Farmers market vegetables. Sunny patios. Floral prints. Yoga pants. These stereotypes of LA come to life at Le Great Outdoor. And yet, this entirely outdoor spot in Bergamot Station's parking lot offers something more than West Coast clichés: a combination of produce just plucked from the ground, good wine, and a casual setting where the kitchen is just a couple of grills and the dining room has nothing but picnic tables. Try and think of another LA restaurant with all that. You can’t.
An inaugural visit to LGO may be disorienting. During the day, art gallery goers come to this industrial zone off the 1-10 to charge their Teslas and take pottery classes. At night, the space is reserved for the restaurant (making parking so easy it feels illegal). Friends drink nebbiolo and talk about flying to Amsterdam on Delta points, dogs and babies run free, and families pass around giant platters of goat cheese-topped tartines and blistered lamb chops. When you book a table at Le Great Outdoor, you’re basically signing up for a backyard barbecue—only this one has people who know what they’re doing at the grill.
A meal is less about the flavors of a single great dish than it is the cumulative effect of olive oil slick produce charred mere feet from your table. Imagine the types of summery food Alice Waters might make at her home—bok choy with sumac, whole branzino that was probably caught before you went to work this morning—all delivered to your table on shared trays. Flavors blend harmoniously. Stalks of roasted broccolini in miso vinaigrette brush up against lemony asparagus garnished with edible flowers. Ears of elote sop up chimichurri from neighboring burnt peppers. Whatever the combination is on your plate, it’s gonna be good. After a while, you'll stop looking at your fork before taking a bite.
There may even come a point towards the end of dinner when you forget you’re still at a restaurant and not a friend’s garden party. You know that winding-down moment when everyone’s back to drinking wine and talking about how they feel like they’re on vacation. If that’s the LA restaurant stereotype, so be it. We’ll be at Le Great Outdoor every chance we can get. Or whenever the sun’s out. Which, stereotypically speaking, is quite a bit.
Albacore Stuffed Peppers
If only every meal at a restaurant could start with these sweet, and oily peppers filled with tuna. Considering eight come to a plate, this starter snack is easily divisible amongst your hungry table.
Save for a side of white rice, these little toasts are Le Great Outdoor’s only carbs and thus a great appetizer to get on the table before the meats and veggies arrive. There are three varieties—hummus, anchovy, and goat cheese—and while all three are good, the sweet honey-drizzled goat cheese is the runaway winner.
We’re grouping the vegetables together because, at Le Great Outdoor, they’re essentially a unified dish. Whether you order the soft garlicky mushrooms, blistered potato wedges, or scored za’tar-covered zucchini, everything arrives together on a tray. Also, each one is only about $7-8, meaning you can order a few of them and it’ll be about the same price as one veggie dish at other restaurants.
The chicken and shrimp skewers won’t be what everyone is talking about on the drive home, but if you’re with more than four people, definitely order them. They’re easy to pass around the table and the savory peanut sauce on the chicken is a nice flavor break from the smoky vegetables.
The thing we love about Le Great Outdoor’s lamb chops is how simple they are. Perfectly charred with rosemary and garlic, this dish will be the one everyone’s talking about on the way home.
No two ways around it, this baby is a stunner. Looks: 10. The flaky, juicy, meaty interior: 11.