Bavel - Arts District


I love Tomei so much omg.

Oh, also selling a saturday night reservation for this weekend. (jk)


No. I’m assuming it’s amazing, though. :slight_smile:

The trick is finding someone to go with you when ordering whole fish, unless they are little fried smelts or those pretty sand dabs. I did once go to a Chinese restaurant and ordered a whole fish. They initially told me no, but I pleaded my case and they gave in. They thought it was funny. SF, I think.


Yeah it’s amazing. One of the best whole fish I’ve had in the city that I can remember.


not yet, thanks for the tip, i love fried whole fish.


Fried whole fish is the BEST.

It’s funny because my default is, “I don’t like fried food.” Except I do, I’m simply persnickety abut it.


where do you get it? i was pretty disappointed with the whole fried snapper at tar & roses.


If non-Chinese, then Escala.


I should also add that Hook & Hoof has what looks like a great fried whole striped bass. It’s next on my to-do list. Maybe tomorrow.



Good read. Though I have not had the grilled oyster mushrooms, the one time I dined at Bavel, an adjacent patron at the bar ordered them. The smell of lighter fluid was overwhelming, echoing the sentiments of some of the posters on this very thread and bringing to the forefront the Goldster’s very positive review of the dish. Maybe they remedied it by the time JGold was there?


On my 3rd visit, for some reason the strawberry sumac and sweet cheese pastry really resonated with me. It reminded me of those jam filled butter cookies I used to have as a child. The pistachio ice cream was very good too, though didn’t necessarily tie into the dish.

All the other dishes I had were repeats. As for drink, went with NV Billecart Salmon rosé champagne this time. It carried us through the entire meal from appetizers to dessert. How about that for versatility?


That’s my personal favorite for sparklers.


For me it’s a toss-up with the Ruinart Brut Rosé.


A fantastic pommery tour is given at Ruinart. I’d highly recommend it for anyone who finds themselves in the Champagne region.


Finally had a meal here. No res, put name in at 7 last night and got bar seats by 7:45. Overall: excellent meal. Took no pics (sorry), but some thoughts:

–A beautiful and convivial space.

–Pita with hummus and baba. I don’t know what to think. The hummus was delightful. The duck nduja to me did not add much flavor–I’d try the basic hummus and tahini next time. Baba was fine, nothing special. The pita was at once excellent and hard for me to describe. There was much more crumb than I’m used to. I am definitely partial to the rustic version at Dizengoff and Solomonov’s other places, but this was so different it’s hard to compare. It was almost like a hot, savory griddle cake more than the kind of pita I’m used to.

–A complaint: I asked for an extra order of pita ($4). I was presented with one piece of pita. At first I thought this was a joke. Really guys, when you’re charging 80+ a head for middle eastern food, can you fucking splurge for two pitas to an order? The last thing anyone wants to do is ration their pita. The food was good enough for me to get over this but this was irritating.

–Harissa prawns were fucking so good. Wow this is a great dish. Perfectly cooked, beautiful shrimp. Scooping up the tzatziki and sucking out the head at once is just divine. And honestly it’s simultaneously comical and great that our food scene has developed to the point where expensive, new yuppie places are telling diners to suck the heads.

–Cauliflower in Hawaij. Good, not memorable. Solid cauliflower dish but ultimately didn’t care about it.

–Lamb shawarma. Um, this ruled. Not much more to say. The lamb was a beautiful, glorious mess of char, fat, and meat. The little sandwiches were divine. Only thing I’d say is, I’d prefer the hot laffa be served on the side so it could hold up better (over time it collapses under the juices of the meat). But really, this dish is awesome and a show stopper.

We were too full for dessert. All in with tax, tip, and two beers this was about 90 a person for two people. We over ordered and could have skipped at least one of these dishes; price point is high but the food is better than a lot of the expensive places in LA at similar price points. I will definitely be back.

One final thought on prices. A few weeks ago I went to Mantee in the valley with family. We got out of there after a bountiful, amazing meal for $210 for six people, all in. We ate a lot and had a few bottles of wine. This meal, with one beer each, was $180 for two. Was this way better than Mantee? Honestly, no. But it was different, and more and more I am rejecting these kinds of price comparisons as a basis not to eat at the more expensive place. I’ll eat at places like Mantee more often, as they’re reasonably priced for ordinary people to eat well, regularly. At Bavel, you’re paying for the space, the staff, cooking technique that is–let’s be honest–completely different, product quality in a different stratosphere, and creative takes rather than faithful replications. I’m more than willing to pay for that once in a while.


@Haeldaur, wonder i we passed each other without knowing! We were walk-ins at 8:15pm and were able to get a table for 5 by 9pm.

4th revisit recap (as usual, excuse my poor pictures…my friends don’t like to wait :stuck_out_tongue: ):

  • Duck Ndjuja hummus. I still really love this, the Nduja has spice to it that reminds me of Indian mango pickle.

  • Mushroom and Dill hummus (new menu item since last visit). While good, I have enjoyed almost all the other spreads more, so would skip this next time. This is a more mild option.

  • Scallop crudo (new to me). pomegranate molasses, citrus, burnt serrano chile oil, charred cucumber, mint, black sesame. Nice bright flavors with some smokiness and sweetness. Pretty good, but not a must order for me.

  • Marinated sweet peppers (new menu item since last visit). whipped feta, cumin, flowering cilantro, toasted sunflower seeds. These were quite tasty, and I could not stop eating the feta, which was creamy yet with some nice chew to it. Questionable QPR at $16 though.

  • Fried quail (new menu item since last visit). cardamom date sauce, pickled celery, smoked yogurt, herbs. I loved this! Very crispy.

  • Grilled prawns. One of my top 1 or 2 dishes here.

  • Grilled dorade. (new to me). Maybe not quite the heights of Majordomo’s collar dish, but still quite moist and flavorful, skin was fairly crisp. Recommended.

  • Half duck (new to me). Probably my favorite dish here now. I hate to draw the comparison, but this is like original recipe KFC x 10000+. The whole duck parts were wonderfuly moist and tender, with the skin being nicely seasoned with a bit of crisp to it. Delicate and soul nourishing at the same time.

  • Rose clove chocolate donuts (new to me.) Not very sweet, surprisingly light, and the whipped cream it came with was perfect.

Some minor issues: Bar was really slammed when we arrived and we could not get the bartender to make us 5 drinks while we waited, so resorted to ordering from a waitress that was roaming around. Wine service as usual was excellent, though the somms seemed slammed (Ryan was not there) and it took some time for us to get our wine order in. Finally, it seemed like some water from the plants above were dripping on us every 10 minutes or so…didn’t know if we had a messy eater at our table or what!

Instead of my usual rose, I went for an extremely light red, very beaujolais like, with candied red fruits, carbonic in nature. Fresh, very low abv, good acidity, and low tannin. Worked well with a wide variety of dishes if you are going to stick with one wine for the majority of the meal.

Despite some so-so dishes to start, this might have been one of my favorite meals here on the strength of the last four savory dishes. Can’t wait to return.


I had same reaction as you about the pita. I told the baker i bake my own home made sourdough pita all the time and never get a crumb like that. He told me they do use a sourdough starter—but also semolina and eggs!! The semolina does make it tender and the eggs must account for the crumb. This version is much more like morrocan pita batbout—which has 50% semolina but no eggs.


They ferment the dough for three days (which requires more space) and make them to order (more labor) on a wood fire (more labor, higher fuel cost), so they’re an expensive item. If they put two in an order that would lead to waste.


And olive oil, and “whip it like brioche.”


I hear you, and not that it’s a worthy debate, but just about any price can be justified this way. This is a very expensive place to eat, and it just strikes me as a way to rake people over the coals a little more over something that is ubiquitous in middle eastern cooking. Extra pita at Dizengoff is $2 per pita (or $6 for 6), it’s made right there to order and is no less intensive. Anyway I think we’ll just have to agree to disagree on this one.