Communal dining is making a big impact on America’s great food cities. Plates have become more shareable and are often served family style, so why not have the dining experience be a group activity, too? Here are 11 favorite communal tables at LA. restaurants.
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Numbered establishments on the map correspond to information below for easy reference. Establishments also appear in alphabetical order instead of in order of preference.
1. A-Frame: At A-Frame, the whole atmosphere is communal; it’s got a neighborhood feel, an A-frame structure with an open atmosphere, and high ceilings. All dishes are meant to be shared and all the tables are communal (I’ve even shared a four-top). Knibb Design crafted the space, tables, and benches. The tabletops are reclaimed Douglas fir and the angle iron frame is powder-coated.
A-Frame isn’t the only Roy Choi place with a communal dining setup, but, and according to him, “A-Frame is the only place where [sharing food] is actually part of its DNA.” (Photo courtesy of A-Frame)
2. Canelé: The communal table at this charming Atwater Village cafe can seat 10-12 (or more if the party is willing to squeeze in). The table is made of walnut and was sourced and assembled by Bonhoff lumber. Canelé chef/owner Corina Weibel and general manager/owner Jane Choi designed and stained this table, along with all the other tables, floors, and the entire space.
Some of Canelé’s most popular dishes include the brandade, paté, and salt-roasted branzino.
3. Drago Centro: Drago Centro, one of the great Downtown establishments, comes from Executive Chef Celestino Drago and serves contemporary Italian dishes. The communal table at Drago Centro is made of marble and designed by AM Cabinets.
While the restaurant is undeniably on the fancier side of dining, they have an all-day happy hour that is available at the communal table. So if you don’t want to splurge on dinner, take a seat at the marble table and order up a calzone; we hear they’re quite good.
4. Eveleigh: Nick Mathers reclaimed barn wood from a church in the South and incorporated it into the design for The Eveleigh’s three communal tables, which seat anywhere from 2-14.
The Eveleigh, which overlooks the city up on the Sunset Strip, has one of the best ambiances you’ll find in LA. The décor, view, and architecture of this restaurant really make you feel like you’re anywhere but LA. And since the atmosphere makes such an impact, it’s fitting that the Chef doesn’t make over-the-top dishes. He likes to keep his food simple, only using the best and freshest ingredients; he’ll get fish directly from fishermen and vegetables directly from farmers. (Photo courtesy of Eveleigh)
5. Fundamental LA: The team behind Fundamental LA designed the restaurant themselves. They had a carpenter mill the tables and benches and had a welder create the frames so Fundamental LA could assemble everything. There are four tables, made of solid white oak, which each seat 8 people.
All of the dishes here are meant to be shared, but a fan favorite is the carrot risotto with mint and Manchego. The owners have tried to create a restaurant which connects their background in fine dining and their affection for a neighborhood restaurant. By creating a place at which they want to eat, they’ve also created a place that we love.
6. Hinoki & the Bird: Globe-trotting chef David Myers and one of his culinary lieutenants, Kuniko Yagi, opened this contemporary Asian restaurant on a Century City side street, at the base of a condo complex called The Century. At the base of the stairs, by the entrance, and overlooking the dining room, you’ll find a communal table crafted from copper. It hosts six mismatched wooden hightop stools and bathes in the glow of three cup-shaped copper lanterns.