Felix and Native
If you have ever spent any time in Los Angeles, you know that the sprawl of the city is intense and getting from the westside to the eastside can be a nightmare. So, if you reside on the west side then chances are slim to none that you will go to the eastside for a meal or anything for that matter. For us, it is the weekends when we venture east as we hang on the west side. East is really where more interesting food is being made. Similar to NYC, if you live in the west village like we do, then the chances of going to Greenpoint for dinner during the week are not as high as going on a Saturday night.
Although in NYC, the number of good choices is a lot larger than the west side of LA yet that is changing. Night Market opened up in Venice and it is so insanely crowded in there every night that you would think they are giving away the food for free. It just points to the opportunity for more good restaurants on the west side. We went to Felix and Native this week. Felix is so crowded that you need to make a resy at least a month in advance and that is a new thing for LA. Native is not crazy but it is also in Santa Monica where there are more choices but many of the choices have decent food but the vibe doesn’t compare.
Felix is a winner. The chef, Evan Funke, has done a few things beforehand but what was memorable is he was the chef at Rustic Canyon that is one of the best places on the west side so nice to see him branch out to his own place. The menu consists of salads, pizzas, plates of pasta and a few mains. You can choose to share or not, we shared. It is simple Italian dishes with well-sourced ingredients. Here are a few highlights. Squash blossoms stuffed with milk ricotta.
Pizza with mozzarella, prosciutto, arugula, and parm. The bread here is light, airy, and just delicious. I might just order a pizza to go in the week ahead. The dough is that good.
Spicy rigatoni with guanciale, fresh tomatoes, and pecorino. We had a few kinds of pasta but this was the highlight. We also had a salad with shaved fennel that was really well done. The pork meatballs weren’t great. They were deep fried and not sure why that was necessary.
Native, located in Santa Monica, has a solid menu using local ingredients from the farmers market and sourced farms throughout the region. Nyesha Arrington is the chef, she is a local native, hence the name. Some of the dishes are layered while others are super simple. The fish could not have been more simple and was perfectly cooked.
The vegetables are a mixture of flavors from melting leeks to romanesco with tahini to crushed rutabaga with creme fraiche.
Desserts are also unique. Kabocha cake with a pepita toffee was light, flavorful and unique.
Both of these spots are winners and places I can go back to again and again….if I can get in.