Bavel - Arts District


You might as well compare Broken Spanish with a taco truck. Dizengoff’s dough is cheaper, it rises for only half an hour, they use a gas oven, it’s not cooked to order (just reheated), and it’s a quick-service place rather than a restaurant.

Pita’s not ubiquitous in Los Angeles, some people won’t order them at all. Much as I personally would like it, it’s probably not good business to make the low-carb and gluten-free customers subsidize the rest of us.




how many pitas did you get with your initial order of hummus? looking back at my pictures i got two and i thought it was more than enough.


Are they still serving the chopped liver and hearts on top of okra puree with the duck dish? That was probably my favorite part.


No, I was actually wondering if I recalled correctly that you got 3 preparations when you ordered it. The 3rd thing we got was probably the ginger broth shown in your post.

I noticed there was no okra on the menu in the appetizer section last night, so maybe that’s why. Would have to dig up the receipt to see if they charged us less, as I doubt they would have forgotten to provide a component of the dish. Chef Ore was not in the house last night, btw.


Hello Dear Sir or Madam,

My rather poor palate also quite enjoyed this tasty duck dish at this lovely restaurant.

However, it was not really crispy nor fried when I had it. I was wondering if they perhaps fried the duck when you had it? Or am I perhaps out of the loop and the original KFC was more of a grilled sort of affair?

Would love to return and try the duck again at Bavel if they are frying it and making it super crispy now.


P.S. Sorry if I missed a joke somewhere in here.


I just mean the seasoning wise. And the exterior does have some crisp on it, but obviously not like the fried quail.


Ah I see! Great, thanks!

The duck was great. I am a bit sad I didn’t get the hearts and liver either :frowning: But boy, the kebab portion really stunned me!


It was two. The thing is we got the baba too that came with this single fried pita thing I wasn’t a fan of, so wanted more pita. Also would have been good with any number of other sauces or things they serve.


Hi @DTLAeater,

Nice report! :slight_smile: Oh! You were able to get their amazing Aged Duck dish, too! Chef Ori told us that they simply don’t have the capacity to keep this on as a permanent menu item (sad), so it’ll appear “once in a while”. It’s our favorite dish when it’s on the menu. :wink:


Whoa. Scored a late Saturday table! Now what to order ! Have to read all of this! Wonder if they run out of many things by late night


hummus, grilled prawns, cauliflower are my must orders


i liked the duck 'nduja hummus, anything that gets you that buckwheat loaf, (farm cheese or the foie gras halva), grilled prawns.
i would’ve suggested the chicken confit but as of last month they said they’re not putting it back on the menu. The aged half duck is pretty good too.

but that buckwheat loaf tho!

dessert - the strawberry sumac and sweet cheese pastry


was there last sunday
top of the menu items (farm cheese, nduja hummus, babaganush (with fired pita - quite awesome), foie gras halva were outstanding.

Fried quail was good. Lamb tartare was so so.

Main course duck as wonderful.

On previous visits we tried a variety of seafood dishes but neither the scallops nor the octopus were as great as other options.

Malawach was outstanding!


They sometimes do. I got pretty rocked last time I was there super late. So don’t have your heart set on things.


I rather liked the beef cheek tagine with housemade couscous but was told the real star on the meat circuit was the lamb neck shawarma. Concur on the prawns.


went recently in a group of 3, and the food was just amazing overall. we went once soon after they opened, and it was good then, but great now, noticeably tighter execution. It was packed on a Thursday night but they were still taking walk ins at the bar, and the host/front of house was amazing, really diplomatic and skilled; much better at managing the craziness than other restaurants where dealing with the FoH can be a shitshow (coughdtla Little Sister cough).

Okra dish. Love the freshness that the mint provides. Good.

Duck n’duja hummus. Wow. lovely balanced spice and duck fat richness, and the pita/bread was amazing, so soft and flavorful with that hint of grill char. To the person above who complained about extra breads being $4 or more – you must be out of your mind to think that’s being overcharged. Pita/bread of this caliber is worth much more than $4 to me.

Lamb tartare. We liked it; the sesame sauce in particular had an interesting nutty flavor, and again loved the herbs/mint.

Grilled oyster mushrooms. Amazing. Our consensus favorite dish of the night. truly astounding how it has so much meaty flavor, the green sauce was a perfect counterpoint with a bit of acidic bite; the grill/char flavor was out of control. The one dish that I would order every time I’m lucky enough to go back.

aged half duck, prepared 3 ways. Very good and tasty – interesting to compare to Charcoal’s 21-day-aged Liberty duck. Obviously different preparations and influences, both delicious; the Charcoal version wins out to me for sheer deliciousness, but this is unique as well and worth a try.

Lamb saddle chop. Meaty and perfectly grilled, the salad is complex and a wonderful counterpoint.

Roasted fig tart. I loved it, a bit jammy but fresh tasting figgy flavor.

Strawberry sumac and sweet cream pastry. My dining companions were yelling at me at this point for adding a second dessert since we were so full, but this was worth it…

Cocktails were well done as well, and service at the bar was very friendly and professional. Overall a seamless experience to my preferences. Can’t wait to go back.


Finally made it to Bavel and my reaction surprised me. I love Middle Eastern food and thought I would love the food, but hate the ambience, as I had read about gangsta rap playing at ear piercing decibels. It was certainly loud and you did have to talk in a louder than normal voice to speak with your dining companion, but I rather liked the music (perhaps the gangsta rap doesn’t come on until later in the evening) and I felt the music lent a nice energetic vibe to the restaurant.

Maybe in retrospect, my reaction to Bavel’s food shouldn’t have surprised me as two people I know in the restaurant industry and one real foodie friend had already been and I when I had excitedly asked them how it was, they all said it was “fine,” but no one was raving or expressing any desire to return.

The service was okay except a weird note when our waiter seemed miffed that we had brought our own wine and hastily announced there was a $35 corkage fee. This was the first time ever in an upscale restaurant that I had waitstaff assume I wouldn’t know there was a corkage fee and $35 is the norm, so it seemed odd to announce it unless the corkage was $60 or more (where it is at some places). The awkwardness was assuaged a bit later when the sommelier brought our wine over and noted the producer, since it was the kind of wine that a sommelier would be excited about.

Because we wanted to try a lot of things, we ordered the first hummus (the one without the duck), the farm cheese (because we wanted to try the brioche bread that people had been raving about), the okra, the cauliflower, the shrimp and the whole dorade. The other awkward note in service was when the waiter seemed alarmed that we ordered the cauliflower and told us it was quite spicy. I assured him we could handle spicy food, although the cauliflower didn’t turn out to be all that spicy (between that and the awkward note about corkage, makes me wonder what kind of diners Bavel has been attracting).

I can see why people like the brioche bread, as it had a nice crumb, but I found it way too sweet for my palate. It reminded me of raisin bread I ate as a child and I kept waiting to bite into a raisin as the sweetness was invoking that gustatory memory. The farm cheese spread was not particularly exciting and I definitely would not order again. The hummus was fine, as was the cauliflower, although I prefer the similar cauliflower dish they serve at Republique. The okra dish was okay, but we didn’t finish it. We really liked the shrimp dish. The whole dorade was fine, but I much preferred the whole fish that I had the last time I dined at Michael Cimarusti’s fish restaurant at Eataly. Of all the dishes we ordered, if I ever came back to Bavel, the only one I would order a second time would be the shrimp.

For dessert, we ordered the licorice bon bon which the late Jonathan Gold had raved about in his review of Bavel and which he called the best dessert on the menu. May Jonathan rest in peace, but his palate and mine often didn’t agree and I detested the dessert. I found it to be a boring one note licorice bomb with nothing tasty or interesting about it, and I’m a person who absolutely adores dessert. (Still mourning Brooks Headley’s departure as pastry chef at Del Posto in New York, although I love his Superiority Burger and wish he would bring it to L.A.).

All in all, if someone else had a reservation and wanted to take me, I would go back to Bavel because I would like to try a few of the other dishes (particularly the duck hummus, the malawach and the lamb schwarma), but given how hard it is to get reservations, I definitely wouldn’t go out of my way again to get my own reservations.

After dinner we decided to head over to the Bar at the Nomad Hotel for Amaro because I was curious to check the place out. Sort of an interesting set up because if you are not going to eat in the downstairs dining (it seems like they have closed the upstairs), you can find a nice couch, but there is no table service and you have to belly up to the bar to order, which is a pain when the small bar is packed as it was when we got there. However, the bartenders were nice and efficient and I was excited to see that they had Varnelli, Amaro Dell’Erborista on the list as I had been thinking of picking up a bottle and wanted to try it first before committing to a bottle. I liked the Amaro a lot and I find that it is really true that Amaro is a digestif that helps when you have eaten too much rich food which we had, since we had over-ordered at Bavel.

Because I am such a dessert person and because I hated the dessert so much at Bavel, we decided to order a dessert at Nomad. I didn’t find the Nomad dessert menu that interesting, but we settled on Milk Ice Cream with Honey-Oat Shortbread & Brittle. Didn’t like it at all, so it was a 100% strikeout for the night in the dessert category, but the Amaro made up for it, although it seemed like the Amaro was priced higher than it should have been (which may be par for the course for a restaurant bar).


I enjoyed reading your account of the evening!


Bummer! So sorry you didn’t enjoy your meal at Bavel.
At least you got to try that amaro. It’s a knockout, IMO. Worth the $ for the bottle.