Looking for a unique experience in Culver City after years of trudging to the same old haunts? New to the area? Don’t know anywhere to take and impress friends visiting town? We’ve got a few recommendations for you to check out. Some are unique, others are hipster chic, and still others are just strange- but all of them provide a service, product, or experience that’s something very special.
1. Copenhagen Pastry
11113 Washington Blvd . As the first authentic Danish pastry shop in California, Copenhagen was already unique when it first opened in 2012. Now, it’s unique in that it may be one of the best bakeries in Los Angeles. Every pastry at Copenhagen is fresh baked throughout the day, and the staff is incredibly good at guiding you through the options. The huge variety of pastries can be overwhelming, from apple Danish (dairy-free) to romkugle (a dense chocolate cake bite made with, you guessed it, rum) to traditional kranse (a gluten-free almond flour cake), but don’t worry- everything is delicious. They also serve tea and coffee to go with their lovely pastries.
2. The Blind Barber
10797 Washington Blvd . This little barbershop gives great cuts during the day, and their rates include a glass of wine or beer while you get your haircut. The stylists are nice and the barbershop has a very 50s feel, with lots of chrome, but the real star of the show is the transformation that takes place every night. After eight, the barbershop reopens as a speakeasy. The surprisingly large bar in the back room has friendly bartenders, serves fantastic (and strong) drinks, and good DJs spinning it up all night. The place is packed with a hip crowd and a line outside well before midnight, but the speakeasy vibe doesn’t get lost with the popularity. The place oozes cool and is a great first stop after dinner on a Saturday night.
3. Grand Casino Bakery & Café
3826 Main St . Grand Casino is a Culver City institution, having recently celebrated 30 years in Downtown Culver City. The bakery makes bread, pastries, and cakes, and the restaurant serves up simple and fresh Argentinean fare. Both the café and bakery have a relaxed ambiance, and guests are free to stay for a few hours at a time. The empanadas, traditionally fried, are baked instead for a lighter, healthier pastry, and the breakfast and brunch options, like Abuela’s Pascualina (a spinach, ham, and egg tart), are tasty and filling. Recommended from the bakery are the alfajores, hand cut cookies sandwiched with dulce de leche, and the cuatro leches cake, a tres leches cake with a drizzle of dulce de leche.
4. The Museum of Jurassic Technology
9341 Venice Blvd .The Museum of Jurassic Technology isn’t so much a museum as it is the love child of a classic horror film and a crazed German collector of uniquities. It may just be the physical embodiment of Mel Brooks’ Young Frankenstein. Regardless, it’s an interesting spot- the exhibits are so strange and the whole museum so surreal that you’ll likely leave wondering what just happened. It’s fun to go through with a friend and then try to figure out which (if any) exhibits are real while you enjoy the upstairs tearoom. Tea and ginger snaps are free with admission, but being surrounded by dogs while a strange man plays violin to the doves is priceless.
10834 ½ Washington Blvd. The true definition of hole-in-the-wall, Shikibu is tiny and easily missed from the street. Only seating six people inside at the bar, this feels like an extremely private experience with their exquisite sushi. All the sushi is made with soft, delicious, and healthy brown rice, and the pieces of fish are cut into generous portions. The husband (chef) and wife (server and host) team who run the restaurant are kind, if a bit eccentric. There are multiple handwritten signs telling patrons how to behave in a sushi bar, but they’re actually quite cute. The couple is careful to select organic produce and quality ingredients, and the food shows their consideration.
6. lastly, ChocoVivo
12469 Washington Blvd
if you didn't know, we are the first bean-to-bar chocolate factory in Los Angeles, ChocoVivo has a unique take on all things chocolate. For first-timers, a chocolate drink or tasting flight is a good introduction to the style of chocolate and different flavors the shop carries. Every month, there’s a limited edition chocolate like Lavender & Blueberries or Pineapple, Hemp & Coconut and a number of events for chocolate lovers. In the past, there have been heirloom chocolate tastings, chocolate and liquor pairings, film screenings, and jazz nights. This place is also a great stop for gifts like a simple chocolate bar or a lovely rose- scented chocolate body oil, with free gift wrapping, or, for five dollars, gifts can boxed with a process notebook describing how the chocolate is sourced and made.
List by ChocoVivo chocolate expert and Culver City native, Amaris Bellord