The surrounding view and enjoyable air, however, compensate for a menu that attempts to be varied but is resultantly unremarkable.
The indoor dining area is tastefully designed with framed black-and-white portraits on the walls that give the place a vintage feel, while the sleek autumn-colored furniture nicely balances old with new. Gentle music, reminiscent of what one may hear on an elevator, plays in the background, loud enough to put you in a passively carefree mood, but not so loud that it distracts from the modern rustic décor.
While the ambiance inside is light and cheerful, the pastoral view its patio and garden seating boasts of is the thing Lakeside Café has going for it. True to the café’s name, both back areas sit directly overlooking a large lake almost as green as the grass and trees surrounding it. The lake is alive with ducks, turtles, fish and two bubbling fountains. The outdoor seating is a draw for customers who prefer a natural setting to break the urban views most restaurants on Ventura Boulevard show. The patio is covered by a roof that blocks out a glare without interrupting the sun’s natural lighting.
The menu is fairly predictable without any unexpected items jumping off the glossy page, begging you to try them. The breakfast and brunch options, available until 3 p.m., are complete with an optional 90-minute service for bottomless mimosas. Among the typical café food options listed are French toast, pancakes and eggs of many different varieties. Those looking for something heartier might want to try Lakeside’s famous lamb burger, which is served on a brioche bun with pickled apple kimchi, sundried tomato tapenade, hydro watercress and harissa mayo. Otherwise, breakfast is served with salad and your choice of hash browns, potatoes or fruit.
Lakeside Café’s Club Benedict consists of two poached eggs served over a toasted English muffin with a choice of Canadian ham or smoked salmon topped with hollandaise sauce. The order looks appetizing enough; the plating is aesthetically pleasing and the ingredients look as fresh as they are colorful. The promised salad it comes with is a limp pile of leaves trying to pass off as something more. The potatoes, however, are cooked to a golden crisp and seasoned enough to be flavorful without being over-salted. The same cannot be said for the eggs, which drown in hollandaise sauce, causing the English muffin they sit on to lose any trace of being toasted. Instead, the bread sops under the soggy entrée, giving it a heavier, unappealing feel. On the plus side, the restaurant’s portions are large and filling enough that you will probably walk out of there full, even without leaving a clean plate.
Lakeside Café is a good place to visit if you’re looking for a change in scenery while you eat. The food, attractive as it is, leaves something to be desired in flavor. However, paired with a unique atmosphere for your dining experience and quick, professional waiting service, it is not an unenjoyable visit.