Café Pinot

Charred Octopus

An elegant French experience in one of LA's best outdoor settings

By Jennifer Swann

Tucked around the corner from LA’s art deco-style Central Library, this elegant California-inspired French restaurant leads with a timeless menu and a patio so peaceful that you might forget you’re in Downtown Los Angeles. The outdoor seating overlooks the picturesque, fountain-filled Maguire Gardens, making for an ideal backdrop for an intimate date night. It’s no surprise it was voted most romantic restaurant by readers of Los Angeles Downtown News a couple years back.

But the ambiance is hardly the only draw at Café Pinot, a member of the Patina Restaurant Group, which also operates upscale bars and cafes at LACMA, The Music Center, Norton Simon Museum, and Descanso Gardens. Executive chef Viet Pham’s dinner menu features an abundance of enticing options, including four different pastas, a range of vegetable-focused starters, and a mix of small plates, like broccoli di cicco and burrata, and large-format entrees, such as veal osso buco and hanger steak.
You’d be forgiven for wanting to linger on the patio and take in the garden views long after the desserts —a creamy bananacotta or a sweet chilled strawberry semifreddo (pictured below)— arrive at your table. And with Café Pinot’s extensive list of California whites and European varietals, there’s no reason not to.


Lunch: Mon–Fri 11:30 AM–2:30 PM
Happy Hour: Tues-Fri 2:30-6PM
Dinner: Tue–Thu 5PM–9 PM; Fri-Sat 5PM–10PM

price range

$22 (Jidori chicken) to $28 (lamb shank)