It was serendipity that made me open my computer over breakfast and find out that someone from the resident.LA blog had been browsing mine and, when I reciprocated, I found a recent entry about a new spot that had opened in the always trendy Abbot Kinney neighbourhood in Venice. I mention serendipity because, the night before, I had made plans to meet a friend on Abbot Kinney but neither of us could think of a comfortable place where to have coffee. Jin Patisserie has only outside seating, Intelligentsia has the best coffee ever but the space is not exactly welcoming and Abbot Coffee is too student oriented.

Right there, on resident.LA, there were pretty pictures and the review of a place that seemed right up my alley. Called Le Zinque (although there is no sign outside, not yet at least), it’s actually located on Venice Boulevard at Abbot Kinney and, in an area where parking is at a premium, it has a conveniently placed parking lot in front.

Le Zinque opened in December and it’s owned and operated by a neighbourhood resident, probably wishing to create a place where the community could enjoy coffee and breakfast, a spot of lunch and drinks with a light dinner fare. It seemed as if they succeeded. The room (previously an art gallery) is light, airy and with plenty of seating at high wooden tables, cocktails tables and the counter.

Breakfast is still a work in progress with granola, pastries and one egg dish offered. Both lunch and breakfast menus are hand scribbled on butcher paper taped to the wall. Their strong attractions are the coffee and teas. Coffee is supplied by La Colombe, the coffee roasting company started by a Seattle and a French native, with cafes in New York, Chicago and Philadelphia. It’s excellent and espressos are made with an always reliable La Marzocco espresso machine. Teas are by Mariage Freres, the century old French company with the pretty black tins.

At sundown, the light bulbs dropping from the ceiling light up and the drink crowd starts filing in. The wine and beer menus are fairly comprehensive and, so far, charcuterie and cheese plates are offered, together with the choice of three “tartines” (the French version of bruschetta) made with French bread imported every three days, or so our waiter informed us, in a reliably and charming French accent.

We happened to walk in during that in-between time of 4:30 when lunch is no longer served and dinner was not quite ready but the waiter, sensing my hunger, retrieved a pain au chocolat that he kindly reheated in the oven. The atmosphere is welcoming, service pleasant and, while still partial to Intelligentsia, the coffee excellent. A definite keep.

For some fun suggestions, and just because it’s a nice site, check out resident.LA




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