Tucked away under a bower of sun-dappled trees, the Alcove Cafe and Bakery is one of the most popular East Side destinations to grab an outside bite. Early risers show up for coffee and truck-sized breakfasts, followed by a busy lunch crowd, a more mellow afternoon scene (a great time to stock up on caffeine and pastries) and the dinner set, which lasts well into the night.
The Alcove serves classic American style dishes as well as more modern, healthier selection. Choose from breakfast sandwiches, whopping omelets, crepes, wraps, paninis, burgers, salads and heartier fare. Scan the menu while waiting in the line trailing out of the cafe bungalow (be sure to keep an eye out for choice tables, especially if you’re a large group). The friendly and efficient staff keeps the lines moving quickly. Place your order inside, get your drinks, snag a table, and the servers, who are borderline psychic, will track down your table and deliver your meals.
Despite the constant flow of customers, the Alcove is actually one of the best places for an intimate, relaxed setting. Skip the main front section and explore the nooks and backside corners where, if you’re lucky, you’ll have your own little garden dining experience just to yourself. At night, don’t forget to try out the bar inside as well. In the summer time, the Alcove shows outdoor movies on a 17-foot screen on the 3rd Monday of each month.
Details: 1929 Hillhurst Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90027. Open 7 days a week, usually 6 a.m. to midnight. Breakfast is served until 5 p.m.
Getting There: By car, take the 5 freeway to Los Feliz Blvd and down Hillhurst. By metro, get off at the Vermont/Sunset station and walk north up Vermont to Franklin, then head east to Hillhurst.
Parking: This is Alcove’s one drawback. There’s rarely an empty spot on the street and adjacent lots fiercely post their intent to tow Alcove customers. Your best bet is to try a block east on Commonwealth and its connecting streets.