3000 W. Olympic Blvd, Santa Monica, CA | Directions 9040434.030096 -118.462627
Mon-Fri 11:30am-4pm; 5:30pm-11pm
Neighborhoods: West LA, Pico
Rudest Chef I have EVER Met – We went to Stefans at LA Farm Christmas night, for my friend's birthday. There were 8 of us and we had an 8:30 reservation. Upon being seated, they told us they were out of 4 main courses. The service was terrible, which is understandable as it was Christmas the the top servers probably had the night off. The food was eh at best- overcooked Steak Frite.
A few of us gave the manager feedback and expressed our disappointment and rather than apologizing, his reaction was "it happens." Chef Stefan from TOP CHEF was there too. My friend wanted to give him some feedback as it wasnt the greatest dining experience and it was her birthday. When she kindly gave feedback, he told her to "F@CK OFF" which is completely OUTRAGEOUS. They were fighting for several minutes and when a few more of us went over to see what was going on, he told us to F off as well.
Truly excellent food at Stefan's – Stefan has created an exceptional dining experience (at the food level), starting with the bite-sized dishes that are really amuse bouches. Among these, we tried the oyster with absinthe jello, the arincini, the foie gras, and all were perfectly made--textures and flavors were exact hits. This was followed by appetizers of the potato and cured salmon soup, which ranks as one of the best soups I have ever had, and the beef carpaccio with arugula, and both appetizers were appropriately portioned and delicious.
For the main course, we had scallops with crispy prosciutto and the lobster and scallops risotto. The scallops and prosciutto were perfectly cooked and seasoned with decadent flavors. The risotto was equally delicious, with contrasting sweet from the seafood and cream and bitter from spinach. So far, our expectations for the food had been exceeded.
For dessert, we had the trio of sorbets (grapefruit, tangerine, and raspberry) and the peach cobbler.
The sorbets were delicious and refreshing. The cobbler, which was pushed heavily by the waitstaff, was a disappointment. It was not bad, but it was a standout as mundane with an overcooked peach reduction in a tart pastry rather than a true cobbler crust, served with overly frozen and unflavorful vanilla ice cream.
The waitstaff were eager and friendly if not completely knowledgeable on the menu offerings or food-sophisticated in general. The wine list is limited and will disappoint wine snobs, but we found it satisfactory and approachable. Although the menu is not a "budget" menu by any means, the price was actually reasonable for the overall food quality, and if you are an experienced with fine-food restaurants you may be pleasantly surprised with the price.
The environment was pleasant, and the food mostly delicious, so kudos to Stefan on an excellent new venture and welcome addition to L.A.'s fine dining scene!
Wow! Amazing place – As my husband and I were driving home with our sandy, hungry kids from the beach we had a typical back and forth banter of, "where do you want to eat" , "i don't know, where do you want to go". We were were a hair away from a medocre sushi meal, when typical of my husband he pulled LA Farm out of his bag of tricks. It was a place that we drove by a few weeks prior and told ourselves that we wanted to try it out.
We drove up to the valet and I quickly pulled my baseball cap off my head, hoping no one could tell that we weren't exactly prepared for a nice meal. As we walked up to (a very sweet) hostess I recognized someone who i couldn't tell if I went to college with or if I saw her on TV, typical LA moment. It was when I saw Stefan with her that I realized she was on Top Chef and that we walked into a Top Chef contestant's restuarant, this instantly sparked my interest. I spent many moments drooling over top chef food on TV. It did not disappoint! It was amazing, actually!
We started with some small plates, which were perfect little starters for the kids. Granted, it's not the most kid friendly place, if you are looking for a high chair, or crayons, but I knew my little ones were hungry and my little 2 year old will only sit on her knees anyway. We got the pistachios (which they kindly offered to seperate the spicy ones) for my son, who loves them. We got the little burger, the Thai lobster bisque, beef tartare, and fingerling potatoes. All were just a tiny but delicious amuse bouche which really got our palates going.
Then we got the beef carpaccio to share as an appetizer, which just melted in your mouth.
For our main course my husband got the steak frites (typical irish guy!) and I got the braised beef. The braised beef WAS AMAZING!!! Whatever it was served with I would love to know, it was so good. It was some sort of farro and arugula something or other, delicious! Both were at a really great price point and just enough for us to give a few bites to our kids, who also loved the farro! To specify my "cons" section...My kids eat whatever we are eating so it's easy to take them out, but if you are looking for chicken fingers or "kid food" it might not be a good place to take them to, since there isn't a kids meal (which is usually kinda gross anyway) Also, they were so well behaved tonight, thank god, because it didn't really feel like a place that would be very forgiving to a screaming or rambunctous child.
Stefan made a round around the dining room and was really friendly. I haven't had a chef come out and say hello since I lived in NJ, where the chef was practically a part of the family they knew you so well. So it was really nice to see him come out and have a nice chat and a laugh. I saw the sleep creep over the kids eyes so we had a quick medly of homemade ice cream, yummy, which my daughter actually tried to lick the bowl.
The server, Gabriel was so friendly and really attentive. My son adored him and wants to draw him a picture and bring it over to him tomorrow.
Also the music was great. It set the tone for more of a casual setting. I can't remember any of the songs that actually played, but it was songs you would recognize.
It was such a great dining experience and it's a place that you just really want to see do well! He's hiit the home run, now he just has to run the bases!
GREAT FOOD FROM A TOP CHEF – This was a FABULOUS dining experience. Of course, I went because I was a HUGE Stefan fan during Top Chef...and I still think he should've won.
Anyway, my hopes were high for this place when I went on Saturday and the food did not disappoint!
I tried the TRUFFLE ARANCINI WITH LEMON AIOLI, LIKE A BIG MAC, THAI LOBSTER BISQUE WITH COCONUTMILK AND LEMON GRASS, and my friends tried the KUMAMOTO OYSTER WITH ABSINTHE JELLO AND FENNEL VINAIGRETTE. I'm told the oysters were superb (but since I don't eat oysters, my favorite small plate was the lobster bisque).
For appetizers, we tried the FARMERS MARKET RED AND GOLDEN BEETS WITH GOAT CHEESE MOUSSE AND MESCLUN and CELERY ROOT RAVIOLI WITH PANCETTA AND SAGE. We all LOVED the celery root ravioli. Perfectly al dente. I hate to say it, but this ravioli BLEW AWAY the butternut squash ravioli I had at Fabio's Cafe Firenze.
For dinner, we all shared the MINI MUSHROOM RAVIOLI WITH FOIE GRAS AND BLACK TRUFFLES, LOBSTER AND SCALLOP RISOTTO WITH ENGLISH PEAS DILL AND CHAMPAGNE, and BRAISED PORK CHEEK AND CARAWAY SAUSAGE WITH SOURKRAUT PRETZEL DUMPLINGS AND BEERSAUCE. I never had pork cheek before, but it was INCREDIBLY tender and delicious. None of us could stop eating the sourkraut. My friends thought the risotto was just right.
After we literally finished off every piece of food on all the above plates, we were escorted back to the open kitchen area where we got to watch Stefan cook (I jumped up and down several times like a silly school girl when I realized I could very well have eaten something that Stefan cooked!!). He chatted with us and came out from behind the hot kitchen to pose for pictures. He was SUPER nice and friendly.
I LOVED his arrogance and cockiness on the show and I was happy to find that he has the chef skills to back that up. More than the "character" on the show, he's also a GENUINELY nice person.
After all that, we ate some more. For desert, we each had a REDWINE ICECREAM LOLIPOP, and split the MOUSSE AU CHOCOLATE WITH BAUMKUCHEN, NUTELLA CRÈME BRULEE, and LEMON GRASS AND GINGER PANNACOTTA WITH PINEAPPLE COULIS AND GRAPEFRUIT GELEE. Everything except the creme brulee was exceptionally good. The creme brulee was just ok.
The panna cotta was a must have since he made something similar in episode #9 and it was the best desert I've ever had. Each component was perfect. Next time, there's no way in hell I'm sharing this desert with anyone. GET YOUR OWN!!!
The food was beyond my expectations. The service was a bit of a disappointment, but I think the staff is just getting used to things and settling in...so I'm willing to over look the confused look on their faces for now.
Overall, I would highly recommend this place whether or not you watched Top Chef.
Best Dining Experience in LA – The open yet intimate environment was perfect. I would recommend making a reservation (its LA) and check out the wine list!!! This is a must eat location. They also have happy hour and I think a room in the back for private events… double check.
California food at its best – I went there with my wife and had a great lunch. The food and service was exceptional. California cuisine at its best.
Santa Monica's hidden dining gem inside the Lantana Center. – One of the Westside's best kept secrets for more than 20 years is finally primed to get the word out. Even if you've whizzed by this oddly industrial stretch of Olympic Boulevard in Santa Monica a hundred times, chances are you've nary caught a glance of this place. That's because this dining institution (formerly known as L.A. Farm; not to be confused with The Farm of BH) is hidden inside the Lantana Center fortress, the deal-making hub for production heads, celeb handlers and Hollywood movers and shakers. After a couple of makeovers in late 2009, the indoor space features warmer, earthy tones, firepits on the outdoor patio and plenty of room at the bar. Oh yeah, and "Top Chef" Stefan Richter in charge of the kitchen. Serving both lunch and dinner, the kitchen has gone in a bolder direction with unusual California-inspired small plates--think pork cheeks with sauerkraut, parmesan truffle mousse and tuna crudo--and main courses like a buttery whitefish atop a bed of lentil parsnip ragout and baby spinach, topped with micro greens.
Wow, didn't expect that.... – I normal don't take time out to write a review, but this is a hidden germ worth writing about. You dine in a truly relaxing atmosphere, surrounded by attentive and knowledgeable staff and the food is just wonderful. I LOVE the fact that they offer 1/2 orders on the pasta dishes, that leaves enough room for dessert, which are to die for... Don't leave without having the peach cobbler!!
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