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Monday, September 26, 2016

Eastside’s best kept burger secret is hiding at the bar at Silver Lake’s Cafe Stella

By Valentina Silva

If there’s one thing to be proud of as an Angeleno, it’s our burger heritage. Let the New Yorkers and Chicagoans ridicule our pizza. We can take it because neither can touch the prevalence of good burgers in L.A. Not even close. You can get a fine burger fix in almost any pocket of our fair city. Heck, maybe the whole county – even Norwalk, the none-too-culinary suburb where I grew up, has at least three decent charbroil places that I can think of.

We’re blessed with burgers.

There is one place, however, where it is hard to find one: Café Stella. That’s because their rather perfect burger is only on the bar menu. And if you’ve ever been to the Silver Lake restaurant at night, then you know that it’s not exactly easy to snag a seat in the teeny bar. I would say it’s worth the trouble, though. It’s also worth begging for if you end up in the main dining room.

The Stella bar burger ($14) is served on a wooden board, along with ketchup, Dijon mustard and aioli. The bun is toasted on the grill until crispy but is still soft enough to collapse onto the burger once you pick it up. There’s no cheese to be seen, which would normally be an issue for me, but the Roquefort that’s mixed into the beef is very satisfying, adding a kick while doing its part to keep the patty moist and dripping-ly juicy. A sweet roasted tomato, grilled onions and butter lettuce are also in the mix.

I add a bit of all the sauces to my burger, but I reserve most for the big cone of thin and crispy herbed french fries, which are part of the deal. If you want to take it to the limit, you can have them doused in truffle oil. I know I would if I were you.

Details:  Café Stella | 3932 Sunset Blvd. Silver Lake,  90029 | (323) 666-0265

Valentina Silva is a regular contributor writing about food and restaurants. You can also find Valentina’s reviews and stories on her new blog, Eastside Food Bites.
Photo by Valentina Silva



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8 comments

  1. Partial to The Park’s Wednesday burger night myself….tasty terrific.

  2. $14!? I’ll be at Jim’s in Boyle Heights.

  3. @ Will I like Jim’s, too, and most other charbroil places, but there’s nothing wrong with spending some coin on a good burger. The meat quality on the Stella burger is topnotch, and in my opinion, well worth the price.

    @ mimij Thanks for the tip!

  4. The burger at the Hungry cat is even more yummy!

  5. Agreed… Hungry Cat’s Pug Burger is the best in town. Nothing beats the holy trinity of bleu cheese, bacon, and avocado. You can also recreate the Pug at The Fix in Silver Lake for about half the price, but just as delicious.

  6. This has baby-free date night written all over it. Thanks so much for sharing this local tip!

  7. Sorry. Had the burger at Cafe Stella and it was terrible. The bun was stale and the meat was way overcooked. I asked for medium rare and they gave me well done. Inconsistent maybe?

  8. Danny.. you probably haven’t been there in a while because since Exec Chef Spencer Bezaire has been there you would never find a well done burger unless (unfortunately) requested. That burger is amazing, blue cheese, caramelized onions and tomato confit speaks for itself.

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