Eat out at enough restaurants, and tiny secrets begin to reveal themselves to you. Hidden menus, special toppings, and surefire strategies for bypassing hour-long lines - they’re the little bits of insider knowledge that can make dining out feel like the congregation of an underground food society. Here at The Infatuation, we uncover these tiny tips all the time, but rarely, if ever, does the restaurant itself feel like a full-on hack. That changed when we started eating at Bar Avalon.
From the second you walk into this restaurant/wine bar/coffee shop in Echo Park, it’s apparent you’ve discovered one of the biggest secrets in LA. The casual dining room feels like your living room, the wine list is so affordable you’ll wonder if you’re getting a friends-and-family discount, and on most nights, you’ll be the only one in there. But as the food begins trickling out of the kitchen, you’ll also realize that, unlike most secrets, Bar Avalon is one you can’t keep to yourself.
We are no strangers to eating inside empty restaurants, but in most instances, there’s a clear issue at hand - bad location, bad concept, or most obviously, bad food. Bar Avalon is guilty of none of these. Now, we could hypothesize all day about why no one is hanging out at Bar Avalon right now (it is sort of hidden behind a Verizon store), but frankly, that’s not our job. We’re here to make sure you understand why you should be.
Even if Bar Avalon’s food was only mediocre, we’d probably still come here every week just to drink wine and chat up the sommelier. The lengthy list features mainly South and North American wines listed by latitude (geography and drinking is always an exciting combination) and has an ideal mix of both regular and natural wines. Also, it’s insanely affordable. A lot of the bottles fall in the $30 range, and if you’re just looking to get a glass, they start at $5. That’s not a misprint or a Happy Hour special, it’s just one of the many secrets of Bar Avalon. The food, you’ll quickly find out, is an even bigger one.
When Bar Avalon opened in the Fall of 2019, it was a daytime-only spot, serving coffee, wine, and solid sandwiches to eat while you worked at your computer. A few months later came the dinner service and suddenly, this neighborhood hangout morphed into a place worth leaving your own neighborhood to experience. Whether it’s the caponata toast with chocolate mint, a Caesar the waiter tells you eat with your hands, or one of our favorite roasted chickens in LA, Bar Avalon’s menu is comprised of dishes you’ll definitely recognize, only with slight tweaks that make them more interesting than other versions around town. We love the blue prawns in a thick, fragrant piri piri sauce, and the chili cauliflower with anchovies strikes the perfect balance between salt and spice. Even the deviled eggs will be something you’ll remember the next day, thanks to their crispy chicken-chicharron topping
Bar Avalon serves food that you can eat with anyone, on any occasion - a lunch with picky co-workers, a classy date, or all alone in a late-in-the-week shame spiral. It’s a place that impresses, comforts, and excites - because finally, you have a place to tell all your friends about. And that’s way better than any secret topping. So what are you waiting for?
Deviled eggs are rarely a standout dish, and at Bar Avalon, that’s certainly the case. That said, these are still very good, and the crispy chicken-chicharron on top provides a much-needed pop of smoke and salt. If you arrive in a full-on hunger blackout and need to get something into your stomach fast, order these.
The exact meat in the rillette changes frequently, but we had it with lamb and it was delicious. That said, it was the giardiniera (pickled vegetables) on the side that completely stole the show.
This could’ve been a pretty standard caponata (cooked eggplant salad) on toast, but it’s the addition of the chocolate mint that takes it to a completely different level. The mint cuts through the earthiness of the eggplant, and the chocolate tastes great because it’s chocolate.
Only available during lunch, this is our favorite sandwich at Bar Avalon. The meat itself is tender and slightly smoky, and the house-made sauerkraut is intense without being overpowering. It’s not a light sandwich by any means, but at least you’ll be able to scare off your annoying co-workers by telling them you had tongue for lunch.
When we first had this dish, it was covered in ’nduja and preserved lemon and we loved it. Then they changed it to a piri piri sauce and we loved it even more. The sauce is thick and fragrant and goes perfectly with the sweetness of the shrimp. This is a must-order.
We’re going to be honest here - we’ve lost several hours of sleep thinking about this dish and when, exactly, we’ll be eating it next. It’s rich, buttery, salty perfection - and easily our favorite thing at Bar Avalon. If you don’t order this, you’ve made a grave error.
Another Bar Avalon secret - leave room for the dessert. In particular, the carrot halwa. The savory, grated carrots are sweet (but not too sweet) and the ice cream on the side provides an ideal balance of hot and cold. Finally, we understand what that Katy Perry song was about.