Even if you can’t make it to Spain, France or the rolling hills of Tuscany this summer, there are plenty of escapes for a girl’s night out in L.A. to make you feel like you’re on vacation. Whether it’s sharing plates or your deepest secrets, Coucou, The Girl & The Goat and Flor y Solera are all a girl’s best friend for a night out.
The lively new Spanish tapas bar in the Los Angeles Arts District, Flor y Solera is the newest restaurant from Factory Place Hospitality Group, with a menu inspired by Spain’s 17 regions. Helmed by Catalan-born Chef Mònica Angelats and Beverage Director Francine Diamond-Ferdinandi, the menu features sharable tapas, mains and desserts alongside a standalone sherry bar. It’s the holy grail for tempranillo fans, stocking an exclusive variety of the smooth reds. The Andalusian fortified wine is offered by the glass, flight or with special tapas pairings.
Dip into a dainty and traditional Spanish gazpacho with garlic and almonds from the tapas menu, a potato omelet tortilla or eggplant and pepper toast with anchovies. Both the Fideus Rossejats and Cluïsses, a South Catalan toasted noodle dish similar to paella for two with garlic aioli and the Iberico pork shoulder with sweet potato puree and celery salad are not to be missed. Round off a night of gossip with a traditional Torta de Santiago almond cake served with a one ounce pour of Pedro Ximenez boutique sherry.
Also in the bustling downtown arts district, Top Chef’s first female winner Stephanie Izard’s indoor/outdoor Girl & The Goat is a comfy staycation that feels like it’s miles away from the city. Bright and airy, the easy atmosphere is a delightful spot for spilling the beans over some goat liver mousse with buttery crumpets, craisin relish and pickled green strawberries.
The goat, as a symbol of greatness, has historical and cultural roots. In ancient cultures, they were often associated with strength, virility and fertility, and were believed to have magical powers. Plus, they’re really cute. Intent on the mixture of textures and inclusion of fruits in savory dishes, the Chicago native’s menu celebrates the spiritual animal, with shareable plates like chickpea fritters with goat yogurt, confit goat belly with pickled blueberry vinaigrette and goat neck with a poblano strawberry relish. There are several vegan options, as well as shrimp salad with crispy greens, strawberries covered in a blanket of crunchy pepitas in a lime dressing. Don’t miss the mango tamarind ice cream with a pickled green mango cloud and watermelon granita for dessert.
Coucou, the buzzy new French bistro in Venice on Main Street, is a snug and safe harbor for chatter, mussels marinière and a good stiff martini from the cozy bar in the historic shotgun building space. There are classics like steak frites and tartare, as well as a veggie French dip made with oyster mushrooms, housemade boursin cheese and arugula on a baguette. For wagging tongues, the L’Haute Dog comes with Peads and Barnetts pork sausage, holey cow fondue, French onion marmalade, spicy mustard and
pickled peppers on a sourdough roll.
A former art gallery, the space features exposed brick and steel paneled windows with hints of oxidized patina, a female friendly board-formed concrete bar with a triple-arched wooden barbac, and custom banquette with cognac leather booths. More than 30 pieces of framed artwork dot the walls, highlighting independent and emerging local artists like photographer David Kitz and illustrator Adam Villacin. French globe pendants hang above the bar and Belgian-washed linen cafe curtains frame the front windows, which open up accordion-style to Main Street to a soft ocean breeze. Each intimate table has its own miniature, shaded lamp for leaning in and catching up.
This article first appeared at LAWeekly.com