LAReview

photo credit: Jakob Layman

Bar Moruno review image
8.2

Bar Moruno

$$$$

3705 Sunset Blvd. , Los Angeles
Earn 3X Points

This might be a tough pill for some to swallow, but when it comes to food, Sunset Junction has gotten a bit sleepy lately. Silver Lake’s neighborhood-within-a-neighborhood certainly retains charm, but for every witchy kaftan store, there’s now a national salad chain and an overpriced drip coffee laboratory on either side. It’s why the arrival of Bar Moruno feels like such a breath of fresh air.

The upscale Spanish spot on Sunset Blvd. has given the neighborhood a jolt of energy, while also delivering a polished hangout spot with excellent drinks and tapas.

Bar Moruno’s festive atmosphere hits you the second you step in off Sunset—you’ll spot friends and coworkers huddled around round wooden tables eating canned fish, sipping dirty martinis, and swapping the day’s best drama. There’s a walk-in only bar area that starts popping by 6:30pm every night. If you prefer to be closer to the action in the kitchen, there’s a counter in the back with prime views of the crackling wood-fired oven. The whole place crackles with a just-got-back-from-Barcelona electricity that, combined with a colorful design scheme best described as “all the cutest stuff from World Market” (a compliment!), reminds us that Silver Lake has still got it.

Jakob Layman

Bar Moruno review image

When it comes to ordering, we recommend sticking to Bar Moruno’s small dishes. We love the oven-roasted marinated feta, creamy hen of the woods mushrooms served in a sizzling skillet, and a spicy chorizo-filled Scotch egg that’s among our favorite bites of the year. There are also seven different conserva boards on the menu ranging from sardines in olive oil to razor clams in brine. Getting one (they all come with house-brined pickles, butter, and thick, chewy Jyan Isaac bread) is the only way to properly start your meal here. The bigger dishes aren’t misses, but there are too many other highlights on the menu to fill up on a half rotisserie chicken.

As the name suggests, we’d also come to Bar Moruno simply to drink. For starters, there’s an entire gin martini section. The “salmon” (yes, it’s made with actual salmon-infused gin) will certainly be the talk of the table, but the best one is the “tuxedo,” which has hints of maraschino, absinthe, and orange bitters. There are also five different kinds of G&T’s, six vermouths, an Old Fashioned made with jamón ibérico-washed bourbon, and a roaming sherry specialist who maybe, just maybe will get you hooked on Fino. If nothing else, you and anyone else who frequents Sunset Junction will appreciate having some genuine buzz back in the neighborhood.

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Food Rundown

Jakob Layman

Bar Moruno review image

Minerva Spiced Mackerel Fillets

Eating quality canned fish at restaurants is still very much a novelty in LA, so we’d like to take this moment to state: MORE CANNED FISH AT RESTAURANTS, PLEASE. It’s fun, kind of old-school, and far more interesting than a regular loaf of table bread. Of course, not every place will have conserva boards as well-executed as Bar Moruno—but hey, more the merrier.

Bar Moruno review image

Egg Salad

A great egg salad is 90% texture and Bar Moruno gets their version 100% right. We also love the nice acidic punch from the lime aioli, and while you can certainly taste dijon mustard here, it doesn’t overpower the dish.

Bar Moruno review image

Over-Roasted Hummus

Most people probably consider warm hummus a beach picnic faux-pas, but Bar Moruno proves it can be a standout. Arriving in a warm skillet, the hummus itself is nicely creamy with a slight tanginess from sumac. But it’s the crispy, smoky chickpeas baked on top that elevate this dish into the must-order tier.

Jakob Layman

Bar Moruno review image

Chorizo Scotch Egg

On a menu with no shortage of traditional tapas, this chorizo-wrapped Scotch egg feels a bit like it showed up at the wrong costume party. Order it anyway. With a crunchy panko-crusted exterior and a warm gooey interior filled with spicy chorizo verde and a runny egg, it’s an expertly balanced bite of food with layers of flavors.

Jakob Layman

Bar Moruno review image

Setas Con Huevos

There’s no denying this is a heavy dish, but it’s also one to make room for on your table. Served in (another) skillet with succulent hen of the woods mushrooms, a fried egg, and tiny chunks of fried bread, it’s pure, unadulterated decadence. Yes, you will want a ticket to this ride.

Jakob Layman

Bar Moruno review image

Beef Morunos

This is one of Bar Morunos signature dishes, and while it’s a very solid grilled steak skewer, we recommend saving room instead for more small plates that catch your eye.

Jakob Layman

Bar Moruno review image

Basque Cheesecake

We’ve eaten better basque cheesecake around town, but if you think we’ll ever come to Bar Moruno and not order it, you’ll be mistaken. Cheesecake it up, baby.

Jakob Layman

Bar Moruno review image

Tuxedo Martini

Please welcome the newest addition to the pantheon of great LA martinis. This absinthe-and-maraschino-kissed gin number is smooth, slightly tart (but not sweet). It has quickly climbed the ranks of our personal Martinis We’ll Cancel Previous Obligations To Drink list.

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