After two years of intermittent restrictions, the UCLA campus is more than ready for summer visitors. Plateia and Lulu, an intriguing pair of restaurants, offer abundant hospitality for alumni, visitors and local foodies. While the two are in many ways distinct, each nestles in its own hidden courtyard.
Plateia, in the UCLA Meyer and Renee Luskin Conference Center, offers the soothing sounds of a fountain and the dappled shade of olive trees. “We named our restaurant Plateia after the Greek word for town square,” says Pete Angelis, assistant vice chancellor for housing and hospitality. Plateia’s central location makes it an ideal place for the campus community and visitors to gather.
The award-winning Plateia cookbook showcases some of the restaurant’s Mediterranean-inspired and California-fresh menu options. Family-friendly entrees include varieties of stone oven pizza and gourmet burgers. A dessert favorite is Basque burnt cheesecake.
Typically, Plateia is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, but hours and menu items vary throughout the year.
Meanwhile, at Lulu, the new restaurant in the courtyard of the Hammer Museum at UCLA, breezes rustle through a nearby cluster of bamboo, and the eye feasts on flowerlike lanterns. A graceful pedestrian bridge above the courtyard connects the museum’s galleries. “Our open courtyard is a wonderful place to gather, and the restaurant is the centerpiece,” says museum director Ann Philbin.
“David Tanis and Alice Waters [the masterminds behind Lulu] are both renowned chefs and longtime activists, and their focus on the importance of regenerative agriculture, seasonal cooking and supporting local farmers was an excellent fit for us,” Philbin says. There is no such thing as a “standard” menu at Lulu. The daily three-course prix fixe lunch offering depends on the season and local availability of fresh, organic ingredients. The main dish might be fish and shellfish stew or North African lamb tagine. Dessert might be an olive oil walnut cake with pomegranate. There is a full bar and a bar menu, as well.
Lulu initially focused on lunch, but the next step will be to add dinner offerings and a lively happy hour before the museum’s public programs.
Read more from UCLA Magazine's July 2022 issue.