Cafe Pinot

Cafe Pinot (Reported Closed) Best of Citysearch

Best of Citysearch
Won for:
BYOB Restaurant (2008)
Nominations Nominated for:

700 W 5th St, Los Angeles, CA 90071 Map & Directions

(213) 239-6500

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Reviews for Cafe Pinot

Cafe Pinot
Recommends
, over a year ago

Amazing venue for a date. There's something very intimate about this place. It's modern and antique at the same time.

Recommends
over a year ago

Amazing food – Wow, after reading the review I was shocked. I was taken here by a friend who lives in the area an swears by this place. The food was amazing, the chef was charming and the staff was knowledgeable. This by far is my favorite place to eat when I leave the west side!!!

Recommends
over a year ago

Classic Yet Comfortable Setting – We visited Los Angeles and chose Cafe Pinot to celebrate our Daughter's 23rd birthday. We had a large family gathering and were extremely happy with the entire evening. The overall environment was very pleasant and the staff was exceptionally friendly and gracious. The gardens were lovely, the patio was inviting, the weather was fantastic and the food was wonderful... A very classic yet comfortable setting. We will return!

Recommends
over a year ago

I'm a Regular – Wow, I was reading the reviews of Cafe Pinot and was quite surprised to read about all the negative experiences. I live and work in Downtown Los Angeles and am proud to say that I am a regular at Cafe Pinot and I've happily NEVER experienced any of the negatives as stated in the other reviews.

I frequent many high end restaurants as I have an extensive interest in the culinary world and I've always found Cafe Pinot to be great food in a chic atmosphere. Don't get me wrong - I'm no food snob - good food is good food and can be found in many places. The reason that I became a regular is because the staff and the food are equally appealing. The current chef is innovative and I'm always interested in her latest creations. The grilled calamari salad with squash might not sound like a winning combination but it is; the soups are also excellent.; the desserts are appealing - the chef takes standards and gives them a twist - for instance making cheesecake with goat cheese gives it a unique tartness that I found very tastey. The menu does change and I'm sad to see items that have become my favorites leave , but excited to find new favorites. The waite staff is very attentive and they sincerely wish for you to have a great experience.

As far as location goes, it couldn't be better being at the cultural center of downtown - at the library. Parking is conveniently located in the underground garage and rates are reasonable compared to other DT lots.

Overall, I will continue to go to Cafe Pinot, and I'm proud to be a regular.

Doesn't Recommend
over a year ago

Avoid this place – The head chef is insane. The Patina Group needs to re-evaluate who they place as head chefs in their restaurants. There is high turnover in the kitchen and it has resulted in a poor overall dining experience.

Doesn't Recommend
over a year ago

I signed up for City Search just to complain about this place – Someone has beat me to it: hello there! I also went Sunday after subscribing to the Patina email list and had an unpleasant (to say the least) dining experience. There are far better dining options downtown. I notice many of the reviews seem over a year old, hence the 5-star rating here. Alas, that I'd only thought to look here before I went: A familiar story of a place that has sadly deteriorated. What was once a find and a recommendation to friends = an embarrasing recommendation when it is followed up on after the place has peaked. The service was inefficient, unprofessional in attitude, and I don't know how else to explain it--seemed confused. Much to our amusement we saw a waitress going towards a table and then stopping like she had forgotten something and turning around with a completely vacuous look on her face. A table next to us also had similar looks of discontent that seemed to grow as the interminable meal went on. Wrong orders came out. In fact, it seemed the host was more helpful in having things run smoothly (he actually came to the table and cleared off the plates; we were relieved at a sign of life). We were seated before another table but ended up being serviced later than they did. Finally the waiter just disappeared and other people were doing all the work--I imagined him chain smoking in the alley doing the crossword puzzles, at my expense. Now, the food. This was of course not the greatest day to sample the food, as we ordered off the prix fixe menu, but still. It was also another classic example that causes despair: Prettily plated with no grounding and appreciation for the real underlying essence of the food. I can't help but think of it as like getting a knock-off of what's really worth spending money on--the general crowd isn't really going to be able to discern a fake. The entrees were as confused as the wait staff, dessert cloying. We can only hope the general public may have enough sense to recognize rude service and look elsewhere.

Doesn't Recommend
over a year ago

Terrible Service, Average Food, Wait Staff Could Care Less – Horrible experience. I took my mother here for mother's day. The entire "brunch" took 2 hours! They kept serving the wrong plates to the wrong person and service was abysmally slow. The waitress I had seemed completely indifferent and the waiters were standing at the hostess desk arguing about who could take their break. As the tip was included I couldn't express my dissatisfaction through leaving a tip. I strongly do NOT recommend this restaurant--made a day that should have been special into a complete disaster. Feel disrespected in the lack of professionalism, slow service, mistakes and the food was only passable. Whoever manages this place should pay attention to how the customers are treated. Especially as the waitress did not bring to our attention the tip was included and then actually said "but feel free to leave more. Took 15 minutes after being seated just to get water. One person kept getting served 5-10 minutes after everyone else. ??? This was a 3 course meal that took two hours, complete with flies in the restaurant. Atrocious.

Doesn't Recommend
over a year ago

Another example of "haute pretentious cuisine"..... – I visited L.A. with friends recently and we had dinner at Cafe Pinot. A friend and I shared an entree for $34, grilled scallops "on a bed of potatoes and squash puree," or something to that effect. There was a split charge, of course, which is customary and acceptable. We each received a large, almost empty plate with three scallops laying on barely a brush-paint's worth of whatever the bed of potatoes and squash was supposed to be, so it was essentially three lonley little scallops in a sea of white. Perhaps this was haute astronaut food. In addition, the scallops were grossly overcooked. Another diner at our table ordered the mustard-crusted chicken, a visually pleasing and generous plate. However, the dark meat was thoroughly raw, which, as anyone knows, is both disgusting and potentially dangerous. We do not recommend Cafe Pinot under any circumstances; there is an abundance of superior choices in the area.

Recommends
over a year ago

Good food, excellent wine, decent service, a bit small if you can't sit outside – If you are going to an event at the music center etc, this is a beautiful venue and they can get you out the door on time. However, if it rains, do a reality check. Most of the tables at Cafe Pinot are outside. They have tarps and heat lamps, but it was like dining in a shower. On a clear night, it is wonderful. If you love great wines and don't care about the price, this is the place for you.

If you are vegetarian, look at the menu before you go.

Recommends
over a year ago

Great Experience – Although I had not been here for about a year, I had always remembered this restaurant to be a magical place in the realm of Downtown Los Angeles. This still held true on my most recent visit last night. The vibe in this place has really picked up and they were very busy!! The bar was full and even though it was a Saturday night, we were shown to our table immediately. The hostess was very polite and even saved a nice table for us on the patio (which is one of the best parts of this restaurant). We were a party of 4 and we ordered across the menu. I am not sure why the other reviewer didn't like the hamachi dish because it was so unique and flavorful...pepper sorbet with olive oil and grapefruit. WOW!! The filet mignon was tender and cooked to perfection. My other guests fully enjoyed their meals which if memory serves me correct, one of them had a black cod dish and I think the other had the lamb. The service was very professional and efficient. Overall, this was a great night and we will most CERTAINLY be back. On the patio again....if possible!

Doesn't Recommend
over a year ago

Decrease in quality and service – I was surprised to read the bad reviews of this restaurant because I went here two years ago with my parents and I remember the experience being magical. The food was great, the service was attentive and helpful, and the atmosphere was upscale, but inviting. However, I went back here last night and was shoked by the decrease in quality that has occured over the time from my last visit. My beau and I started with an heirloom tomato salad, a beet salad and a yellotail hamachi. The two salads were very unimpressive and instead of being a coherent dish were just a plate of different ingredients with no real fusion. The hamachi was very uninspired and tooooo lemony. A similar dish at Nobu is much better. For my entree I had the duck a la orange which had a good flavor. The mustard chicken with pinot fries which was plain and the flavor was really not anything extraordinary. I had the tomato salad and the ckicken on my previous visit and my family and I had raved about it. I am not sure if it was an off night or they have simply lost their touch over time. The creme brulee was very good, the cookies were a joke (really terrible), and the berry crumble was sorbet and granola essentially, very disappointing. To make matters worse, our waiter was horrible, very condescending, unhelpful, and had a bad attitude. I won't be coming back here again, especially with all of the terrific options that have recently sprung up in downtown.

Doesn't Recommend
over a year ago

Terrible Service, Terrible Food – We went to Cafe Pinot before going to the theater. Our waitress was unprofessional, telling me the house wine was"drinkable" (though I found it to be quite good!). She was slow and really didn't know the menu very well. My mother's meal came out wrong, and did not look appealing. My friend's steak was great, but everything else on the plate was nothing special. I had the crab cake which was luke warm and not that tasty. Desert was terrible and stale, and their version of creme brule was aweful! Never going back!!!

Recommends
over a year ago

we ate there last night, the food was ok, not amazing. but the service was horrible. the waiter was not attentive, and could not elaborate on the menu items. if it was not for the terrible service, i would think about going back. i eat downtown all the time, they are far better choices.

Recommends
over a year ago

Amazing – The best food and service in Los Angeles. Ask for the tall waiter with glasses. Wine selection is amazing, food impecable amd service to dye for.

Recommends
over a year ago

Not if You are looking for exceptional French cuisine – We went to Cafe Pinot on Valentine's Day. Searching for "The Best" French restaurants (in LA) online led me to believe that Cafe Pinot would have been a good option. Of course you want to impress your Lover on Valentine's Day, especially if you have taken the responsibility of planning the evening and each part of it is to be a surprise.

Is was not very difficult to get a reservation, though I did call weeks in advance for one. We were seated immediately, with our choice of inside or out. I would definitely recommend outside, for it was a nice setting in the city.

Our waitress was delightful, though not very knowledgeable regarding the special Valentine's menu.

The food was not very impressive at all, but the wine suggestion from our wait staff was. If I can convey, the food was "meh".

The women's bathroom smelled bad and was littered with paper towels on the floor.

Basically the best thing on the predetermined menu was the ravioli, not very 'french'.

The desert was a shared hazelnut something with raspberry sauce....I think, it didn't stick out in my mind.

I remember the desert I had at a french restaurant we ate at 6 months ago better than the one we had last night.

So, in the end, we dropped 3 bills (including wine) on a meal that was so-so. I wouldn't recommend this restaurant, not even for a Tuesday, much less a special occasion.

Recommends
over a year ago

Nice – Pleasant and classy, with a nice menu and unusually vibrant street life. It's too bad there aren't more such restaurants downtown.

Recommends
over a year ago

Amazing patio, very good food. – Downtown still seems like pioneer country at night when you see tumbleweed rolling down Main St., but a night at Cafe Pinot can make you forget that LA is still struggling to support an urban core. The food was delightful we had amazing wine with the help of a wonderful waiter and the patio right next to the old library was light with strands and candles. Gorgeous and romantic. It's expensive so maybe it requires an occasion but it was well worth it for a lovely evening.

Recommends
over a year ago

beautiful patio, wonderful food, friendly service! – I would highly recommend cafe pinot for a dinner before heading over to the music center. Valet parking was quick, and seating very prompt. Our server was perhaps one of the nicest I have ever encountered, very accommodating and helpful in absolutely everything. Great crab cake appetizer, highly recommended!! I had the osso bucco and my boyfriend had some sort of fish (I already forget!) and they were both well cooked and delicious! Definitely try the panna cotta for dessert if you want something light, it was perfect!!! Right across the street from the music hall shuttle so that was really convenient as well. A lovely start to an evening!

Recommends
over a year ago

Great Place! – The service was great! Our waiter was very attentive and the hostess even kindly asked to take my coat. The Fillet of Beef, Rotisserie Chicken, Tuna Tartar, & French onion soup are not exceptionally great, but decent. However, my friend said the chicken was undercooked. The fries that came with the Rotisserie tasted very delicious though! BTW, use the valet parking. It's only $5. The garage parking is like $7 or something.

Recommends
over a year ago

Great night out – Not kid friendly? Kids eat for FREE! Great wine list with GREAT bottles in the $40-60 range. Best patio dining in So Cal by far. The times I've eaten there the food was always excellent - Mark Gold is a chef to watch. The desserts leave a bit (sometimes a lot) to be desired...but that is the only thing that detracted from the experience. Service was always swift and pleasant. Yes, pre-theatre is a horrible thing, but they do it very well here.

Recommends
over a year ago

Location & food were excellant! – I made reservations for Dec 9th and was seated promptly. We walked over from the Biltmore where we were staying so parking was not an issue. The staff & service were courteous & attentive, without being annoying. The patio seating in the gardens outside the Library is the place to sit- a beautiful & relaxing setting. We ordered the duck & lobster bolonese pasta, both were cooked perfectly and flavorful. I was surprised the $12 glass of wine I ordered was even on the wine list because it was horrible and $7 for a bottle of water was a bit extravagant. Other than that, it was an excellant dining experience and I would recommend it highly.

Recommends
over a year ago

try for yourself- you be the judge – location is a hit. that element definetly brought us there. the hype is backed up with above average service and clean flavorful food. my lady loved the fluke special while i enjoyed the aged australian and snake river farms kobe.

Doesn't Recommend
over a year ago

Don't eat here – This was my first time going to Cafe Pinot this sunday around 6ish. The service was just ok for what they charge you. A bit pushy for you to get extra dishes or wine. The rotisserie chicken was undercooked, raw in the center, so was the salmon. Abominable. We saw a group across from us return a dish should have given us a hint... The pasta was bland at best and so was the soup. They poster who said it reminded him of bland hotel food was right on the money. The chicken at pollo loco would have been a better choice tonight. esp at a price tag of $116

Recommends
over a year ago

Average food, Stuck up Services – The staffs at this restaurants made us feel like we were refugees waiting for food. They were not rude, however, they were not friendly or polite either. I felt like they didn't really like their jobs and probably don't enjoy serving people. Additionally, the bus boy was anxious to remove my plate off the table. This normally does not bother me, however, I don't believe he should have his hand on my plate when he asked that question.

Recommends
over a year ago

Pinot is wonderful – What a great experience last night. The food was creative and the service was above average and a no corkage policy really is an added bonus.

Recommends
over a year ago

Great Restaurant – We had a great dinner here the other night. The food was teriffic as well as the service. The patio is the best place to dine in Los Angeles. We had been in the past, and found it to be good, but the meal we had the other night was fantastic. We will be back for more...

Recommends
over a year ago

More hype than anything – The service was excellent, unfortunately the food was so-so and the portions were ridiculously small. I ordered a steak which was $30 and about 4 oz of meat, not very well seasoned and rather bland. We ended up ordering an extra basket of bread we were so hungry. All in all, I would rather have spent the $$$ someplace that filled me up.

Doesn't Recommend
over a year ago

Don't take the bait – I love the location and ambience, but a few visits to this place has left me wanting. The service is so-so, the food seems like warmed-up hotel fare, and the prices are horrible for what they offer. Clearly, they are preying on the pre-theater crowd. A "recommended" nightly special glass of wine from our server ended up costing $25 a glass -- we would have preferred a bottle at that price. Someone must stop the Patina Group before they ruin another good restaurant location.

Recommends
over a year ago

ABSOLUTELY FANTASTIC – Dining al fresco at its best. Nestled in the front courtyard of the Central Library among the high-rises, this little restaurant is just great. Food is delicious, creative, imaginative and well plated. The wine list is fantastic and has a wine for every taste and budget. The wait-staff was super knowledgeable and even more helpful and friendly... no pretentious waiters here... from the maître d' to the bus boy, they were all courteous, helpful and just very competent. I would go here every day.

Recommends
over a year ago

TUNA TUNA TUNA – I came to this restaurant with my co-workers. My supervisor got the Tuna tar tar as an appetizer. It was DELICIOUS!!!!!! I highly recommend that.

I ordered the skirt steak and had a creme brulee for dessert. The food here is very very good and the service is not bad at all. They failed to check on us a couple times considering there were only two other parties besides us, but they were nice overall.

Location is right next to the LA library in downtown...and if it's a nice day out, i recommend eating outside on the patio. It's really beautiful and takes you away from busy downtown.

I went during lunch and did not see valet parking for this restaurant, so I parked at the Standard down the block.

Recommends
over a year ago

A sophisticated stop in downtown Los Angeles. – The Scene
Like clockwork, downtown's power broker elite spill out of the city's skyscrapers at noon and 5pm sharp to grab a leisurely lunch or dinner at this window-walled cafe. Located a stone's throw from the Central Library, it attracts a who's who of high-powered lawyers, local government officials and corporate darlings.

The Food
The cafe features a diverse menu of carefully prepared California French fare. The smoked salmon and pistachio pate with caviar, croutons and Romanoff sauce, has a mild, savory flavor and ultra-creamy consistency, while a tangy apple mustard sauce really draws out the juicy flavor of the restaurant's pork medallions. Diners fearful of being tempted by sinful sweets should avoid seeing the dessert menu at all costs (wave it off if you see it coming), as few can resist this slate of chocolate and fruit-focused treats.

Recommends
over a year ago

sweet metropolitan night – nothing is like eating in the city under the stars with your hottie. all the urban beauty of new york without the crowded unpleasantries. I like to think of it as our restaurant. The best service ever. The food is good, but the service...wow.

my eyes are tired...ok, let's go...

Recommends
over a year ago

Full of Flavor – Wow...never had food with such distinct flavors. Food was excellent but the service wasn't too great. I would recommend going just to taste the food....

 

BYOB and Free Corkage in Los Angeles What more can you ask for when dining, than to bring your own bottle of wine that you\'ve been saving…

Additional Business Details

Categories: Restaurants, Californian, French, $$$, B.Y.O.B., Bar Scene, Business Dining, Date Spot, Family-Friendly Dining, Group Dining, Online Reservations, Outdoor Dining, View Dining, American Express Accepted, Diners Club Accepted, Discover Accepted, Mastercard Accepted, Travelers Check, Visa Accepted, Coffeehouses

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