Chateau Marmont: Stylish Mediterranean on the Sunset Strip

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Hotel Sign Los Angeles

Chateau Marmont is synonymous with Sunset Strip celebrity culture.

Chateau Marmont is best known as a celebrity haven, with a patio dining area that gets so dark that they can remain anonymous for the night. Of course not all celebrities prefer anonymity, so there’s also a wide-open lounge that practically begs people to check each other out. There were indeed celebrities on our visit, including, Claire Danes, Spanish chef José Andrés and Adrian Grenier (“Entourage”). Thankfully, now that Chef Carolynn Spence is heading the kitchen, the famed Sunset Strip hotel deserves mention for more than just celebs and debauchery.

Spence is an affable New Jersey native who built her reputation working for April Bloomfield at The Spotted Pig in Manhattan’s West Village. At Bar Marmont, she features a somewhat similar complement of shareable small plates. At Chateau Marmont’s restaurant, she specializes in hearty Mediterranean cooking.

Salad Los Angeles

Mozzarella di Bufala, Prosciutto & Arugula ($15) is a seemingly simple dish, but turned out to be completely satisfying in Spence’s hands, with lightly dressed leaves, a creamy cheese ball and rosy Italian ham.

Pasta Los Angeles

Ricotta Ravioli ($21) came with roasted tomatoes, broccoli rabe and a Parmesan dusting. The tomato’s acidity was a good match for the broccoli’s bitterness and the mild but fluffy ricotta.

Duck Los Angeles

Each night of the week, Spence offers a special. Wednesday’s special consisted of Coriander Duck Breast ($30) with sour cherry shallot relish and creamy polenta. The duck was expertly cooked, not too rare and with a hint of pink. Sour cherries were a nice choice, fairly tart and not too sweet. Polenta had just the right textural balance, wasn’t overly soupy. Spinach added some good color.

Dessert Los Angeles

Salted Pistachio Crumble ($12) has become Spence’s signature dessert. The moist Med-inspired cake was pistachio-studded, topped with a scoop of pistachio gelato and drizzled with pistachio sauce.

Dessert Los Angeles

Bittersweet Chocolate Pudding ($12) was rich but delicious, a cup holding striations of crumbled Oreo crumbs, dulce de leche, whipped cream, and milk chocolate pudding. The texturally rich dessert was accented with a milk chocolate cylinder and a big dollop of whipped cream strewn with more crushed Oreos.

Chef Tattoo Los Angeles

Carolynn Spence joined us tableside to chat. She’s so committed to food that she has an asparagus tattoo on her forearm, since she likes Cynar, a digestif with an artichoke label. She’s also inked with a carrot (hear), onion (see) and celery (speak no evil).

The Chateau Marmont mystique was in full effect during our dinner. More importantly, the food was flavorful and comforting. We all plan to return for Chef Spence’s cooking.


Joshua Lurie

Joshua Lurie founded FoodGPS in 2005. Read about him here.

Blog Comments

yeah, the desserts look great. could be a nice stop after a good dinner.

I love the Salted Pistachio Crumble… my husband and I go there just for that!

jose andres – was he there for the food, or to reaffirm that he’s a celebrity chef?

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