Madera Kitchen

Perfect For: Girls' Night Out
PHOTOS: Jakob Layman

You’ve only watched the teaser for that new stoner-buddy-action-horror-comedy, but you already know you’re going to love it. It stars all the celebrities who are both hot and funny, and your friends are already quoting the trailer. So you head to the theater on opening night, ready to write a Twitter thread on how this film is redefining the future of action-horror-comedies. But pretty early on, you realize all the good parts were in the trailer. By the middle, you’re bored. Idris Elba only takes his shirt off once. And what you knew had the potential to be a truly great film is actually just okay.

That’s the issue with Madera Kitchen: it’s a perfectly fine restaurant that should be a great one. This Hollywood spot has the makings of a neighborhood go-to, but the food itself is disappointing.

You walk into Madera through the patio, which basically won cute-restaurant Bingo. There are little fire pits dotted around, couches, exposed wood, plants, fairy lights, and a mysterious, beautiful couple playing lute covers of Top 40 songs in the corner. The last one isn’t true. But in the center of Hollywood, it’s hard to find a place that looks this good, and yet somehow doesn’t have crowds of people hoping to see a Kardashian.

Jakob Layman

The pretty standard American menu also looks promising, with plenty of options for vegetarians/gluten-free friends/Mitch who is always doing a 30-day diet. As we were informed by very friendly servers, the chef uses only seasonal, local ingredients. The cocktails taste good, and most things on the menu are under $20. If you were only here to enjoy the patio, drink a cocktail, and peruse the menu for your reading pleasure, it would be ideal.

But the problem is that a lot of the dishes, particularly the mains, are disappointing. When you taste the over-salted fish, bite into the too-soft pasta, or notice that the bread looks like the same Safeway stuff in your kitchen, your dreams of using this place as a situational catch-all disappear.

What Madera is good for is drinks and some small plates before seeing a show or hitting the bars. But it’s not going to be our new neighborhood favorite. Even if that lute-playing couple were to appear.

Food Rundown

Orbit Carrots

For roasted vegetables, these are great. Mostly because of the presence of cheese. This is one of the better things on the menu, and usually the first thing to come out. It’s downhill from here.

Jakob Layman

Aside from the offensively chalky white bread that comes with it, this is good. The burrata is creamy and we wouldn’t say no to more of those olives.

Jakob Layman

Not the best meatballs you can get in LA, but they’re decent, and the sauce that comes with them is rich and flavorful.

Jakob Layman
Market Fish

Much like our last Tinder date, this looks good, but ends up being dry and very salty.

Vegan Pasta

We were told that this was one of our server’s favorite pastas. We now have the suspicion our server has never eaten pasta before. This was overcooked and pretty much flavorless.

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