When you’re making the guest list for a party, whose name do you think of first? Certainly you invite your best friend, and the friend you grew up with, and the friend who unloads deep secrets onto you after a few glasses of wine and muscle relaxers. But after the obvious ones, the next person you think about is the all-purpose friend. They’re the one who, no matter whether you’re planning a big get together or a small little soiree, always rounds out the group. The friend who, while not being a party animal, has that special ability to make everybody else more comfortable.
Rosaline isn’t the best restaurant in Los Angeles. But given its central location, very good Peruvian food, beautiful space, and solid cocktails, it’s a spot you’ll find yourself leaning on for just about everything.
Located right at Melrose and La Cienega, the first thing you notice walking into this place is how large and open it all is. There’s a front bar full of people boozing after work, a raw bar full of noncommittal first dates, and a bunch of scattered tables with friends who just walked-in and sat at the first table they could find. Walk towards the back and you’ll find a glass-ceilinged, plant-filled space that feels more like a Peruvian greenhouse than a dining room. Here you’ll find every type of industry meeting, birthday dinner, and girls night out that happens in West Hollywood. But because everyone’s having a good time, it’s all far less intimidating than it sounds.
Rosaline is modern Peruvian food, which means traditional staples like ceviche and paella and arroz con pollo, but with vegetables we can get because we live in Southern California. The menu itself is broken up into several different sections and, at first glance, can be a bit overwhelming. So, here’s how you order. From the ceviche section, get the crocante. It’s a good-sized portion of halibut and crispy calamari marinated in yuzu kosho (a Japanese spice) with a solid kick and easily the most interesting of the ceviches. From the “soil” section, go all in on the solarito - the lima bean salad with avocados and feta that’ll be gone with one lap around the table. And no matter if you’re with one person or ten, the “family-style” paella is a must. Sure, this giant dish of fried rice and sausage and shrimp isn’t light, but it’s also delicious and there’s a reason they invented to-go boxes.
That said, not everything on Rosaline’s menu is going to blow your mind. And the whole place can certainly get a bit sceney at times. But it gets enough parts right to be the reliable, fun, and upscale-ish West Hollywood option you’ll find yourself at a lot with all sorts of people. Even your muscle relaxer friend.
At first glance, this raw halibut and fried calamari ceviche appears to have too much going on. But that’s not the case. The two different seafoods work perfectly together and the yuzu mosho spice gives it a much needed kick. This is the ceviche you want.
$18 might seem a bit aggressive for a salad, but this is a good size and declicious. Lima beans, avocado, pickled onions, feta, olives, and corn. There’s a lot going on, but we like it.
The eggplant puree is pretty good, but the turmeric flatbread is underwhelming. There are better appetizers to focus on.
These crispy potatoes will actually be one of the better things you try all night. However, four little bites for $11 is a bit ridiculous and certainly not ideal for large groups.
You would expect a Peruvian place to nail the paella and Rosaline does. This massive bowl of fried rice, pancetta, sausage, and prawns is rich, hearty, and an absolute must-order.
If you’re in the mood for a steak, this filet mignon will certainly get the job done. That said, we’d focus more of the seafood at Rosaline.
We fully expect the paella to slip you into a low-key coma, but shake yourself out of it for a few minutes and get this spongy Peruvian cake. The guava frozen yogurt on the side is excellent.