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Meet Emily Fiffer of Botanica in Silver Lake

Today we’d like to introduce you to Emily Fiffer.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Emily. So, let’s start at the beginning, and we can move on from there.
Well, my business partner, Heather, and I both come from the media world (lifestyle and food). After years spent observing and documenting from the outside (and entertaining, cooking and staging in restaurants), we decided to open a place of our own. We wanted to open a restaurant that brought together our food perspective (that vegetables can be delicious and wildly satisfying), and our philosophical point of view (that restaurant culture can be positive, nourishing, sustainable and healthful). After settling on LA, we both moved here (I was in Chicago and Heather was in NYC), pounded the pavement and chose Silver Lake as our home.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc. – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
The startup process is always a challenge, and this one was no exception! We ended up choosing a space that required a full buildout (NOT what we’d initially intended!), which was time-consuming but inevitably gave us exactly what we wanted. That certainly wasn’t easy, but after doing it once you begin to understand the ins and outs of the process. After the ups and downs of building out a space, we had to open and run the business, and now have a slew of different things to deal with! Every day throws something different at us, so in that sense the challenges never cease. That said — dealing with challenges has gotten a lot easier. 🙂

We’d love to hear more about your business.
We’re a restaurant that serves modern-day California food with a global pantry. To us, that means emphasizing the incredible local produce we’re lucky enough to get our hands on. Provenance is of utmost importance to us! Our meat is sustainably raised and/or heritage, and our seafood is wild-caught Pacific whenever possible. We’re passionate about pulling flavors from the Middle East, Southeast Asia, India, and beyond, but at our core our goal is to express the produce we work with in its simplest form.

We’re known for serving food that makes you feel nourished, not weighed down; our truly special natural wine program; and for creating an environment that’s as happy, hospitable and bright for our guests as it is for our staff.

What were you like growing up?
I was a serious tomboy and an avid reader, so I spent most of my time playing sports and curling up with books! I also spent a ton of time with my grandmother, who is one of my biggest influences and inspirations. She always had a table full of bits and pieces to pick from — even if it was just bread and cheeses, dried fruit, a salad and some smoked fish.

My mom cooked a lot, too, and we always had family dinners on the table — many of them vegetarian. There was never any red meat or seafood in the house. It definitely set my palate up to love vegetables from a young age.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Food/interiors: Gentl + Hyers, Brandon Harmon, Alan Gastelum, Ren Fuller
Headshot: Justin Chung

Getting in touch: VoyageLA is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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