At chef/owner Thomas Sandi's new Provençal cafe, Tartine 'O' Chocolat on West Third, the look and feel is more South-of-France than slick Parisian. The casual cafe and pastry shop opened just two weeks ago across from Cedars-Sinai.
Take a peek behind the baristas, through the windows into the kitchen, and you'll spot pastry chef Stephane Treand (who owns his own culinary school in Orange County). He's at the bakery every morning, churning out croissants, cream-filled brioche twists, Calissons d'Aix, chocolates, and all manner of elaborate cakes and tarts. The shop also sells macarons and chocolates, as well as crisp butter cookies and sweet puddings.
The breakfast through dinner menu, designed by Sandi, depends on classics like Salad Niçoise and a bechemel-laden croque monsieur, but the pan bagnat, a tuna salad sandwich en français, is a stand-out. The bread is crisp but soft, and cradles meaty tuna, fruity olive oil, ripe summer tomatoes, fresh herbs, and a ribbon of aioli.
Tartine 'O' Chocolate is now open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner daily.
Tartine 'O' Chocolate, 8556 W. 3rd St., Los Angeles, (310) 275-4235, tartineochocolat-hub.com