Fred Segal Mauro Cafe, Los Angeles

When I had my unexpected and last minute trip to the USA, I had a 24-hour stopover on the way home in LA.  Em asked me what I would like to do on my one-day stopover and I couldn’t think of how I could fit LA into 12 hours so we threw our hands up in the air and just went to lunch.

Casual outdoor dining

Casual outdoor dining

Driving around LA it became obvious that there is little that is similar between New York and Los Angeles.  Given the challenges of getting around, I think many people living in LA, if given the choice would prefer to live in New York.  However, my sister and her husband are part of a large group whose work keeps them living in Los Angeles.  Another consideration is that if you are regularly returning to Australia to visit family, it’s a much shorter flight from LA than it is from New York.

Mauro's Cafe, Fred Segal on Melrose Avenue

Fred Segal Mauro Cafe on Melrose Avenue

It was a day of around 100F (37C) and there were clear blue skies over the city which my sister said is standard.  We drove along ugly multi-lane roads that were choked with cars and behind the wheel were drivers who refuse to let you in and if you show courtesy to them they never give you the wave.  It’s brutal and ruthless on LA roads.

A good place for a drink on a 100F day

A good place for a drink on a 100F day

Pulling off the ugly road and arriving in Beverly Grove was like finding an oasis.  Beverly Grove is a small neighbourhood in the central part of LA close to Beverly Hills and West Hollywood.  There’s  a smart shopping centre where chauffeurs illegally double-park while their celebrity employers rush in to luxury shops to pick up the next must-have.

Interior

Paved floor, linen tablecloths and I love the fairy lights

Fred Segal is an iconic and upmarket smaller-scaled department store selling designer clothes, handbags and cosmetics.  Part of Fred Segal is Mauro Cafe that serves Italian cuisine and is trendy, upmarket, elegant and known for its celebrity sightings.  A bonus feature is that there’s a private parking lot taking away the stress of struggling to find a park.

Love organic sourced produce

Love organic sourced produce

On this beautiful summer’s day a lot of diners were preferring to sit at the outdoor tables but we were hot enough and went for a table inside.  The cafe is buzzing and with the paved brick flooring, it’s noisy yet not so noisy Em and I have to scream at each other.  The waiters look smart and are casually dressed in jeans and very efficient.

Cotes de Provence, Whispering Angel, France $15.00

Cotes de Provence, Whispering Angel, France $15.00

We were offered the wine list and ordered two glasses of Cotes de Provence, Whispering Angel.  Whispering Angel is made by Brad and Angelina at their winery in France.  The wine is a rose in the palest hue of pink that’s clean and crisp and served very chilled, is a perfect summer’s wine.

Complimentary bread

Complimentary bread and olives

A variety of complimentary breads arrived in a yellow bowl along with a small dish of olives.  We enjoyed these while looking over the menu.  It was refreshing to see that a lot of the produce sourced by the cafe is organic or free-range and the beef is farm-raised.  We shared an entree of Bresaola Carparccio & Arugula (rocket).  The serving was generous and the bresaola paper-thin and enhanced by the shaved parmesan.  This was a great start to our meal.

Bressaola Carpaccio & Arugola $16.00

Bressaola Carpaccio & Arugola $16.00

We couldn’t take our eyes off the pasta section where the menu advises that gluten-free and wholewheat pastas are available.  Em ordered Spaghetti Aglio Olio with fresh garlic, parsley and chilli pepper flakes swirled in extra virgin olive oil.  Her pasta was very light with a great kick of chilli.

Spaghetti Aglio Olio $12.00

Spaghetti Aglio Olio $12.00

I ordered the Penne Con Porcini which was porcini mushrooms with a sherry wine cream sauce.  This was beautifully rich, very glossy and with strong cheese and porcini mushroom flavours.  It was a struggle to finish but I managed it.

Penne Con Porcini $18.00

Penne Con Porcini $18.00

We asked to have a look at the dessert menu and rather than having it presented in word form, the actual choices are presented on a platter in front of you.  There were a lot of temptations but after my rich pasta I opted for the homemade Oreo cookie while Em chose a couple of macarons.

The selection of desserts

The selection of desserts

The Oreo cookie was very dark and rich with a strong cocoa flavour while the icing was mild and smooth without being sickly-sweet.  The macarons were quickly devoured and just a little tempting sweetness to finish off the meal.  They went especially well with a coffee.

Desserts - macarons with a homemade oreo cookie

Desserts – macarons $2.50 with a homemade oreo cookie $2.00

Then the check arrived and I loved how it came with a few little treats.  These were peppermints and I scooped them into my handbag to enjoy on my flight home.

A small coffee

A small coffee

Fred Segal Mauro Cafe is in Beverly Grove which is a very beautiful part of LA set back from the ugly main roads.  It is an upmarket and trendy cafe offering clean, fresh Italian cuisine that uses well-sourced produce.  As well as a great dining experience, this is a great place to people-watch.

I love it when the check comes with treats

I love it when the check comes with treats

Verdict:  An oasis

Fred Segal Mauro Cafe:  8112 Melrose Avenue, Los Angeles CA 90046

 

Comments

  1. Well, that all looked gorgeous! I’m glad that your last meal in America was a great one! You are so brave going to Italian restaurants. I never go because I am always disappointed! I’m going to give an old but well recommend one a go on the coast soon! Liz x

  2. Love the desserts platter. Wanna try ‘em all!

    Julie
    Gourmet Getaways

  3. Wow New Zealand (well some parts of NZ) can learn from some of those restaurants you went to. So when are you planning the next trip, maybe with Carl next time and hopefully longer :)

  4. This place looks great – so sunny and open and the food looks great. I did not know that Brad and Angelina had a winery – let alone that you could buy their wine! NYC stomps all over LA for ease of getting around. If I could marry the LA climate with NYC’s public transport, life would be good.

  5. I have never been to LA but your comments comparing it to New York make me think I may not like it very much! The roads sound very scary, but it would be an experience worth having / seeing at least once. How lovely to have the day with your sister though, and to fit in such a lovely lunch.

  6. I’ve traveled through LA but over my lifetime have spent less than 5 full days in LA. It used to be the smog that got me but the sheer congestion of the place depresses me. I think I’d like the Mauro Cafe though!

  7. How nice that you got to spend some quality time with your sister before heading home! It looks you found a wonderful respite from the craziness of LA :)

  8. I used to think I didn’t like LA, having been a bit snobby about having spent summers in San Francisco (very different indeed), but after getting to know it better when my son lived there for four years, we came to be friends. Am glad you at least got to see a bit of it and eat well –and spend time with Em and family. Sounds like a nice way to break up what must have been a really long flight home.

  9. Gorgeous, lush photos, Charlie.
    Love that baby coffee & the fairy lights))!
    the first time I was in LA, I was like, “How the hell do we get to that lane?’
    you see, we are not used to 6 lanes in MN!!
    x xx

  10. Am smiling at the Brangelina aspect! Bet those two are using their fame to make more than a fortune in ways we may not envisage!! Nice classic offering of the carpaccio and the oglio et alio!! A wee bit expensive at a $130 for two, but the site itself I guess is worth the money . . . My brief but passionate marriage to husband #2 taught me a lifetime of food knowledge amongst other matters: he only would have his pasta that way . . . I still oft do!!!!!!

  11. G’day! Sounds like a fun place to experience…glad you enjoyed and have another memorable and positive dining experience about the US and bet you can’t wait to return!
    Cheers! Joanne

  12. What was the coffee like Charlie? Thats one thing I totally miss when I travel, Id totally trip to this joint if you thought it was good. Seems a little bit expensive for 2 peeps, but worth it for the lovely dining experience. Could go a plate of the Carparccio, looks devine! :)

  13. Loving that dessert tray! I think you would have to roll me home after that big feast!

  14. That home-made Oreo looks amazing. What a chic little place you discovered in LA :)

  15. I walked around Fred Segal years and years ago and remember feeling like I was in another world.. well, all of Los Angeles felt like that to me I guess. I love New York, but the warm temperatures in LA would be mighty tempting for this Canadian gal:D Loved your choices.. esp those macarons!

  16. What a delightful place! :-) I lived in California for years but never made it to Fred Segal. :-)

  17. What a lovely place to eat some decent food! :)
    Lucky you that you have your sister in LA! :)

  18. So happy my son-in-law relocated from LA to Minnesota and did not move my daughter there after their marriage.

    Glad you found a respite in the craziness.

  19. Love the look of the braesola platter…one of my faves. Sounds like a great spot to enjoy lunch. I also didn’t know that Whispering Angel was Brad and Angelina’s winery. I think I’ve had that rose.

  20. I really like the look of your delicious cookie-dessert platter, what a gorgeous oreo :D
    Probably tastes even better too!
    And yes, lollies with the cheque is a great idea!

    Cheers
    Choc Chip Uru

  21. I agree with you on the crazy roads and how hard it is to get around! That is why I don’t miss living in LA!! :) Looks like you found some neat spots, though!

  22. The entree looks just lovely Charlie, and how nice to find gluten free pasta- I would have definitely chosen that too! I’m glad you just decided to enjoy some time out with your sister rather than race around trying to see everything in just a few hours. It must have been wonderful to catch up with her on her home turf :) xox

  23. You make me laugh. Yes, our traffic and the highways are incredibly congested. I’m not inclined to take up the habit of waving to anyone on the road, however. My hand gesture could be misinterpreted. And maybe next time Em can take you on some of the prettier roads. LOL! Lunch looked divine! I didn’t know Brad and Angelina were making wine “in their spare time.” I’m eager to find a bottle. :-)

  24. I love that they have gluten-free options! Awesome. Now, are their sauces gluten-free as well?!? ;) Your pasta dish looked amazing! And the homemade Oreo… OMG!!!

  25. Even though the place looks a little claustrophobic with regard to table placement, the foods looks and sounds very tasty.

  26. In my mind, Australia is like LA, driving around to everywhere and nice comfortable weather all year around. This restaurant looks pretty and sounds nice too! Hope to visit Australia one day. :)

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