Cocina Primavera ain’t your average mom-and-pop restaurant. In fact, mom isn’t involved and pop is just following orders. Sister and brother duo Lupe and Joe Prado have teamed up with their father, patriarch chef Jose Prado of The Ivy, to bring Beverly Hills a unique Latin approach to California cuisine. This sis-and-bro operation recently moved into the neighborhood at the corner of South Doheny Drive and Olympic Boulevard.
Sound scrumptious? It tastes even better. Lupe, with her glowing entrepreneurial spirit, Joe, with his quick to please demeanor, and Jose, with his deep experience in all things delicious, have managed to create something very special. In a town overwhelmed by eateries, the Prados have taken the most important step in launching a new restaurant: avoiding a “me-too” menu and—instead—introducing us to something we can’t get anywhere else.
Sweet corn tamales with sour cream and spicy tomatillo sauce, shrimp ceviche on oversized tortilla chips and to-die-for tortilla soup are just some of the dishes to kick off your feasting journey.
Primavera follows up with fun and hearty entreés such as its fresh sautéed shrimp in garlic butter sauce and grilled breast of chicken topped with a black pepper sauce. Both are accompanied with black beans and yellow rice. Pineapple slices and plantains are a frequent supporting cast in Primavera’s most popular dishes.
Everything about Primavera is cozy. Dimmed lighting, small rustic floor tiles, distressed brick walls and high ceilings all come together nicely as a Spanish home away from home. With straight-ahead views into the open kitchen and pleasant hosting by the Prados themselves, it feels like a family affair, minus the bickering.
The quaint 26-seat establishment is arranged into two- and four-tops with cousins Dagoberto’s and Jennifer’s art hanging overhead. Yet despite the limited space, the Prados nobly resisted the classic restaurant operators’ temptation to wedge one table on top of the next. At Primavera you can expect a dining experience free from elbow wrestling and high on comfort.
Although Primavera is the first dining venture for young restaurateurs Lupe and Joe, it is just the latest in a long line of successful restaurants by the extended Prado family. Jose is the most notable of the clan with his 25 years as associate chef at legendary Robertson Boulevard hot spot The Ivy, but the uncles and cousins bring plenty to the table as well. The Original Cha Cha Cha Café in Silver Lake, Prado Restaurant on Larchmont, Bamboo Restaurant in Culver City and Pinches Tacos at various locations across Los Angeles all fall within the growing Prado empire. If good genes run in some families, great food runs in this one.
If you’re in the mood for something fresh and new and don’t mind being hosted by the family you wish you had, then Primavera is well worth a try. And feel free to tweet @PrimaveraLA on your way in—Lupe herself is known to reply almost instantly.
Cocina Primavera is located at 9111 W. Olympic Blvd. It's open Monday through Friday from 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Saturdays from 5 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. For takeout orders call 310-550-7834. Free local delivery with $25 minimum order. Free parking is available behind the building—entrance on South Doheny just North of Olympic.
Jon Gluck is a bleeding heart Beverly Hillian. He is a graduate of Beverly Hills High School, where he was captain of both the football and hockey teams. He lives in Beverly Hills, works in Beverly Hills, and spends as much time as he can experiencing everything our great city has to offer. Jon builds companies: He operates the only business incubator in Beverly Hills and manages Iconic Digital, a leading social media marketing firm that helps businesses succeed in the brave new digital world.