Somewhere up there at the top of the “LA’s Most Picturesque Restaurants” you’ll find places like Republique, Gracias Madre, and most recently – Manuela. Oh Manuela. I’ve been hearing nothing but amazing things about this place and once I finally had the chance to go, I completely understood why. As mentioned, Manuela is easily one of the most beautiful restaurants in LA right now; it’s located right in the heart of the Arts District in the Hauser Wirth & Schimmel arts complex which is of course complete with art galleries, a garden, and most importantly – chickens. I damn near screamed (in delight) when I saw REAL LIVE ADORABLE HENS in Downtown LA, just sitting there hangin’ out in a garden. Very casual. This garden and those chickens however belong to Manuela who clearly have taken the quality of their ingredients to a whole other level. It’s not all that often that a restaurant has such close access to their very own garden in Los Angeles. (Real estate is quite hard to come by in case you didn’t know!)
Manuela really does seem to pride itself on fresh, seasonal, and high quality ingredients and that undoubtably shines through in each of their dishes and cocktails. Although the concept seems to be rooted in mostly Southern elements, they menu isn’t terribly overtly “Southern”. To me it’s like what would happen if Austin cuisine had a baby with LA-type cuisine. A little bit of “New Texas” concepts mixed with a little bit of “same ol’ delicious California” favorites. Or to put it in their (far better) words: “Manuela brings some Southern charm to the culinary landscape of Los Angeles’ Arts District. Partnering with Iwan and Manuela Wirth, Executive Chef Wes Whitsell channels his Texas upbringing and uses artisanal techniques of in-house smoking, fermenting, preserving and pickling with homegrown ingredients.”
I love that you walk into Manuela feeling totally transported, I love that you can come by for brunch, lunch, dinner, or drinks, and I love how absolutely perfect this place is all the way around. It was such a wonderful addition to the Arts District and seems to fit seamlessly within the neighborhood’s framework. Next time you’re Downtown feeling hungry or thirsty (or just really want to see some hens hanging out), remember Manuela!!
Must Drink | Stone Fruit Sour – Beefeater gin, nectarine, citrus sugar, egg white, lemon (and, not to mention IT’S BEAUTIFUL!)
Must Order | That pimento cheese tho…. oh my god. And their homemade tortilla chips? To die for. Definitely start there then work your way on to Hushpuppies, the Grilled Avocado (holy yum), and the Crisp Polenta. They seem to be very well known though for their Chilaquiles and the Deer Burger, so make sure those are on your radar too!
Perfect Spot For | brunch // lunch // dinner // drinks // a place to impress out-of-towners // date night // parents // a nice place to go in the Arts District // trying something “hot and new” // al fresco dining in the shade
MANUELA // 907 E 3rd St. Los Angeles, CA 90013
Wed – Fri, 11.30am – 3:30pm
Mon, Tues, Wed, Thurs & Sun, 5:30pm – 10pm
Fridays & Saturdays until 11pm
Sat – Sun, 10am – 4pm