Alamy
Rachel B. Levin
February 05, 2015

Amid the urban sprawl and Hollywood glamour, it's sometimes tough to remember that Los Angeles was once dominated by citrus orchards and cattle ranches. In the 1950s, Los Angeles was the top agricultural county in the US. Today, as the farm-to-table and urban gardening movements have exploded, LA restaurants are increasingly tipping their hats to the city's agrarian past by sourcing their produce and meats from local (often organic and sustainable) farmers, ranchers, and even backyard home growers. You might even say that farm-to-table restaurants have been "cropping up" like mushrooms in recent years! At these tasty spots, the ingredients are as farm fresh as can be, and, accordingly, the seasonal menus are constantly in flux. Plus, the emphasis is on "real" food handcrafted in the kitchen—whether that means butchering and curing their own meats, baking their own breads, or making that mustard for your grass-fed burger from scratch.

Salt's Cure

Talk about farm-to-table: no ingredient travels longer than six hours (by car) to arrive at this New American kitchen. Though the daily-changing menu is limited to what fits on a small chalkboard, there's nothing undersized about the portions or the pure flavors, whether it's a thick-cut, butchered-to-order pork chop or a plate of roasted carrots.

Forage

Can produce get any more local? At this hip gourmet deli, a portion of the fruits and veggies comes from backyard gardeners in the city. So you'll really get a taste of LA when you sample one of their bountiful salads, which can be paired with juicy proteins like rotisserie chicken or grilled salmon.

Industriel

This au courant downtown eatery bills its "urban farm cuisine" as old-country French fare like grandma makes—if grandma had sleeve tattoos. Don't be surprised to find absinthe in your bouillabaisse! Veggies come from daily farmers’ market trips, and everything from the goat cheese to the bread is prepared in-house.

Malibu Farm

It's like something out of Portlandia: this eatery at the end of the Malibu Pier is a place where the organic, free-range chicken you ordered was actually raised on the restaurant's local farm where he had a name. Farm scrambled eggs, grass-fed burgers, and seasonal salads bring the barn to the 'Bu.

Cooks County

Rustic accents like stools made from old tractor seats and servers' burlap aprons set the scene for farm-fresh American fare at this chic yet down-to-earth eatery. The restaurant sources its ingredients from local farmers and ranchers, and you'll taste the difference that makes in simple yet flavorful dishes like pan-roasted trout and peach salad.

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