Botanica is one of those neighborhood restaurants that locals can’t live without but outsiders might not know about. After surviving the pandemic thanks to an expanded patio, the airy Silver Lake favorite with the chic farmhouse feel is introducing new chefs and a revamped menu to usher in 2023. Alex Barkley, formerly of Birdie G’s and Seattle’s The Walrus and the Carpenter, and Joanne Bae, a veteran of Here’s Looking at You, are creating dishes that are produce-forward, with vibrant flavors that lean on flavored oils, fermented vegetables and spices sourced from a Moroccan farm.
Owners Emily Fiffer and Heather Sperling conceived Botanica, which they opened in 2017, as a place with healthy, tasty food where diners could become regulars. The menu is “planned for the way people in the area like to eat,” says Bae.
Among the new dinner offerings, lamb ribs make an impression: They’re brined, then crusted with coriander and braised until super tender; dandelion greens with celery-honey vinegar are served alongside. Barkley says the roasted half-chicken is dry-brined; brushed with fermented honey, garlic butter and lots of gray salt; and cooked on a slice of sourdough, with sultana raisins on top. Garnishing the dish are Jimmy Nardello peppers in romesco sauce.
All the salads, like the Little Gem with pistachios and a creamy tarragon vinaigrette, are rainbow-hued odes to California produce, and the wine and cocktail list complements the bright flavors of the compact but compelling menu.
Barkley promises the new brunch menu is “as simple and clean as possible and lets our produce shine through.” Breakfast and brunch is available on Wednesday through Sunday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Brunch items include heirloom beans and braised greens, California trout gravlax with cucumber yogurt on a Gjusta English muffin, gluten-free blueberry scones, beet bloody mary and the popular deviled egg tartine.
After a meal, don’t forget to pick up pantry items at the marketplace up front, from baked goods to house-made pickled vegetables, marinated olives, spiced honey, olive oil and spices.
1620 Silver Lake Blvd., Los Angeles