Between the flashy (i.e. Hollywood) and the hip (i.e. Eastside), sometimes it's hard to imagine a restaurant in L.A. that's just great but also not overhyped--a low-key neighborhood restaurant, if you will. For me, one of the first names to come to mind is Luna Park.
Maybe I just missed the hype moment for this restaurant, but for being in such a key location (La Brea and Wilshire) and for being consistently packed by 7 p.m. every night of the week, Luna Park seems to be strangely thriving under-the-radar. I only decided to check out the place because I conveniently worked nearby, and because the name and look of the place reminded me of Bret Easton Ellis' (whom I had become obsessed with at the time) Lunar Park.
And just like Ellis' novels, Luna Park is decidely dark noir L.A., with a touch of youthful coolness. The ambience is dark (literally and figuratively), but in a warm, welcoming way that makes it a perfect place for groups of people or romantic dates (some of the booths have drapes that make them more private-feeling). And though the dishes are often just simple comfort foods, they come better and fancier than whatever you'd whip up in your kitchen. The oven-baked mac 'n' cheese, for example, is creamy beyond belief, and the goat cheese fondue is great (in small doses..just make sure to share). Their Tasty Burger was good too, although nothing spectacular.
The prices are about mid-range ($12-$18 for entrees, $10 average for drinks), but they've always got deals going on, like their Blue Plate Specials Sunday through Thursday (which usually includes their amazing sangria!). AND they also happen to be taking part in this season's dineLA. Time to get in on the know.
Luna Park is located at 672 S. La Brea (near Wilshire) in the Miracle Mile district.
-- Chau Tu
Photo credit: Luna Park