It’s MAY, and that means we are BACK to recommend another amazing eatery that you absolutely need to check out the next time you’re in LA. And for all you Angelenos out there, this gem is located right in Silverlake, so take note.
Botanica is the brainchild of Heather Sperling and Emily Fiffer, and quite coincidentally, turned two years old a week ago! Happy Birthday Botanica!
The tenets of the restaurant are all about locally sourcing healthy fruits, veggies, and grains. Plus, emphasizing that healthy cooking can be vibrant, creative, and satisfying, which may be antithetical to those who roll their eyes at “health foods” or think that healthy eating is a trend.
But roll your eyes no more, haters. Botanica’s cuisine is so fresh, so tasty, and so sumptuous, naysayers won’t even know they’re eating a “health food”, and those who are in the know will appreciate the carefully curated ingredients and menu items all the more.
Walking into Botanica is like traipsing into a chic, but cozy, farmhouse. The elegant white wooden tables and similarly palette-d chairs, paired with the exposed beams in the ceiling, give the restaurant and marketplace an airy, lofty feel that is both welcoming, orderly, and stylish. The building was previously an old liquor store from the 1940s, but Botanica bares no resemblance to its predecessor – except for the fact that bottles of wine line the marketplace walls. While the wine selection hails from ’round the globe, each bottle is congruent with the aforementioned tenets of the restaurant’s sustainable mission. Sperling and Fiffer vet each vineyard whose bottles they carry to ensure that each varietal is made of the finest quality and is as organic as possible.
Sperling and Fiffer met when they both worked in the media world writing reviews on restaurants and the coinciding culinary treats. After a while, they thought that instead of reporting on the creations of what others were doing, why not try their hand at creating something that aligned with their own values?
In a predominantly male-dominated industry, both women thought the time was right to strike out as powerful, entrepreneurial females in the restaurant industry – and it’s not only the food and wine that aligns with Sperling and Fiffer’s sustainability paradigm – most of Botanica’s staff is comprised of women who share their core values as well.
Okay, so what to eat?
Glad you asked!
Not that I’m a lush, per se, but I will admit that I’ve become a bit jaded when I peruse a cocktail menu in an exciting new Los Angeles restaurant. It’s almost as if all the existing cocktail menus bear an incestuous resemblance to each other, borrowing and swapping ingredients and recipes from other, equally as chic, eateries.
But not at Botanica.
An Arugula Cocktail? One made with beet juice? It was a really welcome surprise.
BEET | tequila blanco OR Yola mezcal (I chose tequila blanco), lime, beet juice, cilantro — ultra refreshing, and not too sweet. It was perfect. I could have had three…but I had four.
AVOCADO & CITRUS | fuerte avocados, an array of market citrus, tahini & black sesame brittle — the black sesame brittle? WHAT A TREAT! It added a welcome, complementary crunch to the fresh, seasonal veggies.
CLAMS & TOAST | Manila clams, fennel, white wine & ras el hanout, with a caramelized fennel & radish toast — the mark of a great restaurant is one at which I look down at the menu and see ingredients paired together that I never would have paired together myself. Caramelized fennel & radish? Ras el hanout? (I wasn’t sure what this was, but I trusted the Botanica girls and went for it – and I was glad I did – FYI: it’s translated from Arabic as a “top shelf spice blend”) The dish was perfect! Perfect, I say! And the spice blend that the clams were cooked in was divine. Kinda reminded me of a high-class curry.
BUCKWHEAT BROWNIE & TAHINI MOUSSE | cacao nib-sea salt crumble (gf) — I debated whether or not I actually needed this (jk, I knew I was going to order it the entire time), but my decision was made that much quicker when I saw it was a BUCKWHEAT brownie. The health! And tahini mousse? Could it have been possibly healthier than my dinner?? Both were delicious, and the mousse was perfect because it wasn’t super sweet, so didn’t overpower any of the flavors in the dish.
Writing this, I sort of want to go back already. Like, right now, to be specific.
All in all, I was completely won over – and you all know that when I recommend something, I truly, truly believe in it. Mark Botanica on the top of your MUST-GO list, asap.