Cara Hotel serves its patrons local and sustainable Californian fare.
As a foodie, finding the perfect spot for my birthday brunch was a lot of pressure. Three things I was looking for during my research included: a chic aesthetic, an extensive menu, and something a little different than my everyday dining experiences. Cara Hotel is in the heart of Los Feliz located on the busy street Western Avenue. Upon pulling up to the valet in front of the hotel, there is a beautiful ornate entrance with stairs and huge doors. The hostess led us to our table outside where we were seated next to the dipping pool, which is definitely there for aesthetic rather than purpose. You are truly transported to a tropical location when walking through the hotel lobby to where the restaurant seating is. From the palm trees to the dipping pool to the hanging curtains, Cara Hotel has perfectly accomplished a calming aesthetic. The “spirit of Cara” focuses on hospitality from the heart, as noted on their website. The website also mentions how the goal of the Cara Hotel is to provide a memorable experience for its guests.
Our group was very excited to order a bunch of different items off the menu to share among ourselves. We started with the fried shishito peppers, the caramelized Brussels sprouts, and the French fries. The shishito peppers had a tomato tapenade, basil, and lime garnish, while the Brussels sprouts came with toasted almonds, Cabernet vinaigrette, aged parmesan, and mustard caviar. The fries were unbeatable; they were super crispy on the outside, but thick in the middle. Their homemade ketchup was super fresh, and you could totally tell it was homemade. I enjoyed these fries so much that I really did not need the ketchup to enjoy them.
For our main dishes, we ordered the prosciutto and burrata, the Yucatecan ceviche, the lemon pasta, and the spring harvest grain bowl. The prosciutto and burrata were served with grilled sourdough. This dish was definitely my favorite out of all we ordered because it was a very generous portion size, the flavoring was perfect, and everything just tasted really good together. The ceviche consisted of red snapper, avocado, serrano chili, lime, and tomatillo. It was extremely fresh and light. The tortilla chips served with it were the perfect amount of saltiness and had the perfect crunch for the soft fish. The lemon pasta was a very simple recipe, but was honestly too oily and did not taste great to me. Because it was served kind of cold, the bitterness of the lemon flavoring and butter sunk to the bottom and was simply unpleasant. It was a bit disappointing in my opinion.
The spring harvest grain bowl consisted of roasted spring vegetables, ancient grains, sautéed kale, and crispy squash. We ordered this to have a more healthy main course dish; however, this dish ended up tasting the most unhealthy due to the sheer amount of oil in it. I am not sure why, but there seemed to be an absurd amount of oil on the vegetables and at the bottom of the bowl that made the dish practically unbearable for us. There were hardly enough ancient grains compared to vegetables, which also was a bit of a bummer because it could have potentially helped soak up some of the oil.
All in all, I 100% recommend ordering the prosciutto and burrata dish to start, and the shishito peppers, Brussels sprouts, and fries on the side. I was not obsessed with the lemon pasta or the spring harvest grain bowl but I am curious to go back to try the steak sandwich and the roasted Scottish salmon, which the waiter mentioned were two of the most popular items on the menu.
The staff at Cara Hotel was friendly, and all the dishes came out quickly and practically all at once. As mentioned previously, the food at the Cara Hotel is tasty, but the atmosphere and vibes are what truly make the experience so enjoyable and unique.