Pine & Crane is one of the original players in a growing Taiwanese food scene in LA proper (aka, not in SGV). Located at the crux of Sunset Blvd and Griffith Park Blvd in the heart of Silver Lake, the minimalist restaurant quickly became a favorite in the neighborhood as the hippest of hipsters line up out the door weekend after weekend since 2014.
Started by first-generation Taiwanese American Vivian Ku, the restaurant specializes in small bites and noodle dishes, with fresh ingredients from the family farm in Bakersfield and carrying the tradition from her grandparent’s noodle business. From the classic beef noodle soup to the fan-favorite pan fried pork buns (aka sheng jian bao), the menu is small and food is simple, homey, focused on the classic simple comforts. They call themselves fast casual, and sure, you order at the counter before sitting down, but it feels way more special in an effortless way. It’s a trendy crowd but a comfortable space, modern but cozy. You might be sharing a table, and there might be a small crowd gathering by the counter waiting to be seated, but the service is efficient and atmosphere is warm, so you won’t mind.
When it comes to drinks, there’s everything from curated quality Taiwanese loose leaf teas to nostalgic Taiwanese sodas to the classic Taiwan Beer, as well as a selection of sake and also boba tea so everyone is well-covered.
Go here for: trendier Taiwanese food that fulfills cravings without heading out to the burbs
Order this: pan fried pork buns, beef roll, dan dan noodles, a selection of their xiaocai (particularly the lotus, seaweed salad and woodear mushroom)
Amount of time to spend: about an hour – there might be a wait, but their service is pretty fast, and it’s not the kind of place to linger after eating
When to come: weekdays are generally pretty good, expect an ever-present line during lunch and dinner times Friday through Sunday
Parking: is not great in these parts – you’ll probably be best off trying to find street parking on Griffith Park or Edgecliffe
Other things to note:
Last visited: December 2020
Last updated: January 2021