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500 Mateo St. (E. Fourth St.) Send to Phone
A chic Middle Eastern restaurant from Bestia's Ori Menashe and Genevieve Gergis is another hot DTLA spot in the Arts District.

Dinner Tues.-Sun.

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Bavel, Los Angeles, CA

Bavel Restaurant Review

About the chefs: Ori Menashe and wife Genevieve Gergis were both born in Los Angeles, though Menashe moved to Israel with his family as a child. In 2001 he returned to LA and worked in the kitchens at La Terza, Pizzeria Mozza and Angelini Osteria. In 2012 the couple opened Bestia, which has remained one of LA’s most acclaimed and popular restaurants to date. Their nearby DTLA follow-up, Bavel, explores cuisines of their combined family roots spanning Israel, Morocco, Turkey and Egypt.

The décor: In this airy former warehouse in the Arts District, a chic, modern industrial Middle Eastern aesthetic defines Bavel’s various spaces. There’s whitewashed old brick, a long pale marble bar accented with gold, and beautiful natural light that flows in from vintage factory windows casting soft tones on wood, tile and brass accents. The eye-catching centerpiece is a huge waterfall of trailing vines that hangs from the center skylight over the dining room like a ruly jungle forest, theatrically lit at night. The charming covered patio is lively, but a little quieter. A casually hip, mixed crowd keeps reservations scarce, but you can walk in at the bar.

Likes: Convivial, lively yet relaxed atmosphere; standout cocktails; ethereal hummus.
Dislikes: The pretty vines unfortunately aren’t noise baffles — it gets pretty loud at peak hours.

Food & Drinks: Great Middle Eastern food abounds across greater Los Angeles, but Menashe’s elevated technique, creative depth, and personal stamp on the cooking shapes the experience here. It’s all mostly designed for sharing, too. His fluffy pita, made to order in a wood-fired oven, is worth savoring alone, but it’s hard to resist the hummus; made after hundreds of test versions it’s silky and topped with either a fresh red and green chili paste or an irresistible, rich duck nduja. Burnt sumac honey offsets a fine chicken liver pâté, and fried quail balances a sweeter cardamom date sauce with smoked yogurt and pickled celery. Lamb flatbread is pleasant to share, though you may want to hoard the tender harissa-bathed prawns for yourself. Larger plates — a savory slow roasted lamb neck shawarma or a tangy beef cheek tagine with couscous — are generous. Don’t miss Gergis’ pretty rose clove chocolate ganache donuts with sherry ice cream. The bar knows how to make a good cocktail; some are classic, others creative, like our pick the Nebuchadnezzar, made with lamb fat washed bourbon, blue plum brandy, smoked ice and grapefruit. The wine list changes daily, but focuses on interesting finds worth exploring from the Mediterranean coasts.

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