Restaurateur Vijay Bist’s Amber brand has been gracing Northern Cali with his own particular exotic cuisine since 1994. His newest venture Amber Dhara is a two-level sleek and sexy 6,000-square-foot restaurant with lots of bright yellow and orange-colored walls.
Located on the Mission’s buzzing Valencia Street, with Luna Park as its neighbor, Dhara appeals to the eating and drinking crowd, as the ground floor lounge area is for cocktail drinking (grab the enlightening Chakratini), while the upstairs is for eating sophisticated, affordable Indian small plates.
1. Frittelli’s Doughnuts & Coffee (Beverly Hills) – Designer doughnuts in a variety of tastes, shapes, and sizes (think PB&J and butterscotch drizzle). Treats are made fresh daily, and for about a buck a piece, you can easily buy a few with your leftover laundry money. 2. Murano (West Hollywood) – Murano’s menu and dessert list recently underwent an authentic Italian overhaul, adding tiramisu and ricotta-style cheesecake. 3. Toast (Mid-City West) – The red velvet cake will change your life — and so might a chance run-in with one of the many Hollywood heavyweights who brunch here.
4. The Waffle (Hollywood) – Open way past bar close (4:30 a.m. on weekends), you can sober up with a baked hot chocolate or a sticky bun waffle before bed. 5. Luna Park (Mid-City West) – End a trendy meal with a do-it-yourself dessert. The s’mores come complete with a tiny flame brought to your table for perfectly toasted marshmallows — just watch your hair. 6. Osteria Mozza (Hollywood) – A fancy-shmancy splurge, rosemary olive oil cakes top the dessert list. 7. Lark Cake Shop (Silver Lake) – The ample array of cupcakes at this modern bakery includes chocolate-, caramel-, and mocha-tastic flavors. 8. Scoops Ice Cream (Koreatown) – The ever-evolving menu includes unique pairings like salty chocolate and Corona and lime, along with the usual suspects — strawberry cheesecake, brown bread, and several fruity flavors. 9. Axe (Venice) – The huge portions of homemade bread and chocolate-brownie puddings are well worth the $5 price tag. 10. Gyenari Korean BBQ & Lounge (Culver City) – This upscale Korean eatery focuses on light seasonal treats like the homemade shaved-ice trifle topped with fresh fruit and mango ice cream. Almost sounds healthy.
1. Violet (Santa Monica) – $7 apps, $7 plates, ends at 7 p.m. 2. Blowfish Sushi (West Hollywood) – $5 design your own roll, $5 sake cocktails. 3. Luna Park (Mid-City West) – Snack menu is $4.50, cocktails are $5.
4. Ciudad (Downtown) – $2, $4, and $4. Baby bites, big bites, cocktails. 5. Tangier (Los Feliz) – $5 small plates, $3 beer and wine.