I’m a big fan of Chef Jose Andrés (check out my Travel Influences interview) and his restaurants. Living in DC, we have access to many of his restaurants. One of the things I admire of his brand is that although his restaurants have his signature, every experience is completely different. During my recent trip to LA, my friend K and I headed to The Bazaar by Jose Andrés, located at the SLS Hotel in Beverly Hills. I will preface by saying that this was my favorite culinary experience of 2016 and I say this with strong runner ups in Japan and The Netherlands. All about my experience:
Travel Eats: The Bazaar by Jose Andrés
The Scene: The restaurant is located at the SLS Hotel in Beverly Hills. It was my first time in Beverly Hills so I was a bit apprehensive as I am not a fan of snobbery. However, upon entering we were greeted with a big smile and made to feel at home. The full The Bazaar by Jose Andrés experience begins at the terrace area with its quirky decor and inventive cocktail program. I was 8 months pregnant at the time so I enjoyed a beautiful mocktail as we enjoyed our cocktail hour before dinner. K enjoyed a few glasses of vermouth as I jealously watched… After cocktails, we moved to the dining room with its eclectic decor and open kitchen.
The Food: For those familiar with Jose Andrés restaurants, you know you’re going to encounter an inventive menu. The Bazaar by Jose Andres is no exception. The menu is tapas based and the hard part was choosing what we wanted as everything sounded delicious. We chose a selection of tapas to share from a cheese board to stuffed piquillo peppers to Jose’s signature croquettes. One of the items we both fell in love with was the jicama wrapped guacamole. The dish has thinly sliced jicama stuffed with guacamole: you get the tartness of the jicama at first followed by the richness of the guacamole. Another item that we enjoyed was the coffee rubbed american wagyu, served with a passion fruit sauce. Coffee, beef, and passion fruit may seem like an odd pairing, but the flavors came together beautifully. Dining Traveler Tip: ask for a table close to the kitchen and watch Chef Holly Jivin and her team make edible magic.
The highlights of our dining experience was dessert. After dinner, we were asked if we wanted to take dessert at the dessert room, which is adjacent to the main dining room. The theme goes from dark and sultry to light and playful with its light and whimsical decor. The dessert selections range from decadent macaroons to rich cakes. K and I settled for a citrus pasty and a carrot cake cupcake. We wish we could’ve indulged some more, but we were so full from dinner!
The Verdict: The Bazaar by Jose Andres is a feast for the senses. The design of the restaurant, the menu, and the friendliness of the staff makes the experience perfect for a special occasion. From cocktails at the terrace to the dessert experience, every detail is perfectly crafted. The experience is so memorable that my friend K who lives an hour from LA returned after a few weeks with her boyfriend to relive the experience.