Made from deliciously moist and tender chunks of artichoke surrounded by shreds of spinach and cheese, the artichoke dip is one of the most popular classic appetizer menu items of all time. Whether it was a home-spun soiree or quiet bite at a local pub, the artichoke dip was the dish to serve.
Over the years, items like Buffalo wings, restaurant-style tater tots, calamari, fried cheese and that crazy Allium from down under, the Bloomin' Onion, have garnered the top spots for the most ordered pre-meal snacks, making the artichoke dip one of the more elusive menu items. Yet, the cult-like popularity of the artichoke dip keeps it alive and bubbling, and die-hard fans of the gooey stuff know where to get it. Here are the top five places to find it in L.A.
Hours: Mon-Thurs: 11 a.m. – Midnight; Fri: 11 a.m. – Midnight; Sat: 8 a.m. – Midnight; Sun: 8 a.m. – 11 p.m.
This mom-and-pop-owned restaurant offers a menu as diverse as Echo Park itself. Masa has a unique blend of "comfort style bistro food" using old family recipes and combining Italian, French, Spanish, Cuban and Chicago - Midwest - American cuisine. Here the hearty artichoke dip has rich, roasted red peppers and is served with a Masa Cuban roll.
Hours: Sun-Wed: 11:30 a.m. - 10 p.m.; Thurs: 11:30 a.m. – 10:30 pm.; Fri-Sat: 11:30 a.m. – 11 p.m.
Before it was Rock'n Fish it was the beloved Manhattan Beach landmark, the Hibachi Restaurant, from 1960 until 2000. As a show of appreciation for history and tradition of that establishment, Rock'n Fish still serves some of Hibachi's signature items amongst many new contemporary dishes. Served with veggies, salsa and tortilla chips, the rock'n spinach and artichoke dip may be under the appetizers section of the menu, but this portion is large enough for a meal.
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Hours: Sun-Thurs: 11 a.m. – Midnight or later; Fri-Sat: 11: a.m. – 1:20 a.m.
If on your quest for artichoke dip you happen to be in the mood for classic rock music, a diverse menu of American fare and an obscenely large selection of draft beer, then the Yard House is for you. With locations also in Pasadena, Long Beach, San Diego, Irvine, Palmdale and many others, you won't have to go far to find one. And even if you do, it'll be worth it. Yard House's version has a crustacean twist: lobster and blue crab.
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Price: Under $10
The Grove is famous for more than celebrity watching, as it is home to some of LA's more acceptable chain restaurants like Maggiano's Little Italy. Amongst the bruschetta and the jumbo lump crab cakes, you'll find the spinach and artichoke al forno baked with asiago cheese and alfredo sauce. But be warned; it's only on the dinner menu.
The Improv has showcased some of the funniest people on the planet like Chelsea Handler, Jerry Seinfeld, Jon Lovitz, Andy Kauffman and Hal Sparks to name a few (OK, maybe not Hal Sparks). While you may not think to go to a comedy club for food, The Improv has a respectable menu and an incredibly tasty spinach artichoke dip with bubbling with Monterey Jack cheese. So get your eat and your laugh on as food counts towards that two items per person minimum.
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Kristine G. Bottone is a writer living in Los Angeles. Her work can be found at http://www.examiner.com/la-bartender-in-los-angeles/kristine-g-bottone
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