photo credit: Sam Frost

Lemon Grove image

Lemon Grove



$$$$Perfect For:Date NightDrinking Good CocktailsImpressing Out of Towners
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Lemon Grove is a rare find: a Hollywood rooftop you actually want to spend extended amounts of time at. Located on the top floor of The Aster, this breezy restaurant has postcard views of the Capitol Records building and good cocktails, but the food holds its own, too. 

Lemon Grove image

photo credit: Sam Frost

If you're grabbing dinner before a show at Pantages or just need a quiet spot in Hollywood (yes, those do exist), then Lemon Grove is a solid option––if you can find it. It's not a speakeasy, per se, but getting to this rooftop isn't intuitive either. Once you spot The Aster's tucked-away entrance off Vine and have the front desk buzz you up to the sixth floor, you'll arrive at a peaceful sanctuary that looks like a stylish Palm Springs Airbnb. The restaurant is a sleek mid-century modern space with lots of gold details, but the real draw is still Lemon Grove's outdoor patio. There are plenty of heaters, plush patio furniture, and enough decorative cacti to make the space look like a Coachella PR event.

Lemon Grove image

photo credit: Patrick Chin

The menu doesn't really fit into a specific cuisine, but it can generally be described as "very pretty." There's tangy tom kha lemon pasta covered in a bright yellow foam (that isn't as unappealing as it sounds), a fluorescent pink dragon fruit panna cotta, and a creamy hamachi tartare served in a glass tray shaped like a fish tin. If you want to impress someone with a night out in Hollywood, you could do a lot worse than Lemon Grove—the menu scores high on presentation and, for the most part, tastes as good as it looks.

Food Rundown

Hamachi Tartare

This fish tartare leaves the same impression as a pretentious movie trailer: you're intrigued, dissatisfied, and a little confused all at once. The hamachi itself doesn't really taste like much, but it's coated in a subtly sweet sauce with the occasional bite from the pickled asian pear and chilis. These little pops of acid and heat make up for the bland fish, but not enough to make this anything special.
Lemon Grove image

photo credit: Patrick Chin

Grilled Prawns

These grilled prawns are exactly what we want when we're vacationing on a beach, and the only question is what drink to pair them with. They're smoky and lightly charred, with a spritz of lemon that brightens them up, and a spicy sesame aioli for dipping.
Lemon Grove image

photo credit: Patrick Chin

The Aster Meatballs

These cheese-capped meatballs with oily bruschetta are delicious but go down heavy. They're juicy and well-seasoned, but the arrabbiata sauce isn't spicy, and the parmesan gremolata coats your mouth with too much greasy goodness.

Salumi Flatbread

This flatbread feels strangely out of place. Everything else at Lemon Grove has a pop of color, a burst of flavor, or, at the very least, a gorgeous presentation. But this starter feels, looks, and tastes like a frozen pepperoni pizza, all for $21. You can skip.

Parmesan Polenta

This is another skip. This polenta was so intensely cheesy that it felt like taking down spoonfuls of Velveeta. Overall, way too rich to get past the first bite or two.
Lemon Grove image

photo credit: Patrick Chin

Lemon Pasta

This is Lemon Grove's signature dish and arguably the best thing here. The chitarra pasta is al dente and coated in a fragrant tom kha sauce that's tangy and sweet, with bright bursts of lemongrass coming through. The yellow microfoam on top is a tad overkill, but we appreciate the stylistic touches.

Ancho Short Rib

This hunk of braised beef pulls apart nicely, but it's slightly oversalted and comes on that parmesan polenta that's already way too much.

Half Chicken

Here are some overused compliments that describe this chicken: juicy, delicious, tender, etc. But what makes this an interesting piece of poultry is the silky mushroom sauce on top and the side of mashed potatoes dusted with ground espresso. If you're confused by that combo, so were we—but it actually works and ends up tasting strikingly similar to nutmeg.
Lemon Grove image

photo credit: Patrick Chin

Dragon Fruit Panna Cotta

This dessert scores an A+ on color and texture but a C- on taste. It's beautiful bright pink and has the kind of jiggle you want in a panna cotta, but it tastes more like a strawberry that's not quite ripe than it does dragon fruit.

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