It's a weeknight in the middle of July and I’m looking for a dog-friendly dinner spot. As an L.A. native, enjoying a meal outdoors on a warm evening is an essential of summer, and it’s an experience I try to appreciate as often as possible.
My husband and I head to the Arts District, where and have recently opened to the public. Our dog excitedly paces from one window to the other in the back seat. We manage to find parking – lately, it’s been , and unfortunately we’re not equipped with pooch-accommodating bicycle gear yet – and weigh our options.
Though our dog’s technically our age in canine years, she’s not quite the late-twenties, bar-loving girl like some others we may know. Bow & Truss will have to wait another day, and we grab a spot at Café NoHo’s patio instead.
On the evening of our visit, the café has yet to hold its grand opening (the ceremony on Aug. 8), and so we’re just a couple out of a handful of patrons during the restaurant's soft opening.
The server, a young woman in her late teens, greets us with enough excitement that I can see our dog, wide-eyed and grinning at her, from underneath the table. We’re trying not to let our grumbling stomachs do the ordering, but after a quick glance at the menu, the NoHo sampler – a collection of chicken strips, onion rings, mozzarella sticks and jalapeno poppers atop French fries – seems like the rational choice. I order a house salad (my attempt at completing my daily food pyramid), while my husband gets the beef shawarma plate.
The restaurant features a mix of American and Mediterranean food: falafel wraps, hummus, Angus burger sliders, New York steaks and grilled cheese sandwiches are just a few options on the eatery's menu. Drinks include the usual fountain beverages, as well as Italian sodas, coffee and tea.
We can hear a bass line thumping from the dance music inside the restaurant. No longer the high-decibel tolerant twenty-something I once was years ago, I’m glad there’s an outdoor seating option.
After a short while, the appetizer platter arrives and our server raves about their “award-winning” marinara sauce. The salad is a refreshing Mediterranean-inspired plate to our heart-attack-inducing delicious dish, and the marinara lives up to its claims.
By the time we finish our dinner, we’re too stuffed to even consider the fried ice cream on the menu. Dessert will have to wait for another L.A. summer night.
is located at 11040 Magnolia Boulevard in the NoHo Arts District. Business hours are Monday through Thursday and Sunday from 11:30 a.m. to midnight, and Friday to Saturday from 11:30 a.m. to 2 a.m. The hookah lounge is open from 6 p.m. to closing.
I'll be your adventure guide through the bustling arts district, Toluca Lake and the rest of North Hollywood, surveying theater, film, books, music, politics, places and people for your daily culture intake.