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257 S. Spring St. (Third St.) Send to Phone
An elegant culinary trip to the cuisine of Southern France at this downtown L.A. restaurant by chef Tony Esnault.

Spring atrium open Tues.-Fri. 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m., Sat. 5 p.m.-10 p.m., Sun. 11 a.m.-2 p.m.; Springside open Tues.-Fri. 6 p.m.-9:30 p.m.

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THIS RESTAURANT IS CLOSED Spring Restaurant Review

About chef Tony Esnault: More than two years in the making, Spring is a very dear project for restaurateur Yassmin Sarmadi and chef Tony Esnault. They both have a culinary history in the City of Angels. Sarmadi is the founder and owner of the very successful restaurant Church & State. Esnault, who is an Alain Ducasse alum, arrived here in 2009 to take over the kitchen of Patina at the Walt Disney Concert Hall. (He kept Patina on GAYOT’s Top 40 Restaurants in the U.S. during his tenure there.) They are now husband and wife, so it’s logical that they would open a restaurant together, honoring Esnault’s fine-dining cooking skills. Haute gastronomy is not as much appreciated in Los Angeles as some other cities, so Esnault has come up with a sophisticated yet casual menu that’s approachable to your wallet and your palate. The cuisine draws inspiration from Southern France, where olive oil plays a greater role than butter.

The décor: The restaurant is located in the courtyard of downtown’s historic Douglas Building, which has been covered by a glass dome. It lets in great natural light, which should be appreciated by local office business men and women escaping their windowless offices for lunch. The décor is very soothing, with a beautiful, wide-open kitchen, off-white cement floor partitioned with brass, two pepper trees, a fountain, and a bar. Take a moment to admire Esnault’s old kitchen utensils --- a collection that he has been assembling more than 20 years. The atrium at Spring offers lunch Tuesday through Friday, as well as Saturday dinner and Sunday brunch. (The adjacent Springside dining room has taken over dinner service Tuesday through Friday.)

Likes: elegant food and décor.
Dislikes: the tables are too small.

Food & Drinks: Now, it's time to sit at one of the small grey tables, enhanced by green chairs, or at the kitchen counter, and order. At lunch, we recommend the classic salade Niçoise or the contemporary poisson mariné, which is a seasonal market crudo (on our visit, it was hamachi). You cannot bypass the risotto; the saffron variation was one of the best versions that we’ve had. Continue with main courses like ocean trout with Swiss chard, tomato, olive, capers and vinaigrette légère; chicken breast with onion, bell peppers, tomato and zucchini; or flat-iron steak with carrots, green beans and pee wee potatoes. Even though Esnault is French, some of the cheeses on the menu are from America, Spain and Switzerland. Chocolate lovers will order the dessert with bittersweet chocolate ganache, praline, chocolate crumble and lemon-honey sorbet. As to be expected, the wine list showcases French offerings. Craft cocktails and several beers are also available.

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