MELROSE AVENUE CAFÉ SHINES
I’ve said it before and I’m saying it again, two pastimes that are quintessential Los Angeles are people-watching and dining al fresco. And on trendy Melrose Avenue you can do both to excess.
I’ve spotted and walked by cute Fratelli Café for years. Open since 2008, this charming European-style café is located in the heart of Melrose Avenue and is the perfect blend between a laid back hangout and a go-to spot for quality, hearty fare that caters to every taste and dietary restriction offering full vegan and vegetarian substitutions as well as dairy and gluten free options. It’s the ideal place to grab a cup of coffee, smoothie or a full meal, including breakfast all day.
During our recent visit for brunch, I was taken by the restaurant’s intimate neighborhood feel while offering a relaxed atmosphere. Since, to me anyways, brunch doesn’t exist without a drink in hand, we started with an order of Micheladas made with a homemade mix along with Mexican beer in a chilled pint glass with a salted rim. You even get the leftover Modelo beer in the can. After the Micheladas, I switched over to the True Romance Mimosasa, including the Mango Acai Berry, although I was partial to the classic OJ version.
Before I even start talking about brunch, let me just say that if you ever see the Corn Soup on the menu, get it! It was absolutely delicious. My friend said he is no fan of corn soup but was over the moon about this item. It’s a crowd favorite for good reason. I’ll be back just for this soup.
Now, as for brunch, we started our brunch bonanza with The New Burrito—yeah, it’s a new addition to the menu. This beefy beast comes with egg, chorizo, bell peppers, black beans, potatoes, jalapeños and cheddar cheese. Nice and spicy, this bad boy burrito is enough for a Grade A breakfast (or brunch) as it is extremely hearty and satisfying but we didn’t stop there.
A favorite of ours were the breakfast tacos, which we found to be absolutely ‘bomb’ tacos. The standout for us was The Chiquito made with scrambled eggs, chorizo, salsa, avocado, and topped with queso fresco. Likewise, we were mad for the great sauce on the Mr. Phil made with scrambled eggs, tofu, eggplant, onions, cilantro and house-made aioli—and I’m no eggplant fan.
We took our waitress’ recommendation and opted for the Simply Kale omelet. Made with eggs, kale, squash and goat cheese, it was nice to have a “healthy” item for brunch but we thought this option was just OK. It was simple and I felt we would have been better off with something more flavorful. But if you’re a non-meat eater, this will get the job done.
If you came hungry, the Croissanwiches served with your choice of potatoes, fruit or cottage cheese is a good way to go. The Classic, prepared with eggs, turkey bacon and mozzarella cheese will not disappoint.
I like the fact that there are a lot of green and healthy options to choose from. We tried the Arugula Citrus salad, prepared with arugula, cherry tomatoes, radishes, avocado, oranges and goat cheese but found it pretty bland. Sadly, it definitely wasn’t all that.
Dishes that do not disappoint are the tartines served on rustic or whole grain bread with your choice of potatoes or salad as your side dish. The Manhattan tartine is great if you’re a fax of lox—and I am a fan of lox! Served with lox, avocado, capers, pine nuts and olive oil topped with a poached egg, this is great brunch food. Likewise, the Freeport, made with prosciutto, house-made fig jam, arugula and goat cheese was our favorite tartine. It was just loaded with tremendous taste.
While you may have passed by Fratelli Café while walking the beat on Melrose Avenue, it’s worth a visit—if not for the fine fare then for the opportunity to stop, chill and take in the sights along busy and trendy Melrose. Neither will let you down.
Fratelli Café is located at 7200 Melrose Avenue. Hours: Monday - Thursday: 7am to 7pm; Friday - Sunday: 7am to 6pm. Call 323-938-2233.
Story by Jose Martinez
Photography Courtesy Of: Fratelli Café