Peaceful Dining in L.A.

One of the biggest challenges of writing a book about Peaceful Places in Los Angeles is finding restaurants that qualify. If a place has good food, it usually means the dining room is always hopping and the challenge of getting a reservation is anything but peaceful unless your last name is DiCaprio or Spielberg. If the food is mediocre, you really don’t want to go there in the first place, no matter how pretty the candlelight or leafy the atmosphere.

I did find a handful of restaurants quiet enough to make the cut for my book. Inn of the Seventh Ray in Topanga Canyon with its creekside patio and thoughtful vegan-friendly menu is one. Sofi on W. 3rd Street, a hidden Greek oasis of bougainvillea-draped walls, moussaka and flaming cheese, is another. And I recently discovered the plant-filled patio at Hatfield’s on Melrose. The restaurant’s bustling open kitchen is fascinating, but sometimes you just want to enjoy the wonderful food in an intimate setting, and this small space provides it.

DineLA Restaurant Week starts tomorrow with 250 restaurants participating, from Lucques to Lawry’s Prime Rib. It’s a great time to try new places and seek out that rare combination of tranquility and delicious food. If things are not as peaceful as you’d like, at least your wallet isn’t empty and you get credit for expanding your Los Angeles culinary boundaries. Bon appetit.

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