Every cloud has a silver lining. The COVID pandemic was a big cloud, but its negative impact on restaurants resulted in relaxed rules for outside dining and allowed restaurants to expand into parking areas and outside dining. And when the weather is nice, outside dining is special. And outside dining on rooftops is even more special.

There’s a nice semi-outdoor patio with a bar nearby at Elephante on 2nd Street with a nice view and a lot of beautiful people having a good (loud) time. But the best outside roof top dining that I’ve found in West Los Angeles is the Calabra restaurant at the top of the new Proper hotel on 7th and Wilshire.

Entering the restaurant from the elevator near the hard-to-find hotel entry is tricky, but once you arrive you almost feel like you’ve entered a different world a bit like Hawaii. There are beautiful plants everywhere and various seating areas with different views. There’s a Mediterranean atmosphere amplified by the Mediterranean menu.

I love the menu, and the all-day service. The last time I was there for lunch I ordered mostly breakfast selections. I tasted my friend’s Moroccan pancakes with yogurt, dates, and walnuts and loved it. I had the Mediterranean breakfast, which was lox, pita breads, humus, and Israeli salad.

The main courses run the gamut of every restaurant, but I would skip the hamburger and salmon dishes even though they are prepared a bit differently than most restaurants, and stick with the chicken souvlaki or the lamb with harissa.

The drinks are great: juices, smoothies, good wine list, and great cocktails. And the service is above average. But I was not impressed with the desserts, which, according to my doctor, is a good thing.

Merv Hecht, like many Harvard Law School graduates, went into the wine business after law. In 1988, he began writing restaurant reviews and books. His latest book “The Instant Wine Connoisseur, 3rd edition” is available on Amazon. He currently works for several companies that source and distribute food and wine products internationally. Please send your comments to: mervynhecht@yahoo.com