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Downtown's New Jewel
The lines that form for weekend brunch at Los Feliz mainstay Fred 62 testify to owner-chef Fred Eric's knack for inspiring loyalists, yet fashion district diners have long been starving for a healthy, gourmet eatery. Eric delivers with the old-school Dean & Deluca-inspired Tiara Café, located in the landmark New Mart building. A grand-opening Feast Fantasy Ball will be held there Friday to kick off the Designers & Agents show at Los Angeles Market Week. Decidedly femme, the space he's dubbed a "princess palace" is a hybrid of Japanese anime-meets-Art Nouveau, with starburst-patterned walls, high airbrushed ceilings, and Fifties Florentine glass tiles. "I designed it so that my two daughters — Electra, two, and Isis, nine months — will have a place to go," said Eric. Recognizing that the majority of workers in the fashion district are female, Eric has developed a mostly vegetarian menu of light, natural fare for the figure-conscious (entrées range from $7 to $12). There is also an organic produce stand and minimarket so patrons can grab ingredients for a home-cooked dinner after work. One perfect, energy-boosting lunch is the sampler plate comprising a grain, two veggies, noodle soup and a grilled protein for a slim $12.50. Currently opening with breakfast and lunch, Tiara will add late-night dinner and brunch soon.
Not encouraging a too-rigid diet, Eric has added playful features such as a chocolate fountain in which customers can dip select treats at meal's end. "The menu is designed so that people can enjoy good food as a fun adventure — like fashion," noted Eric. "The market is prêt-à-manger and the restaurant is a little more precious, like haute couture."
— Martine Bury
Tiara Café, 127 East Ninth Street; 213-623-3663. Open weekdays for breakfast, 8 to 10 a.m.; lunch, 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Market is open 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.
The Other Bowery
Just east of the Sunset and Vine intersection, on a happening little stretch of sidewalk, The Bowery brings downtown Manhattan cool to Hollywood. Hip yet unpretentious, the five-month-old eatery serves hearty fare such as sirloin burgers, fresh fried onion rings, macaroni and cheese and homemade cheesecake (prices range from $5.50 to $18.50). The house specialty cocktail is the ambrosia martini, a cosmopolitan with white cranberry juice, in addition to a neat beer and wine list. Authentic decor includes an ebony bar and bar stools that were imported from New York, a pounded-tin ceiling and floor-to-ceiling black-tiled walls. The place is open until 2 a.m., but the kitchen closes at midnight. Afterward, hungry patrons can order the cheese and charcuterie plate. Note to frustrated drivers: After 6 p.m., metered parking along Sunset and around the corner up Argyle Street is a fairly easy alternative to valet. There are also a handful of spots in the small lot in back.
The Bowery, 6268 Sunset Boulevard at Vine Street; 323-465-3400. Open 6 p.m. to 2 a.m. nightly. Lunch served weekdays, noon to 5 p.m.