LAReview

photo credit: Jakob Layman

Hippo image
8.2

Hippo

AmericanItalian

Highland Park

$$$$Perfect For:Date NightDining SoloLiterally Everyone

Included In

A bathrobe isn’t a necessity. Regular towels work just fine, and if you want to hang out on the couch, that’s why sweatpants were invented. But, as any stay in an even slightly-fancy hotel will tell you, these inside-only coats improve whatever time you spend in them. Hippo, the sort-of-Italian, very LA restaurant in Highland Park, is similar. This place is easy to overlook, but once you know it’s there, you’ll want to use it all the time.

Walking into Hippo, you might think you have enough of this kind of restaurant in your life already. The room is industrial, with high ceilings, lots of wood, pendant lights, and a wall painted with a graphic flower pattern that someone will probably take photos in front of. And if you’ve eaten anywhere new in LA recently, the menu of crudos, pastas, and meats cooked on a grill will look very familiar. But it’s worth remembering that pendant lights and walls painted with flowers look nice, and almost everyone likes to eat crudos and pasta. Especially when they taste this good.

Hippo image

photo credit: Jakob Layman

On a closer look, the menu is way more interesting than it seems - and for a semi-upscale restaurant, also pretty affordable. One of those crudos is a fantastic ceviche served with housemade tortilla chips. If you order the “cool summer wax beans” mostly because you want to find out what makes a bean cool and summery, you’ll end up with one of the best dishes here. The pastas (all under $20) are excellent too, especially the sweet corn cappellacci that comes with a rich mushroom sauce. Not all of the food works - the barbecued quail is overly sweet, and the griddle’d cauliflower is just another giant roasted vegetable you don’t need to order. But overall, this restaurant is serving interesting versions of things you already want to eat.

Hippo is a place you can use for almost any situation. Especially when you want an excellent meal, and you don’t want to have to give up your cheese-of-the-month subscription to pay for it. That might be the birthday dinner you planned weeks in advance, an emergency night out on the patio with your kids because there are only half-empty containers of olives in the fridge, or a casual date. Just like that bathrobe, you might not need Hippo - but you’ll definitely be happy you have it.

Food Rundown

Hippo image

photo credit: Jakob Layman

Cool Summer Wax Beans

We’ve never felt that beans deserve to be called cool, until now. These are fantastic, with a salty, lemony vinaigrette and the kind of crunch you’d swear could only be created with sound effects.

Griddle’d Cauliflower

This comes out as a big hunk of blackened cauliflower, and it certainly looks impressive. The tahini underneath is pretty great, but the cauliflower itself is underseasoned and ultimately a bit tasteless.
Hippo image

photo credit: Jakob Layman

Snapper “Ceviche”

We’re not sure why this is “ceviche” and not ceviche, but ultimately we’re not complaining because this dish is fresh, light, and is delicious.
Hippo image

photo credit: Jakob Layman

Sweet Corn Cappellacci

All the pastas at Hippo are excellent, but this one is the star of the team. The sweet pockets of corn are nicely balanced by the savory mushroom sauce, and our only complaint is that we’d like more of both.
Hippo image

photo credit: Jakob Layman

Tagliolini With Heritage Pork Ragu

On first bite, this tasted like any other pasta with a rich ragu sauce. But after a few more, you’ll realize that that it’s a really fantastic ragu sauce.
Hippo image

photo credit: Jakob Layman

Cedar Smoked Ocean Trout

This is our favorite entree by far. The trout is great, but the green goddess soaked corn underneath is even better.

Barbecued Quail

We generally like quail, but the pancetta, sage, and honey don’t work together. This dish is unnecessarily sweet.

Included In

FOOD RUNDOWN

Suggested Reading

Osteria Mozza image
7.5

Osteria Mozza

Osteria Mozza is a classic LA establishment in Hancock Park known for celebratory pasta dinners.

Silverlake Wine image

Silverlake Wine is technically a wine shop, but it's also our favorite wine bar in Silver Lake.

Highland Park Bowl image

This Highland Park cocktail bar also happens to be LA's oldest bowling alley.

Cafe Birdie image
7.6

This Highland Park spot is all about life’s comforts.

Infatuation Logo

Cities

2024 © The Infatuation Inc. All Rights Reserved.
The views and opinions expressed on The Infatuation’s site and other platforms are those of the authors and do not reflect the official policy or position of (or endorsement by) JPMorgan Chase. The Infatuation and its affiliates assume no responsibility or liability for the content of this site, or any errors or omissions. The Information contained in this site is provided on an "as is" basis with no guarantees of completeness, accuracy, usefulness or timeliness.

FIND PLACES ON OUR APP

Get it on Google PlayDownload on the App Store