Often overlooked, a restaurant's complimentary breadbasket is an overture to the meal to follow. The simplicity of the bread course allows a restaurant to showcase the quality of its ingredients and the craftsmanship of the bakers in the kitchen. And while carbs have received a bad rap in the City of Angels, there are still plenty of eateries celebrating the tradition of breaking bread at the table. Here's an ode to some of the best in the city, in no particular order. —Crystal CoserRead More
Break Your Diet with These 15 Free Breadbaskets in LA
As is to be expected of Mélisse, its extraordinary selection of six French breads sets the tone for the meal to follow. While the basil brioche and bacon focaccia are not to be missed, diners also have a choice of ciabatta, plain brioche, French country roll, and black olive bread. Served alongside the bread is hand-churned beurre de baratte from Normandy.
2. Terroni Downtown
Terroni’s bread originates from the southeast Italian region of Puglia, and is exactly as one would hope it would be - crusty on the outside and deliciously chewy on the inside. The bread is made in the traditional fashion by using a homemade mother yeast rather than the prepackaged variety. Lucky diners will also be treated to their special tomato focaccia, included in the breadbaskets at the baker’s whim.
3. Barton G
Barton G. Weiss’ whimsical restaurant offers a bread service unlike any other with their savory doughnuts. The imaginative bread, a white or wheat brioche ring, is designed as if it were a donut, but is in fact topped with savory spreads like chocolate truffle and cheese with pink peppercorn and basil.
Spago’s freshly baked breads speak to the quality of the meal to come. Diners are offered the choice of cherry walnut boule, rosemary sourdough batard, olive ciabatta, French baguette, and multi-seeded lavosh. Along with a European-style unsalted variety, Wolfgang throws in his characteristic Asian twist with nori butter.
5. C&O Trattoria
Both C&O Trattoria and its sister restaurant C&O Cucina dare their diners to save room for their entrées by offering these “killer” rolls. Covered in a rich coating of butter and garlic, these crusty bites are unbearably addictive. It would be a true feat of restraint to only indulge in one.
6. Napa Valley Grille
At Westwood’s Napa Valley Grille, Executive Chef Taylor Boudreaux’s housemade focaccia is made fresh daily and is topped with herbs, sweet onion, tomato, and parmesan cheese. The bread is also served alongside housemade olive tapenade.
STK’s pull-apart bread is baked daily in house with a compound blue cheese butter topping. Although each loaf is meant for the table, after enjoying a piece soaked in the accompanying fresh chive oil, it is difficult to share the buttery, herbaceous bread with anyone else.
8. Fig & Olive
At West Hollywood’s French Riviera-inspired eatery, each meal begins with a taste of three distinct extra virgin olive oils which are paired with the restaurant’s freshly baked rosemary fougasse, a bread traditionally from the South of France made with olive oil.
9. Tavern Restaurant
This Brentwood, neighborhood restaurant treats diners to Suzanne Goin’s fresh baked sourdough boule, which comes with fleur de sel and Oregon butter. Step into The Larder on the way out to purchase their date walnut or cherry cashew bread for the ride home.
Although Scarpetta’s hearty breadbasket includes rustic Italian filone, rosemary whole wheat focaccia, and soft ciabattini rolls, the real star here is the Stromboli, rolled bread stuffed with smoked mozzarella, salami, herbs, and topped with cherry tomatoes. As if that weren’t enough, the bread is accompanied by mascarpone butter, eggplant caponata, and citrus herb oil.
11. Angelini Osteria
Los Angeles’ master of Italian cuisine Gino Angelini begins diners’ meals with paper-thin pizza dough seasoned with salt and herbs. The lightness of the resulting flatbread reserves room for the dishes to come, no matter how many breadbaskets one inevitably consumes.
12. Mastro's Ocean Club
While Mastro’s offers a well-rounded breadbasket with all the standard goodies, the most popular option is the pretzel bread. Characterized by large grains of salt and the signature aromatic crust, the pretzel is accompanied by gorgeous ocean views.
13. TAIX French Restaurant
In true French fashion, Taix begins and carries its meals with an everlasting supply of crusty French bread. However, the complimentary dishes do not end with bread, as a plate of crudités also accompanies all meals.
14. Bourbon Steak
Michael Mina’s Bourbon Steak takes steakhouse indulgence to a new level with its complimentary truffle roll. Served warm and laden with truffle flavor, there is simply no better way to begin any meal. [Photo: Darin Dines]
15. Orsa & Winston
Josef Centeno serves Orsa & Winston’s bread in the middle of his omakase-style courses. Soft milk bread focaccia comes with a changing set of accouterments like togarashi butter, cod aioli, or oregano butter with fresh radish.