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8.4
LA

Spartina

PHOTOS: Holly Liss

Does anyone really look forward to moving in LA?

Of course not. It’s stressful, painful, and an all-around money pit. Besides, now you have to figure out your new route to work, what sort of parking permits you need from City Hall, and whether or not that Trader Joe’s has the same layout as your old one. (It doesn’t).

But most importantly, where do people eat pasta and drink wine around there?

Generally speaking, the Fairfax section of Melrose is one of LA’s better strips. There’s great shopping, a solid bar scene, and the best people-watching in the city. And despite the recent closing of the OG Johnny Rocket’s (major RIP), there are some good restaurants too. But a remotely decent, neighborhood pasta spot? Not even a little bit. Until now.

Holly Liss

Hello, Spartina. Opened in the not-missed-by-anyone Melgard space, this restaurant provides an immediate upgrade to a corner best known for Santa bar crawls. And while the new space speaks for itself, it’s the vibe inside that changes everything. Spartina frankly should’ve been another modern, pretentious Italian restaurant you go to twice a year because someone boring has a birthday, but instead, it’s a spot we might be at once a week. Why? It never takes itself too seriously. You could come in for a quick bowl of pasta and a glass of wine by yourself after work or take over the expansive front patio with a group of friends, some beer, and bitch about life until they close. All things acceptable at Spartina.

And the food? Excellent. And as informal as the place itself. And with over 40+ items on the menu, it's fair to say it's more than just pasta. There’s a giant grilled avocado that’s split open and doused with ricotta or a scrambled egg and uni panini on white bread that’s the kind of lunchbox comfort food we could’ve used back in the day, if we were weird 4th graders who ate sea urchin. All the pizzas are solid, the cauliflower pasta is soul-healing, and that walnut pie is maybe the best thing on the menu.

It’s only fair to give restaurants a little time to figure themselves out. But make no mistake, Spartina has it already in the bag. A (still very drive-worthy) neighborhood pasta spot of the best variety - one who knows exactly how to keep things moving.

See ya next week.

Food Rundown

Grilled Avocado

This is basically the best bar appetizer on the planet. It's sort of healthy, sort of sloppy, and the only way to start a meal at Spartina.

Scrambled Egg and Sea Urchin Panini

This is a must-order. Egg and uni have long been known to be good in bed together and this might be one of our favorite versions in town right now.

Fried Tuscan Kale

Perhaps a little too oily the night we were there, but we would still order them again in a heartbeat. $10 might seem like a lot for kale, but you get a surprising amount of it.

Smoked Prosciutto Pizza

This isn't going to blow you away, but you aren't going to be mad you ordered it either. It's light too, so it won't have you scrambling for air before the next three plates hit the table.

Cauliflower and Walnut Pasta

Thank you, Spartina, for this.

Lamb Shoulder Chop

This is excellent. However, if you're going the big group route at Spartina, our move is to stick with the smaller plates that are easier to share and just as fantastic.

Walnut Pie

With over 40+ items on the menu, it's not difficult to get a overwhelmed at Spartina. So let us help you - YOU MUST ORDER THE WALNUT PIE.

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