Botanica interior.
All photos courtesy of Botanica

Resy SpotlightLos Angeles

Botanica’s Sunday Supper Series Is a Celebration of Women (and Vegetables)


L.A. is blessed with an abundance of women-owned restaurants, offering dining that reflects the diversity of the city itself, from Italian standbys to Tunisian upstarts, with plenty of Mexican, Thai, and soul food in between. 

Since its opening in 2017, Botanica has established itself as a Silver Lake favorite for its breezy, veg-heavy California fare and charming adjacent marketplace. Co-founders Emily Fiffer and Heather Sperling are active in the community, often hosting special events and championing fellow females in the food space. 

The latest? A Sunday Supper series that brings together several women-owned concepts for collaborative, vegetable-focused dinners on a weekly basis. The duo had long wanted to wind down the weekend with something different, and when chef Alex Barkley suggested they host regular Sunday night events featuring the vegetarian dishes he was playing around with in the kitchen, the pair jumped at the idea. “That sounds perfect,” says Fiffer. “Let’s make it vegetarian, let’s make it festive and fun.”

Each month, Botanica chefs Barkley and Joanne Bae are teaming up with a chef friend or producer for a $50-60 prix-fixe menu. While not all of the collaborators are women, a large majority of the participants are.

Highlights from the Smallhold mushroom menu

The series kicked off in February with a multi-course vegetarian menu featuring Smallhold Mushrooms, with dishes including raw mushroom duxelles and gouda on caraway crackers, pickled shiitake and cabbage skewers, lion’s mane steaks with chimichurri, and king trumpet pavlova with passionfruit curd. The debut proved to be a hit, and Fiffer says future dinners are rapidly booking up. 

The most recent meal, in conjunction with Re:Her, a national nonprofit that aims to advance women-identifying and nonbinary food and beverage entrepreneurs, featured Rashida Holmes of Bridgetown Roti. The event was a homecoming of sorts: Holmes cooked at Botanica until 2019, and it was just the second female-run restaurant she had worked at through her decade-plus of professional cooking. 

“I jumped at the chance to work there,” Holmes says. “It was ten years after working for my first female head chef and I was so glad to have the opportunity to work under women again. It’s a shame it took ten years between the two.” Her menu combined Botanica’s farmers market-focused fare with Bridgetown Roti’s Caribbean flavors, and included dishes like callaloo hummus with Aleppo pepper oil, fried okra, and salmon roe; and pigeon peas with crispy black rice, green tahini, and confit tomatoes. 

The marketplace at Botanica.
The marketplace at Botanica.
The marketplace at Botanica.
The marketplace at Botanica.

For the next dinner, on April 2 ($60), Jihee Kim of soon-to-open Perilla in Echo Park will be infusing the menu with Korean banchan — small, mostly vegetarian dishes she began selling out of her house during the pandemic, for which she’s become very well known. While Kim’s cuisine is distinct from Botanica’s in terms of flavor and style, she’s excited to play off the similarities. “We both use a lot of local vegetables when cooking and I really like their philosophy and vision, so I think it works well with what I do,” she says. 

Other upcoming events will feature collaborations with Jing Gao of Fly By Jing, writer Fanny Singer, Bricia Lopez of Guelaguetza, and Keegan Fong of Woon. At each event, attendees will be able to purchase wares from the guest chefs, including cookbooks and merch, in addition to the full meal.


Reservations for upcoming Sunday Suppers are now live.

Sara Ventiera writes about food, pets, and real estate for Food & Wine, AARP, and from her ranch in Los Angeles County. Follow her on Instagram. Follow Resy, too. 

Resy Presents
Women of Food