete without a slice of cake or Profiteroles, and my favorite part, a short walk up and down the best part of Sunset Boulevard.
If you ever ask me what my favorite restaurant is, I will always answer hands down Urth Café, specifically the one on Melrose. My ritual is to order a strong Spanish latte, regardless of the time of day, because it is just too good to not have. Recently I was there for an early dinner on a rainy Sunday evening, and after a fun hour of couch testing at Restoration Hardware, was miraculously able to sit outside under an umbrella in the pouring rain and be warm and dry. In addition to the fantastic food quality, the main reason I love Urth is because even if you are there for dinner at 9 p.m. on a Wednesday, it is always lively and packed, the candle lit tables lighting up the street and making you feel part of something special (or an episode of Entourage). My fondest memories there are of big family dinners out on the sidewalk lingering until 10 p.m. with just a few bites of delicious chocolate cake left on the table and feeling like I never want to leave.
For fantastic Mexican food, fruity drinks, and a fun time, head over to Mercado but make sure to make a reservation beforehand because this is definitely the place to go when you’re with a group. Start with some of their guacamole and choriqueso duo and a margarita or another of their famous drinks.
Be sure to order a side of rice if your main dish doesn't come with it—it is to die for. You may either be seated in the bustling main dining room on a large high table or upstairs in a more private room for large parties. Either way, the energetic atmosphere is contagious and you will thoroughly enjoy yourself regardless.