LAReview

photo credit: American Girl Cafe

The American Girl Cafe image
6.0

The American Girl Cafe

American

Century City

$$$$Perfect For:Big GroupsBirthdays

Included In

Standing in front of American Girl Cafe in Westfield Century City, the body starts to tingle. “Is this happening? Am I sharing chicken tenders with dolls today? Am I even allowed to?” Naturally, the prospect of eating inside a store that charges for doll hair blowouts inspires peculiar, even haunted, anxieties. Give into the unseriousness of dining at the Smithsonian of career-oriented dolls. You're allowed to enjoy it ironically and sincerely—even as a childless adult, even while swallowing food that is, at best, edible.

This is not news to millennial mothers or eight-year-olds, but American Girl—and their branded cafe chain—is still doing big business. The days of stuck-up Samantha, simple Molly, a suitcase, and a dream may be gone, but that’s only because there’s a whole damn universe now. LA’s revamped American Doll Place sells $115 plastic children of all types: elven princesses, goth girls, and workout dollies judging you for skipping their pilates class. Any of these ladies can be your guest of honor at the cafe upstairs, where staff members provide clip-on chairs so your unblinking vinyl daughter can join you at the table. In case purchasing a trust fund-coded ski doll whose bio reads, “can walk right from school to the slopes” isn’t a priority, we recommend snagging a free one from The Wall Of Forgotten Girls. This is a haunted loaner collection that even Sid from Toy Story would walk away from.

The American Girl Cafe image

photo credit: American Girl Cafe

The American Girl Cafe image

photo credit: American Girl Cafe

The American Girl Cafe image

photo credit: American Girl Cafe

The American Girl Cafe image

photo credit: American Girl Cafe

The American Girl Cafe image
The American Girl Cafe image
The American Girl Cafe image
The American Girl Cafe image

It’s with this same chaos that you should approach the cafe’s food, which doesn’t taste good but is strangely cost-effective. For $27 per person, you get a multi-course extravaganza of soft drinks, cinnamon rolls, a three-tiered High Tea stand filled with fruit skewers, cucumber and cheese bites, meatballs, and toasted ravioli, an entree of your choice, and dessert. N/naka could never. Are some of the ravioli a little frozen? Of course. Would the personal pan pizza lose in a blind taste test to 7-Eleven’s version? Yes. If either of those truths bother you while sitting on the second floor of a toy store, you’ve lost the plot. 

Whether you’re an adult without the urge to procreate or you're arriving with children, the point of eating at this pastel haunted house is to have fun. And everyone who works here is in on the gag. Don't expect a holier-than-thou waitstaff trained to make sure patrons respect the history of The Brand. Servers will happily take cursed photos of you and your borrowed “Bitty Baby” with bite marks on its scalp. They’ll cackle as you give your adolescent doll pretend sips of sparkling rosé, and then scold her for glugging too hard (teens will be teens!). They’ll refill your margarita and recount wild stories of diners past—Bitty got those bite marks somehow.

If there’s any part of you that’s curious about the American Girl Cafe, don’t second guess it. Despite the restaurant’s obvious target audience, the 90-minute break from reality serves nostalgic adults, too. So go all in. Get weird. Bring your offspring, or don’t. Enjoy the irony. Because, in this town, $27 is a small price to pay for taking yourself a little less seriously.

Food Rundown

The American Girl Cafe image

photo credit: American Girl Cafe

Appetizer Stand

Nothing on this three-tiered stand is particularly memorable, but the fact that you’re being served High Tea inside a doll store in the Century City Mall is proof that god at least has a sense of humor.

Cinnamon Rolls

Cinnamon roll course > bread course.

The AG Cheeseburger

If you’re over 18 and eat meat, make this your entree. It comes topped with pepper jack cheese, bacon-tomato jam, and at least two inches worth of arugula, all on a toasted pretzel bun. It’s not great, but it’s also not horrible. Which is exactly what Molly would say about you getting a B- in arithmetic.
The American Girl Cafe image

photo credit: American Girl Cafe

House-Made Margarita

Reposado tequila and lime juice and—you know what, we’re not doing this. It’s a cocktail served inside a toy emporium, just drink it.

Macaroni And Cheese

No thanks.

Chocolate Mousse Flowerpot

This is essentially a Snack Pack covered in Oreo crumbles. A star in any kid's fourth grade lunch box and a star here.

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FOOD RUNDOWN

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