Tucked away in Westwood, across the street from the Hammer Museum, is the charming Skylight Gardens restaurant.

The first thing you’ll notice about Skylight Gardens its character. The restaurant is set in a rustic red brick building giving it a quaint and charming vibe. Inside, you are greeted by delicate twinkling lights strung on an indoor tree.

Photo by Mary Schoneman

There are two levels, and the top level opens up so that you can sit under a large domed skylight, hence the name Skylight Gardens. At night, the skylight creates a serene mood. During the day it lets in a lot of natural light for a totally different, yet equally peaceful atmosphere. It can accommodate you whether you want to take a date out to a casual and sunny lunch, or a romantic dinner. (If you aren’t on a date, there is plenty of space to go out with a group to dinner, or even better: group brunch.)

Photo by Mary Schoneman

Not only are the atmosphere and ambiance wonderful, the food is too! Italian, but not the usual “spaghetti and meatballs” type of Italian. When I came the first time I had guacamole as an appetizer, and a quinoa salad as a meal. Both were fresh and light, yet still very filling. If you aren’t sure where to start, the manager suggested the “strozzapreti norcina,” a pasta with spicy sausage and black truffle cream sauce, or the salmon.The best part by far was the dessert (but isn’t that always the best part?).

Photo Courtesy of Skylight Gardens

Not only is there a wide selection of food, but there is a large bar where you can find a group of people of people grabbing a drink after work or in the evening. This is also perfect if you want to take someone out  for drinks, as there aren’t many bars in Westwood. Most of the drinks are between $5-11.

Photo by Mary Schoneman

Though Skylight Gardens isn’t popular among college students, there’s no reason it shouldn’t be. They have good food, and while it may not be perfect for a broke college student’s everyday budget, it is perfect for a special occasion like a date or a special dinner with friends.