“You could probably spend hours people-watching at the aspirational all-day restaurant and marketplace that Heather Sperling and Emily Fiffer opened in a remodeled Silver Lake liquor store, but better to focus on the vibrant, produce-driven artistry happening in the kitchen. Like that stylish party-throwing friend who also happens to be an amazing cook, the two food-writing veterans excel at creating dishes that are both effortless and craveable.”
– Los Angeles Magazine, 10 Best New Restaurants of 2017
SO WHAT IS BOTANICA ALL ABOUT?
We’re longtime food writers and editors who ate at/documented/talked endlessly about/thought critically about restaurants for nearly a decade each before deciding to roll up our sleeves and open our own. We’re motivated by community, sustainability, equality, creativity, hospitality, healthfulness and happiness — and we believe all to be equally key components of a thriving business.
Here’s what you’ll find in our kitchen (and our recipes): all-local vegetables, fruits and dairy; a rainbow of grains and legumes; spices and vinegars from across the world; healthy fats (local and organic when possible); wild Pacific seafood and sustainably raised meat. What you won’t find: refined sugars, processed foods or products of industrial agriculture. Our goal, on the plate, is simply this: to use beautiful local produce and the best possible products to create food that is colorful, fresh, exciting and nourishing — food that makes you feel good!
We believe gathering around the table for a bountiful meal to be one of life’s great joys and unifying acts. We built this site with the hope that it might inspire you to don an apron — or, at the very least, that it might make your life a little more delicious!
NICE TO MEET YOU!
Heather Sperling (co-owner) opened Botanica in 2017, alongside Emily Fiffer, as a destination for nourishing hospitality — a culinary and business philosophy that permeates every aspect of Botanica’s existence, from its obsessively farmers market-centric menu to its dedication to respect, equality, inclusivity and healthfulness as core operating tenets.
Prior to diving into the restaurant world, Heather spent a lifetime cooking and a decade as a restaurant-focused editor for culinary publications — and on the side, served as a writer for dozens of others and a consultant for chefs, markets and culinary brands. Her love for vegetable-centric cookery is innate, in part informed by her Lebanese heritage and a stint living in India as a child. She’s a founding member of the women-in-food-focused non-profit, Regarding Her, and is in the kitchen today because of her grandma Mary.
Emily Fiffer (co-owner) spent years writing about food and travel for DailyCandy, among other publications, and consulting on restaurant projects, before trading in her keyboard for a knife for good. After talking her way into apprenticeships in London at Yotam Ottolenghi’s Nopi and Sam & Sam Clark’s Moro, she took her love of healthful, vegetable-centric cooking to Los Angeles to open Botanica. She believes a life without tahini, honeycrisp apples and a collection of beloved cookbooks is a life unlived.
Zarah Khan (chef) grew up in Seattle surrounded by food. Her culinary education started young, first learning to bake as a small child with her father, and cooking family dinners as a teen. Studying environmental science led her to a deeper exploration of the stories behind the food she prepared, the impact of humans on our food systems, and the ways in which she might inspire a new perspective. After working on farms both domestically and abroad, Zarah returned to the kitchen, eager to use food to inspire people to become more deeply connected to their environment.
As head of the kitchen at Botanica, Zarah brings a commitment to good vibes and beautiful, healthful food. (She’s been known to parade an especially bright leaf of rainbow chard around the kitchen.) She’s is an avid runner and certified yoga teacher who can be found reminding her cooks to breathe through the dinner rush. Prior to Botanica, Zarah was executive chef of the London Plane, Matt Dillon’s beloved Seattle establishment, where she made a name for herself with bright, flavorful, veg-forward cuisine inspired by her Middle Eastern heritage.
Margaret Stanton (general manager / beverage director) worked at LA’s Nitehawk, Momofuku Milk Bar and Night & Market Song before joining Botanica’s management team. Our ever-changing, fastidiously curated natural wine selection comes courtesy of Margaret, whose enthusiasm for tracking down hard-to-find bottles knows no bounds. Her love for natural wine is exceeded only by her love for her puppy, Pretzel. You can find Margaret — always colorfully clad — spreading the natural wine gospel to guests shopping in our market, to our staff…really, to anyone who will listen (and everyone should!).
WANT TO SAY HELLO? Drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org