The dreamy courtyard. All photos courtesy of Le Champ

The RundownLos Angeles

Treat Le Champ Like Your Arts District Living Room


You could call Le Champ a wine bar or a casual French restaurant. There are cheese plates and escargot, there are daily specials, and there is wine, but most importantly, there’s plenty of room to spread out and stay a while.

Co-owners Matt Bronfeld and chef Justin Hilbert, who worked together at Matthew Kenney Cuisine, were drawn to the sprawling (and mostly outdoors) Arts District space because it allowed for a breezy format. “I’d been cooking in fine dining for a long time, and I wanted to do something a little more fun, laid-back, and casual,” Hilbert says. At Le Champ, “there’s nothing we’re locked into, we can change the menu whenever we want, and keep it interesting for people.”

The restaurant is located on a gritty, industrial corner of the Arts District, and walking inside feels like stumbling in on a secret, if that secret were 3,000 square feet of al fresco dining beneath string lights, with vintage tables and wrought iron chairs. Open from noon through 10 p.m. on weekdays and 11:30 p.m. on weekends, there are many ways to play Le Champ. Here’s everything you need to know before you go.

Le Champ is for the people.

Bronfeld and Hilbert had initially expected to open the restaurant last summer, thinking it would be utilized as more of a nightlife destination. But, inevitably, there were delays, and suddenly, the restaurant didn’t open until late fall. Temperatures had dropped and the sun was setting early, which meant most of Le Champ’s guests were coming in for dinner under heat lamps. 

It might be corny, but I always tell people it’s choose-your-own-adventure. — Co-owner Matt Bronfeld

Still, they plan to evolve based on the season, and what customers want. “We have such an interesting space, so it’s based on demand,” explains Hillbert. “As we grow we’ll see what the scene is going to be, and what the vibe becomes,” he says. “It might be corny, but I always tell people it’s choose-your-own-adventure,” adds Bronfeld. “We have a lot of entrées, but we also have a lot of small dishes. You could come here and drink and not eat. You could come here and eat and not drink.” 

Escargots at Le Champ
Escargots at Le Champ.
Gougères at Le Champ

The menu is loosely French, with plenty of daily specials. 

“We’re a quote-unquote French restaurant, but there’s a lot of gray in there,” says Hillbert. The all-day menu features French-ish staples like gougères (filled with Boursin cheese), saucisson served with butter and pickles, and a burger with caramelized onions and Gruyère. There are additional market-driven specials: Think endive salad with Roquefort cheese, pears, and walnuts; a winter-appropriate duck breast with celery root and apples; and passionfruit crème brûlée. One popular item right now is a French onion-enhanced short rib, but specials change frequently. “We’re throwing some fun stuff out there and seeing what people like,” says Bronfeld. There’s also weekend brunch, with classics like croque madames and brie-filled omelets.

The bar at Le Champ
The bar at Le Champ

Think of the restaurant like an extension of your living room.

The beauty of Le Champ’s size is that Bronfeld and Hillbert aren’t pressured to turn tables as swiftly as smaller restaurants. Guests are encouraged to bring their laptops in the daytime, have a cup of coffee, and snack on a cheese plate, while at night, drinks can turn into dinner and then more drinks. “People do tend to linger here, which we like,” says Bronfeld. The restaurant is open from lunch all the way through dinner, taking a break from offering specials during happy hour, from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. For these two hours, only the all-day menu is available, along with $10 glasses of wine and $40 bottles.

The wine list is first and foremost, accessible. 

Bronfeld, who oversees the all-natural wine list, says they didn’t want to be another place with $21 glasses of wine. Le Champ serves 18 wines by the glass, and none cost over $18. There are upwards of 60 bottles, and all cost under $100, except for two high-end Champagnes. “We just want to have good wine, and things people like,” says Bronfeld. “Orange wine is really popular right now, so we have three orange wines by the glass. If people start asking for more of something else, we’ll bring that in.”

French onion-style burger at Le Champ
A French onion-style burger.
Shrimp cocktail at Le Champ
Shrimp cocktail.

There’s a bit of New Orleans in the air. 

When the duo worked on a Miami restaurant opening together, they spent their free time at Lagniappe, a vibey, al fresco wine bar with found furniture and live music. Lagniappe was inspired by the famed wine bar/experimental space Bacchanal in New Orleans — and they’ve peppered in some of that spirit here. Hilbert references the grittiness of the original Roberta’s in Brooklyn as another inspiration. “That’s the kind of energy we want to bring here: not so serious, just people coming, having fun, and eating good food.”


Emily Wilson is a Los Angeles-based food writer from New York. She has contributed to Bon Appétit, Eater, TASTE, The Los Angeles Times, Punch, Atlas Obscura, and more. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram. Follow Resy, too.