One of my favorite perks of living in Los Angeles is access to phenomenal restaurants. There’s always a hot new restaurant, sought-after chef, or inventive new dish coming on the LA dining scene, and I love being one of the first to experience it! I was so delighted when I was invited to attend the launch party for Avant Garden Bistro Los Angeles, as I knew the restaurant’s original outpost in New York was getting lots of buzz for its creative vegan cuisine and beautiful atmosphere. Avant Garden Bistro is Overthrow Hospitality‘s first foray into the LA dining scene, and the founder Ravi DeRossi, a 2022 James Beard nominee, has received lots of recognition for his mission and reverence for plant-based dining.
The launch party was themed Midsummer Night’s Dream, so I took the opportunity to wear a whimsical summer dress by Banjanan that I purchased at one of my favorite stores in San Marino, Serafina.
Before my TV hosting life, I worked in the hospitality industry as a publicist representing some of the most prestigious hotels and restaurants around the world, and I’ve continued to always have an interest in seeking exceptional dining experiences. Giving you that background was my nice way of saying that I’m a bit of a hospitality snob! With that in mind, I want you to know that Avant Garden Bistro nailed everything – the food, ambiance, and service were all top notch!
My favorite thing about the vegan cuisine at Avant Garden Bistro was that Chef Sarah Sterns wasn’t trying to mask the plants in her dishes or turn them into something they’re not. Personally, I’ve never been into eating faux hamburgers, so it was refreshing to see gorgeously plated plants and taste Chef’s extraordinary flavor combinations. I genuinely love eating vegetables and enjoy finding new ways to cook and eat them at home, so dining at Avant Garden Bistro was a fun and tasty exploratory experience for me!
The vegan tapas menu is divided into three sections: “Toast,” “Cold,” and “Hot.” At the launch party, three of the toasts were passed for us to sample as we arrived and waited to be seated for dinner. We tried the Cremini Toast with walnut puree, red grape and calabrian chili, Eggplant Toast with pickled apricots, miso and parsley, and the English Pea Toast with pickled hon shimeji, tahini, balsamic and basil. My favorite of the three was the Eggplant Toast. The sweet pickled apricots combined with the savory miso provided a rich umami sensation.
Once we were seated for dinner, we were served a variety of “Cold” and “Hot” dishes. Standouts on the “Cold” menu were the Shaved Brussels, made with turmeric goddess, dried currant and almonds (perfect if you want something that feels like a light salad), and the Avocado with sushi rice, carrot ginger dressing, blistered shishito, and miso glaze, which is reminiscent of an addicting sushi roll. My favorite of the “Hot” dishes was the Roasted Carrot with pistachio chermula, spring onion soubise and blood sorrel. It was unlike any carrot dish I’ve eaten before with unique flavor combinations and so filling! Another standout was the Smoked Bok Choy with sourdough fritter, succotash, and soy citrus butter. This dish reminded me of my southern roots with the fritter and succotash. This also was a hearty tapas dish that left me very satisfied. Some people believe that they can’t get full at tapas or vegan restaurants, but I promise that you will not leave hungry here!
Avant Garden Bistro specializes in wine-based cocktails and natural wines. The wine-based cocktails are by Master Mixologist Sother Teague from Amor Y Amargo and showcase a variety of unique flavors. My favorite was the floral Green City cocktail, made with dry vermouth, cucumber juice, lime juice, saffron, and dry white sparkling wine, but I also found the Vista Sour, made with carpano antica, lemon, blood orange, cacao nib bitter and vanilla, to be very interesting and worth a try for anyone looking for an adventurous cocktail!
Curated by Master Sommelier Brett Zimmerman, the wine list is comprised of natural, sustainable wines. We sampled a variety of wines, and the 2019 Porta Del Vento ‘Luna Calante’ from Sicily stood out to me the most with its amber color and that tasted deep and fresh at the same time. It worked well with all the plant-based tapas, and I could see myself enjoying sipping this wine in summer and winter.
Avant Garden Bistro’s stunning outdoor patio gives guests the feeling of dining in a secret garden. Designed by veteran set designer Andrew Nowling, the space offers guests the opportunity to dine under the stars in an enchanted atmosphere adorned with twinkling chandeliers, mysterious statues and murals, and lush florals. It’s the perfect romantic space for a date night!
Inside, the restaurant resembles an upscale French bistro with plush red velvet dining booths and ornate lighting, yet still feels like an intimate neighborhood watering hole. This is where you grab a drink and a couple tapas with friends after work. Live music throughout the evening, including a beautiful harpist and bassist, and the restaurant’s friendly staff added to the evening’s magical atmosphere.
- Website: www.avantgardenbistro.com
- Instagram: @avantgardenbistro_la
- Location: 7469 Melrose Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90046
- Phone: (323) 433-4141
- Hours: Tuesday to Thursday: 5:00-11:00 p.m. | Friday and Saturday: 5:00 p.m. – 12:00 a.m. | Sunday and Monday: Closed
- Reservations: Via Seven Rooms here
There was no detail overlooked at Avant Garden Bistro’s Los Angeles launch party, and I can’t wait to come back for a date night! Even if you’re not vegan, anyone will enjoy exploring Avant Garden Bistro’s creative food and drink menu in the restaurant’s spectacular atmosphere.
Would you try this new vegan tapas restaurant? Let me know in the comments below! I’d love to connect with you on Instagram and TikTok where you can find more content related to dining, travel and lifestyle!
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