Kid Hit Menu Items: We typically go to Canelé as a family during brunch, and boy, is there PLENTY of stuff to please. Two words: Sticky buns. We’ve also had fights over the house-cured and apple-smoked bacon. And over who gets the last bite of whatever burrata and seasonal fruit or roasted beet salad is on the table, along with the baked pancake served with a tangy creamy Meyer lemon custard ($4.50). I adore the thick funky potatoes cooked to a crisp in a cast iron skillet.
Adult Perks: The challenge of Canelé is resisting the urge to order the entire brunch menu, because unless you can spend the remainder of the day splayed on a couch in recovery mode, it’s best to exercise some restraint. There are mimosas with fresh juice, and the brewed coffee is quite good. We usually do brunch family style, but the other week one of our dining companions wanted the entire hash with fried duck egg ($11.50) to herself. Understood, and wish granted.
At dinner, Canelé is an ideal neighborhood spot, with a blackboard menu listing the market-driven and down-to-earth menu items that are prepared in the open kitchen. Since the owner and a lot of the staff are members of the Goin Alumni camp, the philosophy and style reflects that sort of “rustic” (please excuse cliché), honest, yet technically skillful cooking that’s tied to our region but also brings in a lot of France and a little bit of Italy. I’d bring kids to dinner, but definitely on the early side just like any other nicer-than-average place.
Pros: The Atwater Village farmers’ market on Sundays (with Big Mista’s!) coincides with Canelé brunch, so you can plant two trees with one seed. The communal table in the front window is great for managing the restless ones. Staff is super nice and helpful, and they’ll bring you plastic cups. The room is well-worn and has seen its share of use, so no need to worry about the preciousness of every little thing. The sidewalk scene on Glendale Blvd. in Atwater is lively, plus there’s the bird store down the street which makes for a fun and educational stop should you need to get out of the restaurant.
Cons: Tables are kind of tightly packed.A lovely special of gazpacho toasts with cured local tuna, soft cooked egg, anchovy & avocado. And those potatoes.
Changing Station: No
High Chairs: Yes
Parking and Access: Street parking either on Glendale or on the residential side streets is usually pretty easy.
Other Tidbits: About four years in (I’ll always remember it opened 2006, because my first meal at Canelé was shortly before I had my first baby), Canelé has become a neighborhood staple. Atwater’s transition has been somewhat gradual over the years, and there’s been that no-longer-a-sleepy-suburb kind of change that’s affected Eagle Rock as folks priced out of Silver Lake and Los Feliz have crossed the L.A. River. Since Canelé took over the former Osteria Nonni space and made relatively few changes in its cool quasi-Deco building, other new businesses have followed (55 Degrees, Viet Noodle Bar, etc). Yet Club Tee Gee is still there, along with the casket showroom and funeral home, tennis shop, and other small businesses. Canelé didn’t wind up as an agent of gentrification in the neighborhood; instead it eased its way in, and people come from near and far for the outstanding roast chicken, maybe a whole roasted branzino when available, boeuf Bourguignon, duck confit, pissaladiere, pommes anna, and the inventive but not crazy veggie side dishes and salads.
3219 Glendale Blvd., Atwater Village
Cuisine: Seasonal, Market-Driven, French influenced, Cal-Med
Price: $$ brunch; $$$ dinner
Hours: Tuesday and Wednesday, 5:30 – 10 p.m.; Thursday – Saturday, 5:30 – 10:30 p.m.; Sunday dinner, 5 – 10 p.m.; Saturday & Sunday brunch, 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.