L&E Oyster Bar
You’ll find L&E on a particularly charming stretch in Silver Lake, on a crowded block that looks ripped from a Thomas Kinkade painting. The low-key seafood bistro is a neighborhood hang in every sense of the word: a reliable place to chill, a cafe right on the sidewalk, perfect for slurping oysters and sipping champagne. It’s a restaurant for Silver Lake people, where you’ll see couples on dates, groups of friends gossiping over oyster towers, and mysterious solo diners reading something Sally Rooney.
Photos by Andrea D'Agosto
Since it’s in a part of LA that feels like its own tiny town and not the probiotic social club you’ll find everywhere else in the neighborhood, eating at L&E is like escaping the city. Its location a few blocks down from the reservoir seems off the beaten path (even though it’s not) and is the kind of relaxing and low-key romantic setting you always imagine in your head, but rarely ever find.
The namesake oysters here are excellent–creamy and briny in a way that makes you think they were hand-delivered from the ocean that morning. Make sure to order a shrimp cocktail, a large and meaty dish where crustaceans come rolled in Old Bay seasoning and last for four or five bites. We love L&E best for simple, well-executed dishes: burgers weigh close to half a pound and come dripping in caramelized onions; the wedge salad is properly smothered in bacon and blue cheese dressing. And although we prefer to order a bunch of small plates to share with the table, L&E also offers a few heftier seafood dishes–like a grilled whole branzino over citrusy rice pilaf, and the “bouillabasic,” a rather robust stew filled with black cod, clams, and tomato saffron broth that’s big enough for two.
Nothing here will leave you speechless, or make you rethink everything you thought you knew about seafood, but that’s not the point of L&E Oyster. Plain and simple, it’s a wonderful neighborhood spot—a place for people who live in Silver Lake that’s not the Trader Joe’s or that scary, desolate dog park at the reservoir. It’s a spot where lines are never too long and the oysters are always fresh. Although, whether someone actually hand-carried them from the ocean is a completely separate discussion.
The oysters here are a little pricey (usually around $3), but are some of the best in the city, sourced from farms in Wellfleet, Hood Island, and beyond.
Are these shrimp a memoir by Kiese Laymon? Because this dish is heavy. Each weighs as much as an AirPod case and comes coated in a very herby Old Bay rub. It’s the perfect accompaniment to any meal here, whether that’s just an appetizer round or a full-on feast.
If aliens came down to Earth and demanded to be served the best version of every dish ever created, we’d present them with this wedge salad. A hunk of iceberg lettuce cracked in half and covered in bacon bits and a tangy blue cheese dressing. It’s perfect.
Again, just simply well-done. We probably wouldn’t submit this to the aliens, but it’s still a bangin’ burger. Toasted bun, thick bacon slices, cheddar cheese, and a side of fries, plus a dill pickle spear? We have no notes.
Probably our favorite entrée here. The rice pilaf it’s served over is citrusy and highly fragrant while the whole branzino is soft and tender. Ideal for splitting with a date or saving the leftovers for tomorrow’s lunch.