Street Smart: Melrose Place


Antique stores once lined this secluded, tree-shaded corridor just north of Melrose Avenue and east of La Cienega Boulevard. In the ’90s, the neighborhood also became synonymous with the beautiful lives of L.A.’s young professionals on the prime-time soap Melrose Place, though the picturesque apartment building was actually in Los Feliz. Nowadays the beautiful people really do frequent the street, which is home to trend-conscious boutiques and specialty cafés.

figandolive-mar2015Fig & Olive
Rosemary bushes flourish inside this light-filled restaurant, signaling the emphasis on Medi-terranean cuisine. The pillowy banquettes are perfect for lounging during meals that begin with a tasting of olive oils. The octopus a la gallega is a standout. » 8490 Melrose Pl., 310-360-9100.

melrose-02Violet Grey
High-end beauty products from Dior to La Mer populate this salon, formerly the offices of architect John Elgin Woolf. Book a pre-event session with one of the makeup artists (free with a $250 purchase). The matching Fleur du Mal X lipstick and underwear sets are inspired. » 8452 Melrose Pl., 323-782-9700.  

apc2A.P. C.
The French company’s contemporary clothing hangs from racks in a 2,500-square-foot space that straddles Melrose Place and Melrose Avenue. Peruse the brand’s popular parkas, denim, and boots as you consider collaborator Kanye West’s offerings. » 8420 Melrose Pl., 323-508-4700.

melroseplace-featuredAlfred Coffee & Kitchen
The baristas pour Stumptown coffee, and the sandwiches are made daily by Farmshop. Black floral wallpaper lends an au courant vibe inside; bistro tables outside invite a little people-watching. » 8428 Melrose Pl., 323-944-0811.

melrose-06Mari Vanna
Sip a cranberry-honey lemonade while relaxing on the rustic patio. The exterior of this Russian restaurant—the dishes skew modern—is painted with folksy scenes, and the interior is pure European country. » 8475 Melrose Pl., 323-655-1977.

bottegaBottega Veneta
Merchandise from the Italian luxury house fits the neighborhood and includes sneakers, hand-woven leather pillows, and exquisitely colored frocks. Creative director Tomas Maier designed the space. » 8445 Melrose Pl., 323-782-4970.

melrose-07Compartés Chocolatier
After turning out sweets at his Brentwood shop for decades, Jonathan Grahm opened a second location in the back of Alfred Coffee & Kitchen (see #4). Shelves are stocked with chocolate bars bearing monikers like “Donuts & Coffee,” “Golden Gatsby,” and “Cereal Bowl.” » 8428 Melrose Pl., 323-475-8986.

therowThe Row
Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen’s boutique was once Neil Diamond’s production office. The gorgeous venue encircles a pool and brims with leather accessories, earthy tea sets, Manolo Blahniks, and stylish (and expensive) clothing from the 2012 CFDA Womenswear Designer of the Year. » 8440 Melrose Pl., 310-853-1900.

The bookstore operated by Marc Jacobs (next to his men’s store and across the street from his women’s boutique) features a tasteful collection of celebrity memoirs and art and fashion books. Pencils are engraved with expressions such as “Chicken Scratch.” » 8407 Melrose Pl., 323-944-0575.


Irene Neuwirth
This is the first retail outlet for the celebrated jewelry designer, whose earrings, necklaces, and rings are laid out on end tables and gleam within dioramas. The homey store stages in-house events in a back kitchen and dining area. » 8458 Melrose Pl., 323-285-2000.

angelayoug-mar2015Why I Love It Here

Angela Young
Manager, Santa Maria Novella Cosmetics & Beauty Supply

Santa Maria Novella has been around since 1612 in Florence, Italy, so we have quite the cult following. We’ve been on Melrose Place for 14 years. The street has changed. It’s gone from old and antiquey to hip and wanting to be seen. Younger people are coming in who have the money to shop here. We also have tourists from Europe and Asia who are actually buying stuff. The paparazzi are always around. They lurk in the middle of the street. It’s quiet and exciting at the same time— the perfect balance.” » 8411 Melrose Pl., 323-651-3754.

Background Check

Local Landmark
Rows of decades-old Ficus microcarpa nitida trees are trimmed at least once a year to achieve the comely canopy effect.

Park It
Melrose Place may stretch over a mere three blocks, but it boasts five valet stands.

Fresh Pick
The Farmers’ Market, which is held every Sunday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., includes clothing trucks.

Photographs 1, 3, 4, 5, 7, 9, and 10 by Lauren Devon. All other photographs courtesy Illustration by Nigel Buchanan.