Phoebe Lovatt (@phoebelovatt) is a born-and-raised Londoner now living in Los Angeles. She writes about food, style, and music for publications including Dazed & Confused, GQ, and Elle, and documents her travel obsession on her own site, anywhere-anywhere.com.
If there is a restaurant that encapsulates what eating out in L.A. is all about right now, Ludo Lefebvre’s Trois Mec is it. Serving haute cuisine from a rundown Hollywood strip mall, the famed chef’s new joint would seem incongruous—or totally contrived—pretty much anywhere else, but Los Angeles residents have long been willing to forgo glitzy locations in the pursuit of great food (and better yet, easy parking). Since opening earlier this year, Trois Mec has become, quite literally, the hottest ticket in town, with advance-purchase seats selling out within minutes of their online release.
It has been 17 years since Lefebvre left his native France to work in the old-school dining institutions of West Hollywood, and ended up experiencing a New World culinary awakening in the process. “Before I came to L.A. I’d never had sushi, never tried soy sauce, never eaten wasabi, or Korean food, or a jalapeño,” he says in his still-thick accent. “It was amazing to be here and try all these flavors I’d never had before; to discover new inspiration and new ingredients. That’s really what being a chef is all about.”
Since then, the ebullient Frenchman has made his name combining the traditional haute cuisine of his homeland and the classic American dishes he adores—first at long-running popup venture LudoBites (which spawned the reality TV show of the same name), and now from the sleek open kitchen at Trois Mec. There, his signature Franco-American fusion style is amped up with Korean, Thai, and Mexican influences that cater to the city’s increasingly sophisticated palate. “Sixteen years ago when I first arrived, there were no foodies in L.A. It was all very old-school; people just ate pasta and steak” he says. “But now diners are more adventurous. L.A. is finally recognized for being one of the best cities for food in America.”
Read on to discover Ludo Lefebvre’s L.A. essentials, from a bomb Greek deli on the westside, to a bakery that sells “maybe the best croissant in America.”