You would not know coming into the warm, elegant setting at The Continental in Toluca Lake that when the building opened in 1958, it was, in fact, an IHOP.
It has been many things since, but yes, it started as the International House of Pancakes. (And let’s all be thankful because I have a long, storied relationship with IHOP myself and if I never enter one again it will be too soon. But I digress. Stories for another time and after certain family members are dead.)
Onto the cocktails, though. OMIGOD. My favorite was the Christopher Oaxacan, a cocktail that is both fun to say (even though I can’t actually say it) and even more fun to drink. In addition to pineapple juice, lime juice and agave nectar, it has mezcal in it; which I recently learned the hard way is not Tequila.
Beer and wine have a presence on the menu but my money’s remains on all of the amazing cocktails. When someone puts that much effort into a craft cocktail offering, you almost have to honor their art. They even got me to try a Bourbon cocktail – something I never do. Bourbon sets my nose-hairs on fire. (You’re welcome for that imagery.)
May I recommend the patio for enjoying some cocktails? It was my favorite part of the renovated interior.
The new menu includes decadent, complex flavors in choices such as Thai Seafood Bouillabaisse, a stew of fresh shrimp, scallops, calamari and vegetables, cooked in a creamy coconut, lemongrass and kaffir lime broth. I had a tiny bite — it was not nearly enough. However my favorite amuse-bouche was the slider version of their Continental Burger, served with prime Angus beef, crispy pancetta, tempura-fried dill pickles and white cheddar cheese. I’m a giant sucker for white cheddar.
As a whole the menu is quite diverse and even changes things up for lunch. Some of the dishes manage to be both French and Thai inspired. They even manage Jewish-Vietnamese somehow as they feature their slow-roasted brisket in a Vietnamese Style Banh Mi. You’ll find salmon, chicken, vegetarian options, salads, sandwiches. I’ve said it before — the worst part about writing these posts is that they make me hungry and that’s never been more true than now.
You know, I could eat Brussels Sprouts every day. True story.
When the awesome staffers were not hugging me hello or introducing themselves, I stepped aside to admire the centerpiece of Continental’s décor, a new, five-panel/35-foot wide mural depicting Toluca Lake that wraps around the walls throughout the front rooms.
It’s a nice tribute to the history of the establishment and if you look closely at it, you will spot a tiny flag with a Mo’s logo — Mo’s was the most recent and rather cherished tenant of the space. The owner remains the same, though — so I am able to make peace with the transition.
Also because it is delicious. 😉
- Official website
- All of the socials – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram
- Street parking available,, which I would recommend first. The valet lot in the back is tiny.
P.S. (Congrats to them on landing on Eater LA’s “Hottest New Restaurants” list.)