the fancy middle eastern feast sequel to bestia

Trendy, must-have-a-reservation, popular among the well-dressed, top of many mainstream food lists DTLA establishments are usually not my vibe. Usually they are easy to brush off as overrated, good but not worth the waits and reservation alerts. Fortunately or perhaps unfortunately for us all, Bavel is worth the hype. Since opening in 2018 from the same brains behind the beloved Bestia a bit further south, Bavel has consistently drawn crowds and quickly become an LA institution in its own right.

To be honest, the biggest green flag is the location. Occupying a vaguely triangular block of Arts District just past all the art warehouses and far enough from East 3rd street cluster and the 7th street/south of 7th Santa Fe strip that you don’t really get foot traffic. Bavel knows that it is worthy of being a destination in itself. And on any given night you’ll see Ubers dropping people off, and (for the true locals) cars lining the streets of the otherwise quiet blocks (though now there are more businesses and offices popping into the previously sleepy industrial buildings). Inside, you’re transported to a dinner party environment. High energy, warmly lit, with the occasional flare from the fire of the open kitchen. Large and small plates filling tables til there’s no more surface area and a continuous stream of puffy pita coming out of the kitchen. No where I’d rather be on any given night.

the details

Address500 Mateo St, Los Angeles
Hours5-11pm every day
Price$$$ – small plates are $10-20, entrees are $40-50 (well, the wagyu is $160 lol)
Aesthetica trendy-but-casual, slightly more contemporary interpretation of california rustic 

good to know

Go here for: a hearty dinner, preferably with a group so you can order lots to share

Order this: you can’t go wrong with anything on the menu but do yourself a favor and order extra fried pita, and definitely the lamb neck shawarma (and this is coming from someone who typically doesn’t eat lamb)

Amount of time to spend: at least an hour or two, it’s the kind of meal where you stuff yourself and then continue to graze

When to come: when you have a reservation (or perhaps right when they open at 5 or late at like 9:30 on a weekday if you want to try your luck)

Parking: it’s usually not too bad, circle around the block and try Palmetto or Willow if there’s nothing on Mateo

Other things to note: They take reservations via OpenTable. Definitely make a reservation, though you may be able to sneak a walk in at the bar.

Last visited: October 2021

Last updated: December 2021

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