Elf Cafe

Around this time six years ago, I attended Sundance for “Saving Face.” My love interest in the movie (the star) was Michelle Krusiec – that film festival kicked off a crazy PR year for us, filled with a ton of travel, and we spent a lot of time together with our significant others by our side.

It’s been way too long since all four of us have caught up over a meal, the way we did on a regular basis in 2005. Last night we met up at Elf Cafe in Echo Park for dinner.


I’ve been hearing about this upscale vegetarian restaurant for years – people raved about the food, but complained about their long waits. Elf recently changed their no-reservation policy, so it was a pleasure to walk in at 7pm last night and have a table waiting for us.


It kinda reminded me of The Green Goddess in New Orleans, especially with the kitchen right in the dining area, behind the bar.



While looking over the menu, we munched on pita chips with chickpea/red pepper dip


A lot of reviews mention their kale salad, but there are 2 listed. I consulted with our friendly waitress, and she recommended the Spicy Moroccan one.


The four of us split this as a starter – it was creamy and definitely had a kick…


…along with one of the specials, a baked mushroom appetizer


Both were terrific (especially the shrooms) and complemented one another really well. We each ordered our own entrees and shared bites with one another.

I got the Moroccan Vegetable Tangine, served over red quinoa with a spicy harissa sauce


It was just okay – loved that it was huge (took half of it home) and filled with fresh farmers market veggies (including brussels sprouts!) but this didn’t taste very different from any stew I could throw together myself by improvising in the kitchen.

Abe’s Baked Tart, with Roasted Tomato/Potato/Caramelized Onions


The problem with this dish? The tomatoes weren’t fully roasted, neither were the potatoes, and the onions were soft and white.


Michelle also had a tart, and Matt ordered the Baked Portobello Mushroom


This was the tastiest of all the main courses – thanks to the goat cheese risotto and port reduction


Overall, I really liked Elf Cafe and its cozy vibe – although the food seems to be hit or miss, there is A LOT on their menu we want to try, so we’ll be back. Hopefully with Matt and Michelle!

Neither of the restaurant’s dessert options sounded appealing to us, so back home we broke into some Breakaway Bakery cookies


I can’t remember the names of these, but they were scrumptious


The elves at the restaurant should learn to bake them!

Elf Cafe on Urbanspoon


17 thoughts on “Elf Cafe

  1. Monet

    So many good restaurants…the tarts looked super yummy…too bad some of the vegetables still needed some love. Thank you for sharing your fun eats with me. I hope you are having a happy and warm Monday. It is cold here in Austin!

  2. MarathonVal

    The Moroccan food sounds amazing!! My parents lived in Morocco for two years in the Peace Corps so I grew up eating Moroccan food, which used to be obscure and unheard of but thankfully it’s become more trendy in food circles… I remember when I was the only person in town that ate cous cous haha, but now it’s the norm!

  3. Walking E

    What – no pictures of the beautiful Michelle? Well, color me disappointed!! By the way, the food looks really good.

  4. Nelle @ Living Cliche

    We were going to go to Elf Cafe for my birthday a couple years ago and were completely foiled by their no-reservation policy. We ended up at CRU instead. Glad to hear they’ve changed it. I will have to try some of their other dishes when I go sometime, I’ll let you know if they have more flavor!

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