Is there a group more obsessed with ineffective buzzwords than restaurants? Doubtful. Artisanal, sustainable, local, farm-to-table, gourmet, organic. These words are so dangerously undefined they serve no purpose except being entirely misleading. And then there’s the king of them all. A word so misused and overplayed by every person writing, cooking, or taking an Instagram of the nearest stalk of who-gives-a-f*ck, it’s basically devoid of any meaning whatsoever.
By our estimation there isn’t one restaurant in this city that doesn’t claim that word somewhere on its menu. And Estrella is certainly guilty as charged. Except for one big, legitimate difference – Estrella actually backs it up.
No, we’re not just talking about Estrella’s food being in season. That’s amateur stuff. We’re talking about taking a bite of whatever dish you ordered at this WeHo spot and feeling like you’re eating the current season itself. What? Yes. Sliced figs, turkey chorizo, and pomegranate seeds on one plate. Hi haters, that tastes like autumn to us. And most importantly, it tastes phenomenal. The menu is fairly wide ranging, but anytime a place can pull off a hamachi crudo and angus burger in one sitting, it’s a good bet they know what they’re doing in the kitchen.
Estrella’s space is warm and eccentric, way closer to an Ojai peyote den than a Sunset Strip hotspot. But despite the Laurel Canyon in the '70s hippie vibes, Estrella isn’t necessarily a “casual” restaurant. It’s certainly not formal, but it is the kind of place you make a reservation. So do so.
Estrella’s most surprising aspect though? It’s open everyday at 8 a.m. for breakfast, giving this part of town the all day, non-hotel restaurant it needed. Weekend brunch with the girls, afternoon business meeting on the patio, or romantic date night in the evening – Estrella nails every occasion.
Heads up rest of LA – let’s get back to words actually meaning something. Estrella just taught you how.
ORDER ALERT: This is a must. There’s really no reason it should even taste as good as it does, but everything down to the house-made tortilla chips works. If you don’t start your meal at Estrella with this, get up and leave.
A dish named after exactly what the f*ck is served to you, this shared plate is fragrant, flavorful, and perhaps the dish you’ll be talking about the most on the car ride home.
While this had some crazy flavors involved (hello, truffled pumpkin seeds!) there just wasn’t enough of it to get the full effect. But perhaps we’re just being selfish.
This sweet, meaty fish is done excellently at Estrella, and whatever that lobster/egg yolk cream situation was at the bottom, WE WANT ALL OF IT.
Don’t tell anyone, but this might be the best thing on the menu. In a restaurant full of well thought out and nuanced dishes, this is sloppy, no-holds-barred goodness.
Let’s not forget about the cocktail situation at Estrella, which is mighty strong in its own right. And our favorite is the spicy, fragrant Gobsmacked. One or two of these and you’ll think you actually are in Ojai.
Is this already an LA legend? Only served on the brunch menu (and even then, not always), this is a bacon-wrapped, egg-stuffed avocado that is one of the greatest things we have tasted this year. Whatever you do, just make this happen for your mouth.