If you’ve been jonesing for a little taste of the French countryside recently but don’t quite have the time or money to head overseas right now, then why not allow the French countryside to come to you? République on La Brea is the stuff all your Provence dreams are made of: long wooden farm tables inside a château courtyard, fluffy pastries overflowing from pâtisserie cases, thick creamy butter slathered over fresh-baked bread loaves still warm from the oven and just perfect for dunking those bright orange farm-fresh egg yolks into. From your very first step inside the door, you find yourself filled up with a burning desire to parlez et mangez français.
Set inside the old La Brea Bakery and Campanile building, République has been restored back to most of the original architecture from when Charlie Chaplin first built it in the 20’s. The interior courtyard has been exposed with large skylights overhead so that it seems to glow from within. The vibe is relaxed, airy and casual. We went for brunch and it was the perfect spot for a morning friend catch up in a beautiful atmosphere that offers something truly delicious for everyone.
As you enter, the pâtisserie counter is the first thing you see—overflowing with home made croissants, éclairs, mini cakes and tarts alongside giant pies whipped and creamed to perfection. They even have gluten-free options to satisfy your gf sweet tooth. HOT TIP: If you are there on a day when they have the Key Lime Pie, buy the whole thing. It’s a pure slice of rich, tangy-sweet joy that will have your soul moaning ooh la la! The shelves behind the counter hold the pièces de résistance—a vast array of golden, crunchy, fresh-baked bread loaves that waft their sweet scent out to welcome you as soon as you open the door. Another HOT TIP: buy the Normandy butter. Yes, you have to order the butter as a separate item on its own. Yes, it’s $7. But it. Is. Worth it.
At brunch, service is laid back and casual. Order your meal and drinks at the counter, then take your number to a table and wait for your food to be delivered. They have a lovely self-service water station, including sparkling water that you fill in large empty glass wine bottles—a simple, but lovely touch. Our coffee and tea lattes were first to arrive, made to perfection, with beautiful thick frothy whips somehow garnered even with our almond milk substitutes.
For brunch, we went egg crazy. The eggs here are insanely delicious and so bright orange, you’d swear they just grabbed them from a henhouse out back and threw them in the pan. We got the Corned Beef Hash, Today’s Quiche, BLT Toast, and “Regular Breakfast” which is basically eggs with what they call “bacon steak”…pork belly cut and fried like a thick chunk of bacon. It was all divine—crisped and flavored just right. A little bit of breakfast Heaven on Earth. We split some pastries for the table and they, again, were artfully done. Not too sweet, not too heavy. République seems to balance all their rich menu items into a Goldilocks perfection…everything just right.
Dinner is supposed to be amazing here, but is a completely different experience—trading in morning casual for nighttime fine dining. The dinner menu expands to include decadent country-style favorites and updated twists on old provincial comfort foods. But beware that it can also become très cher, with steak frites offerings running from $56-$155.
For those just looking for a lovely jaunt to France to start your day off right, République is everything you can hope for. The daytime atmosphere is easy, delicious and accessible to all, although we do recommend coming on a weekday if possible to avoid the weekend crowds. Stop by next time you’re in the neighborhood and treat yourself to some delicious morning comforts. Soak in the slowed-down pace of the provincial life and enjoy the simple pleasure of lingering over a hot drink, fresh farm eggs and good conversation with the ones you love. Bon appétit!!
République. 624 South La Brea Avenue, Los Angeles. Open daily for breakfast, lunch & dinner. http://republiquela.com
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Contributing photos by: Adrienne Rusk
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