Pastry goes precious at La Conversation in Los Angeles
April 21, 2012
LOS ANGELES, USA – Homey food made fresh from scratch, country décor accents, and doilies galore…sounds like you’re dining at Grandma’s, right? Nope. You’re in West Hollywood at La Conversation café, where you’d think the cluttered-kitsch tearoom look would be dismissed as totally unhip by entertainment industry insiders and Pacific Design Center snobs. To the contrary, this cozy patisserie is beloved by a crowd of very loyal regulars, with a fair few celebs and power players among them.
Looking at the Old World-style glass cases stuffed with mouthwatering confections, it’s not hard to see why. Scones, croissants, muffins, brioche…all the important food groups (er, pastry types) are well represented among the forty kinds of sweets on offer, all baked fresh daily. If you simply can’t choose which sugary treat to allow yourself, consider coming for breakfast, when a little basket of mini pastries is served as a free sampler. It’s a great place to while away the morning over coffee and a pain au chocolat, but there’s a lot to be had that doesn’t involve pastry whatsoever.
The pumpkin pancakes at breakfast are swoon-worthy, but even simpler offerings like eggs with potatoes and toast are really well done. The secret is that nothing is cooked up until you order it — they pride themselves on having no microwaves in the place. Menus are printed with fair warnings: food takes 15-20 minutes to prepare, so it’s not ideal to order hot food if you’re in a hurry or faint with hunger. The same made-to-order approach goes for the dizzying array of salad and sandwich offerings, too. The chopped salad and turkey burger draw applause.
The food isn’t the only thing you’ll wait for. It’s perennially packed on weekends, and waits for tables can be long. But that doesn’t seem to bother most comers. Everyone seems to know everyone, and there’s a cheerful community feel that helps pass the time quickly. It’s perfect for a meeting with friends or even a relaxed-chat date. As far as attire goes, it’s casual. I’d go with a sundress or comfy jeans — definitely something I could get crumbs on. On the other hand, it’s super close to the designer boutiques of Melrose like Maxfield and James Perse, so you might want to upgrade your threads a little if you plan for a post-meal shop rubbing elbows with celebs.
It’s hard to improve upon the Parisian-perfect pastries, from-scratch meals, and good people watching at La Conversation. As you join the legions of regulars, just don’t forget to visit Grandma once in a while, too.
Read more about La Conversation in Our Los Angeles Guide.
Click here for our full-form mobile travel guide, The Purple Passport to Los Angeles (FREE today only on Amazon.com!)
Rachel Levin contributed to this post