Restaurant Gardens

You know it's a national trend when even the First Family is planting their own garden at the White House. That's why it was about time to write an article about the newest fad sweeping upscale Los Angeles restaurants: the on-site food garden.

Though the prototype of urban sprawl, Los Angeles has also been a huge pioneer in the farm-to-table movement that favors using the freshest locally grown foods to create spontaneous menus. Obviously this type of cooking has been around for a long time, most notably in France and Italy, but Los Angeles has taken it to a whole new level thanks to California's agricultural bounty, and the willingness of our dining demographic to try new and interesting cuisines.

However, many restaurants around town have brought the trend one step closer to home by planting their own on-site gardens. Most of them are still quite small, producing herbs and seasoning for to spice up the menu, or maybe a few varieties of vegetables to use in a limited manner. The trend is just taking off, though, since small-space gardening is back with a vengeance thanks to the confluence of higher transportation costs, a sagging economy that makes growing food a nice alternative to buying more expensive goods at stores or even farmer's markets, and the fact that Los Angeles's perennially sunny climate is particularly suited to growing things all year round, all over the city.

To see a few of the restaurants that are spearheading the trend and doing some interesting things with the crops they are growing, take a look at my feature on