Places to have a fun evening come and go in Los Angeles at a great rate, a fact that the folks at Madera Kitchen know all too well. After moving into the space on Cahuenga Boulevard that formerly held the nightclub called Wonderland, Owners Milton Sznaider and Loyal Pennings completely changed things up in order to make this a new go-to spot, giving this new restaurant/nightclub an open, inviting look.
There are plenty of seats at the long, beautiful Spanish-tiled bar, where a huge barrel of Malbec dominates. There's also house Pinot Noir and Cabernet Sauvignon tapped out of barrels (one of the hot new bar trends we're suddenly seeing everywhere) and a complete list of signature cocktails.
There are plenty of seats at Madera Kitchen's tiled bar — Photo courtesy of Madera Kitchen
Belly up to that bar, or perhaps settle in to the canary yellow banquette that wraps across the back wall; it's a cozy perch to watch the nightly scene unfold.
The menu is designed to be shared, evoking a Mediterranean feeling, with an assortment of tapas plates – Buratta, bacon or wild mushroom flatbreads; grilled octopus or oysters; pork meatballs; or marinated olives, to name just a few.
Sit out on the pretty patio near the fireplace, order a selection, and you just might imagine you've been transported off to a beautiful night along the Costa del Sol.
Madera Kitchen's convivial outdoor patio — Photo courtesy of Madera Kitchen
Main courses are kept simple, with only a few choices. Try the skirt steak with a tangy chimichurri sauce, a garlic-roasted half chicken, barbecue baby back ribs or the market fish of the day. There's also a full pasta menu, with goat cheese ravioli, buckwheat tagliatelle and pappardelle paired with a lamb shank ragu.
The tangy chimichurri skirt steak entree — Photo courtesy of Madera Kitchen
On Monday to Friday, happy hour lasts until 8 p.m., with selected appetizers going for $5 to $9 (Bacon flatbread is a surefire winner.), signature cocktails for $7 and a glass of that barrel Malbec for only $5.
For Sunday brunch, Madera pulls out all the stops. Choose chicken and waffles, blueberry pancakes, cinnamon doughnuts, a wild mushroom scramble, one of those bacon flatbreads or one of many others. You can even build your own omelette and pair it with a spicy Bloody Mary or a mimosa for a convivial afternoon.
The lively scene at Madera Kitchen — Photo courtesy of Madera Kitchen
Head in on Thursday, Friday or Saturday night, and you're likely to find a live band adding to the exuberant scene. Often spotted playing in the first months of Madera's existence have been some of Los Angeles' local favorites, including soul singer Raquel Rodriguez and her band, as well as The Old Fashioned, who play a little bit of old stuff and a little bit of new, too.
You'll find acoustic guitarists one night, vocal duos another and never a dull moment at Madera Kitchen.
You'll find live music at Madera Kitchen on most weekends — Photo courtesy of Madera Kitchen