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.

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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.

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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.

Food Rundown

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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.

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Shrimp Cocktail

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.

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Wedge Salad

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.

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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.

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Grilled Fish

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.

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