Looking for a getaway without leaving L.A.? Head to Topanga Canyon, home to hippies, hiking and mountain biking, summertime Shakespeare at Will Geer’s Theatricum Botanicum, and The Topanga Table, a new daytime specialist tucked along the main road.
The Topanga Table opened in 2015 just five miles south of Ventura Boulevard and eight miles from Getty Villa in Malibu, and is just a forty minute drive away from Downtown outside of rush hour. The restaurant shares a wood building with a Pilates studio, real estate, and insurance offices. A white walled dining room houses exposed rafters and L-shaped wood bar.
Most of the action takes place on a screened patio with peaked roof, hanging ferns and wood tables topped with tiny potted succulents. During a second visit, a breeze was whipping through the canyon and Fleetwood Mac played, which both added to the vibe.
The Topanga Table serves seasonal comfort food every day for breakfast and lunch, making this one of L.A.’s most reliable brunch options. Ingredients are local and organic, and they even bake bread and make sodas with wild sage. Breakfast features toasts, egg, and grain dishes. Lunch brings salads and sandwiches on the aforementioned bread.
Egg sandwiches are on most breakfast menus at this point, but The Topanga Table’s version ($11) stands out for several reasons. Let’s start with the sturdy English muffin with good chew that’s baked in-house. From there, they add a juicy seared Beeler’s Heluka sausage patty made with hogs from Le Mars, Iowa, hearty braised kale, dehydrated tomato with concentrated flavor, and molten Gruyere. Skin-on, well-seasoned roasted potatoes co-star unless for some odd reason one prefers mixed greens.
Considering how much they accomplish on-site, it was oddly surprisingly to learn that they don’t make hot sauce. However, The Topanga Table does source spicy, tangy Tiffany’s Torcher blended just down the canyon. They’ll gladly provide a ramekin of fire red sauce upon request.
Three-egg salmon scramble ($15) combined fluffy eggs, pencil asparagus, savory sheep's milk feta, and cherry tomatoes and came with sourdough toast. Eggs also factor into mushroom or burrata omelettes, breakfast burritos, and Benedict.
Since four grains just won’t do, they serve hearty 5-grain porridge ($8) that combines steel cut oats, amaranth, millet, brown rice bran, quinoa, honey, blueberries, and cream.
Sweeter options during the first visit included French toast with baked persimmon, cardamom caramel sauce and whipped cream. Banana walnut pancakes are also a menu mainstay, made with spelt and quinoa, since standard wheat flour is so 2014.
Because bread is such a big focus, invest in their toast combo ($4 to 6 or 3 for $10). Anchovy toast has sourdough slathered with goat cheese and dressed with charred cherry tomatoes and draped with pleasantly pungent marinated anchovies. Pickled egg toast involves sourdough sporting cauliflower cream cheese, crisp arugula, and mild, but bright yellow eggs. Salmon is a departure, with seeded rye layered with crème fraiche, capers, and silky salmon.
Shaved Brussels sprouts and apple salad ($14) comes tossed with gobs of sheep’s milk feta, crushed walnuts, sweet sliced dates, and savory julienne bacon. Half-portions of all salads are available, which fits with their commitment to variety.
Date shakes are popular in Coachella Valley, but the muted green smoothie ($6) is something utterly unique at The Topanga Table, blended with creamy avocado, hearty kale, and Medjool dates (“the King of dates”).
Keep a close eye on The Topanga Table’s Instagram feed for seasonal dishes and desserts, and be prepared to jump in the car because they disappear quickly. Roasted peaches with pistachio brittle and vanilla bean ice cream popped up a couple weeks ago but were gone upon arrival.
Chef William Edwards is The Topanga Table’s chef and managing partner. He’s from South Africa and cooked in many restaurants back home. He spent two frigid winters living in a boat on the Hudson River, which proved to be plenty, so he relocated from New York to L.A. Initially, he built restaurants with a construction company and later bought The 1909 wedding venue in Topanga Canyon with business partner Amir Rofougaran. After the owner of adjacent Pat’s Topanga Grill passed away, he bought the building in 2015.
It’s near the end of The Topanga Table’s opening chapter, as Edwards plans to add dinner service. When the beer and wine license arrives, along with a wood-burning oven on an expanded patio, diners will be able to watch loaves of bread emerge from the hearth. The new patio will also have better views of the surrounding mountains, which will only add to The Topanga Table’s destination status.
The Topanga Table, 1861 N. Topanga Canyon Blvd., Topanga, 310.752.6241, www.thetopangatable.com