Like a Portal Between France and India, Camphor is the Most Alluring Bistro in Los Angeles

Within the industrial breadth of Los Angeles' Arts District lies Camphor, an exciting new French bistro that's surely an alternate universe that finds France and India bordering each other. Where a roasted chicken normally found in a lauded French brasserie is shoved out of its comfort zone with an infusion of garam masala and tandoori spices. It's a microcosm that treats diners to its own interpretation of 'gunpowder spice', an explosive and potent mix of roasted dal (lentils), black sesame, sugar, salt, coconut, chili powder and malabar black pepper, dusted on baby shrimp to give it a charisma and sophistication far beyond its given name.


This tempting portal between the two countries, both rife with their respective culinary traditions, is the creation of accomplished chefs Lijo George and Max Boonthanakit, both of whom met in Bangkok while working at the two Michelin-starred Blue by Alain Ducasse.

"During the pandemic, we were all stuck in our houses, everyone wanted to travel through Instagram, so I was looking at all these places I wanted to go eat. I felt like a lot of other people might have felt that way. So we figured to do a concept that felt like you were transported somewhere else," explained Boonthanakit. "We wanted to do an in-between of a bistro that was in India and France."

Chefs Lijo George and Max Boonthanakit


"I was thinking, we have to use Indian spices in our cuisine to give it its own identity," relayed George, who procured a direct plug from India offering ungraded spices that unlocked the potential of Camphor as a one-of-a-kind bistro in a city known for its culinary range and uniqueness.

Camphor's singularity manifests itself in the finesse of incorporating Indian ingredients with French cooking techniques. So patrons can expect to be both transported with each bite and juxtaposed to this delicious dichotomy, one that revels in the fundamentals of good food executed with candor and precision.