No, you’re not in France- although this establishment is named after a prominent Parisian Métro station- you’re in the miracle mile district of Los Angeles! After République officially opened in 2015, TIME Magazine had a powerful (and correct) premonition, and named it one of the “Best New Restaurants in the World.” It hasn’t lost any traction since then because nowadays five years later the restaurant is still ranked as one of Eater LA’s consistently updated “38 Essential Los Angeles Restaurants.”
I’m here to describe my experience enjoying one of their cocktails on a Friday night in January with one of my girl friends, when the restaurant was so packed you wouldn’t know that it’s supposed to be “off-season” for tourism (if that’s even a real thing in Los Angeles?).
Immediately as you walk in, you feel as if you’ve been transported into a 17th century castle, surrounded by the royalty of the times (and with all of the celebs who frequent the place nowadays- you kinda ARE surrounded with modern royalty!). On your right side, there’s a case of the most extensive selection of homemade cheeses you’ve seen outside of a specialty cheese shop. On your left is the bar which appears to be designed out of someone’s fairytale fantasy with twinkling bottles of liquor adorning the walls, backlit by the bar’s soft lighting. In front of you is the formal dining space, set up in a style that you WOULD have seen in a castle during the time of Game of Thrones.
Run by husband-and-wife chefs Walter and Margarita Manzke- this space is truly historic. It was built back in 1928, by Charlie Chaplin, in the times of Old Hollywood, and designed by architect Roy Seldon Price. The building first became a restaurant in 1989 when Chefs Mark Peel & Nancy Silverton opened the groundbreaking “La Brea Bakery” (which has since moved down the street to the corner of 6th and LA Brea) and, six months, later “Campanile” in the space.
When Campanile closed in 2012, the building was updated once again to make way for République and stripped down to the original brick, tile and ironwork framing to return the space to its airy, open feel.
When I sat down at the bar to order a cocktail, I couldn’t choose- so per the bartender’s recommendation, I ordered the “Pear” which one of their “Fall” cocktails. This $16 cocktail comprised of a fabulous mixture of italian gin, pear eau de vie, lemon, pear cider– and pure classiness.
Other “Fall” cocktail options include the “Apple” bourbon, caperitif, sherry, lemon, “Banana” bourbon, amontillado, chai, coconut, lemon, and “Grapefruit,” reposado tequila, punt e mes, lime (I’m sensing a theme, here). Non-“season” themed drink choices include a generous selection of wines, beer, and traditional cocktails like a House Old Fashion.
With a provisions menu that leans heavily in the direction of indulgence, République is also known for its superb cafe and bakery offerings. The bakery is lead by James Beard award nominated chef Margarita Manzke. Legendary breakfast/lunch and pastries are served from 8am to 3pm weekdays and weekend brunch is from 8am-3pm on Saturdays and Sundays.
Needless to say, pastries are a must-eat when you’re at this restaurant- but act fast, because these extra-prized treats will sell out within a couple of hours of the bakery’s 8 a.m. opening, and even faster on the the weekends.
Standout breakfast menu items include the hearty “Brioche French Toast” with real Vermont maple syrup, “Cacio e Pepe Eggs on Toast” made with soft scrambled eggs, black pepper, parmesan, arugula- or the more conservatively portioned “Today’s Quiche,” made with kale, mushroom, caramelized onions, gruyère cheese, baby green salad.
In the evening, the setting is more intimate with dimmed lighting and a romantic feeling atmosphere. Standout dinner menu items include the iced oysters, or the Pork Belly made with imperial kaluga caviar, cauliflower, bacon dashi, and the Butternut Squash Agnolotti made with brown butter, balsamico tradizionale.
For dessert, the onsite Crèmerie Artisan Ice Cream window offers a handmade in-house selection of flavors with 12 choices that rotate daily.
République is decadent dining- it truly offers a little bit of everything… and you can’t go wrong with anything you choose- just make sure to savor every bite of the food and drink’s robust flavors!
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