Since I arrived home to LA, I’ve been a bit of a Scrooge. Even though I had ample time to prepare for the holidays, they still snuck up on me all of a sudden. Plus, I was sad to miss last weekend’s massive snowstorm! I would have loved to build a snowman or pelt people in the Snowpacalypse Guerilla Snowball Fight on U St. I called my DC friends for updates and watched news reports on the storm longingly from LA, where it was a warm and sunny 70 degrees. Despite being a California native and spending every Christmas in palm tree-laden LA, I felt like I was missing out on a real White Christmas.
I was in dire need of some Christmas spirit and, luckily for me, it came in the form of dinner at the Tam O’ Shanter. Lovingly know by locals as “the Tam,” this LA institution has been serving up prime rib for over 80 years. The Tam is the oldest restaurant in LA to operated by the same family in the same location–which means, the food and the service is deliciously tried and true.
Over the holidays, the Tam O’Shanter transforms itself into a bastion of holiday cheer. Fully trimmed Christmas trees and bouquets of poinsettias adorn every room, a roaring fire greets visitors in the front, and (my favorite part) carolers mill through the dining rooms, taking requests for holiday songs from each and every table. (We requested “Feliz Navidad” and “Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer” this year!) Needless to say, the Tam is the premiere place for family gatherings over the holidays, so I suggest you get your reservation in early.
My family goes to the Tam every year for the holidays with our close friend, and every year, the food and service is excellent. This year was no exception. I ordered the cream of mushroom soup and braised beef short ribs with mashed potatoes and creamed corn.
The soup was rich and creamy, with a nice earthiness added by the mushrooms. The short ribs were so tender they fell apart with the slightest touch of my fork, and paired well with the buttery mashed potatoes and sweet creamed corn.
Other dishes of note included the juicy California cut of prime rib (a smaller cut) served with Yorkshire pudding, mashed potatoes, and creamed corn and a lighter Mahi Mahi dish. For dessert, make sure to order one of their signature souffles. The souffle flavors that night were peach and chocolate, and of course, we ordered both. They were simply TO DIE FOR: light as air, full of flavor, served hot with a huge dollop of freshly whipped cream. The souffles take 45 min. to prepare, so make sure to order them ahead of time. (Sorry no photo is available–the waitress cut and served the souffles before I had time to take one! But trust me: it was heavenly.)
I left the Tam full of red meat and Christmas cheer. Though prices at the Tam are not the cheapest (entrees cost between $18-30), I think the splurge is definitely worth it. The ingredients are high quality, service is top notch, and plus, how can you resist being serenaded tableside by carolers?! For a festive holiday experience that is as close to a white Christmas as LA can get, hurry over to the Tam O’Shanter before the end of the holiday season!
2980 Los Feliz Boulevard (across from Best Buy/Costco)
Los Angeles, California 90039