California Travel Articles
All About Los Angeles Restaurants
L.A. has a lot to offer. The City of Angels is always on-the-go and seemingly driven by glitz and glamour. And if you're willing to fight the traffic, you'll find some of the world's best restaurants, shopping and attractions - from studio tours to museums, from beaches to piers.
L.A. is the epitome of big, bold and beautiful - and most of the hobbies in this town hover around "the scene". So, if you've had your share of the beach, head inland to tour the star-studded Sunset Boulevard or Melrose Avenue - and keep your eyes out! Since the restaurants and bars drive the social hustle n' bustle, you'd better allow yourself that afternoon power-nap if you want to keep up with the cool kids.
Remember: the stars come out at night - this is LA after all. This town seems to shimmer after sundown... you can rock it out on the Sunset Strip or club it up in Hollywood. So, if you like your bars cool, your martinis dry, and your restaurants scrumptious, make sure you've got your wallet, your appetite and your energy for your night on the town Hollywood style.
Here's our insiders guide to some of the best restaurants and nightlife options. Know this: fights broke out between our editorial staff when somebody foolishly suggested we limit our journeyPod Picks in L.A. to only 10 Restaurants and 10 Bars. We had so much fun tearing it up in Tinseltown that we had to go with 15 selections in each category. Of course, another fight ensued when we tried to assign numbers to all of these hotspots -- so cooler heads prevailed and we have since removed the rankings.
Be assured of one thing... all 30 of these places are ridiculously fantabulous and require your own A-game. Maybe even after a night on the town, you too will understand why even people in the biz think "Entourage" seems so real...
1. Koi: (West Hollywood) If your goal is to spot Hollywood's A-list of celebrities, make reservations at L.A.'s hottest Asian-fusion restaurant where you go to see and be seen. Though service might be rushed sometimes, who really cares? The food is just too damn good. A welcome relief from the hectic Melrose scene, Koi is a haven of feng-shui elements (candles, water and open patios). Here's a tip: request one of the horseshoe booths on the back patio. Located at 730 N. La Cienega Blvd (between Melrose Ave. and Santa Monica Blvd.)..
2. Morton's The Steakhouse: (West Hollywood) Legendary for its Oscar-night parties, star-struck celebrity watchers can often see their favorite actors in culinary repose at this Tinseltown power-elite restaurant. Do not, we repeat - do not confuse this with the Arnie Morton's of Chicago steakhouse chain. And, if you have enough room after you've chow'd down the hearty dry-aged steak you came here for, order the banana-walnut beignets with vanilla ice cream and caramel sauce or the warm melt-in-your-mouth chocolate espresso cake. Morton's can be found at 8764 Melrose Ave. (and Robertson Blvd.).
3. The Ivy: (West Hollywood) Dealmakers and dream-makers dine at this cottage with white picket fence (this is where most celebrities go when they actually want to get photographed by the always-lurking paparazzi). While the shabby-chic furnishings (think antique French furniture that needs painting) may not be all that inspiring, the traditional American comfort-food is. Just make sure you taste the Caesar salad (the-most-perfect one we've ever eaten) before you let yourself be seduced by the decadent desserts. Look closely for the sign (it's hidden in the ivy) as you stroll up to 113 N. Robertson Blvd. and Alden Dr.
4. Dolce Enoteca: (West Hollywood) Talk about the quintessential celeb-hot spot (Ashton Kutcher - and about half the cast of "That 70's Show" - owns it)! Hollywood heavy-hitters lounge in big booths and enjoy the sexy decor of black leather and marble. Nibble on Italian-style tapas -perfect for sharing. Make sure you try the Risotto entrĂ©e with Gorgonzola, and save enough room for the sumptuously rich ricotta cheese custard for dessert. Located at 8184 Melrose Ave. and Sweetzer Ave..
5. Dan Tana's: (West Hollywood) Who says LA doesn't have good Italian food? Walking into this restaurant is like entering a time warp back to 1950's NYC. The old Hollywood atmosphere is matched only by the food (simply delicious and loaded with garlic). Hollywood moguls, actors, screenwriters (and wannabes in all three aforementioned categories) flock for Spaghetti Carbonara and Shrimp Diavolo. Since a reservation here is still one ofthe hardest to get in town, be flexible on timing (psst...eating late here is better anyway). Located at 9071 Santa Monica Blvd. at Doheny Dr..
6. Asia de Cuba: (West Hollywood) Feel like rubbing elbows with Hollywood's elite? Then head over to the place that has been doing Fusion since before "fusion" was even its own type of food category. Asia de Cuba is Sunset Strip's entry for Asian-Latino fusion, the menu choices range from big (to bigger) budget portions served family-style (try the savory calamari salad and finger-lickin' good coconut layer cake). You can choose to sit indoors or out - but keep in mind that the outdoor patio offers spectacular views and is one of the best in L.A. At night, Asia de Cuba is transformed into a luxuriously sexy soiree. Located inside the Mondrian at 8440 Sunset Blvd.
7. Mr. Chows: Another place for elbow-rubbing in Tinseltown. In Beverly Hills, the hotspots cool off fast, but this place has held its see and be-seen for what-seems-like eternity (Mr. Chows opened in 1973). Your Chinese food is "all grown up" and fancy here - Chows offers excellent dishes that will leave you wanting more (you must order the green prawns marinated in a spinach dressing and the grilled filet mignon). Psst... the best nights for celebrity star-sightings are Wednesdays and Thursdays. And you'll alwaysknow the caliber of celebs inside by the number of paparazzi reading their fortune cookies along the sidewalk. Mr. Chows is located at 344 N. Camden Dr. (and Wilshire Boulevard).
8. The Little Door: (La Brea/Miracle Mile) Looking for a romantic hideaway amid the hustle and bustle of L.A.? The Little Door (house-turned-restaurant) is your answer - just make sure you can find the place. With indoor and outdoor seating, this little place doesn't advertise, nor does it allow publicity - yes, it's that good! After you make your way past the two simple wooden doors, you'll find a romantic courtyard with canopy seating, a garden, twinkling candles, and an impeccable menu. The Little Door can be found at 8164 W. Third St. (Crescent Heights Blvd.).
9. Sushi Nozawa: (Studio City) Yes, it's in a strip mall (located at 11288 Ventura Blvd.). And, yes - the lights are brighter than the mid afternoon sun. But, take it from us, the decor isn't what matters - the sushi is what's important. And what's a little abuse as you order (word on the street is someone was once kicked out for requesting California rolls!), as long as you get to eat some of the best sushi this side of Tokyo!
10. Angelini Osteria: (La Brea/Miracle Mile) Mama mia - now that's amore! From the paper-thin pizza to the garlic-infused lasagna, everything here is scrumptious - though you may not guess it at first, as you waltz your way into the unassuming, often congested dining room in one of L.A.'s most celebrated Italian restaurants. Not only will you be greeted like family, you'll be offered a menu filled with some serious selections - don't forget to pay special attention to the desserts. You may even be privy to Justin Timberlake and his girl, Cameron, dining here (since this place tops their list). Located at 7313 Beverly Blvd. and Poinsettia Ave.
11. Sushi Roku: (West Hollywood) The beautiful interior is as noticeable as the people who flock here - many Hollywood deals ensue over the innovative and succulent sushi dishes. The "Cali touch" is evident in every dish, and the sake/beer options are limitless. Don't even think about leaving without tasting the scallop dynamite, the espresso profiteroles and the "Roppongi" (a mouth-watering mixture of vodka and sake served with a ginger stick). And, don't bother arriving without a reservation. Located at 8445 W. 3rd St. (between N. La Cienaga Blvd. and S. Croft Ave.).
12. Matsuhisa: (Beverly Hills) If you love your sushi and don't mind adventure - don't walk, run to this place. With groundbreaking cuisine, Matsuhisa offers more than 100 dishes. If you let us do your ordering, we are going with the unforgettable omakase tasting menu which begins with master chef Nobu Matsuhisa's signature cold dishes and ends with a procession of cooked dishes like Kobe beef and black cod in miso. Though the setting is modest, do not be fooled! The sushi here is as-good-as-it-gets. Matsuhisa is located at 129 N. La Cienaga Blvd. (and Wilshire Blvd.).
13. La Terza: (Beverly Hills) Sophisticated - Italian - Simplicity. Attached to the Orlando Hotel (formerly the Beverly Plaza), this multi-tiered, multi-faceted restaurant is flawless, in its menu selections and design. Tuesdays are "Tavola Italiana" night, when chef Nancy Silverton cooks up a table of antipasto choices in the middle of the restaurant. No reservations are taken here - so it's on a first-come, first-serve basis (and definitely worth showing up for!) La Terza is located at 8384 W. Third St. (at Orlando).
14. Massimo Ristorante and Bar: (Beverly Hills) Feel like a taste of Tuscany? Massimo, located just off Rodeo Drive in the heart of Beverly Hills (9513 S. Santa Monica Blvd.) is graced with celebrities and entertainment folk who are deep-rooted fans of Chef Massimo Ormani's authentic fare. Try the famous all-beef Bolognese dish. FYI: Massimo has most recently been on NBC's show "Recipe T.V." featuring the world's greatest Chefs.
15. A.O.C.: (La Brea/Miracle Mile) Perhaps not the first tapas restaurant in the city, but definitely the hottest! If grazing is an art form to you, A.O.C. is the place to be... sleek, modern and chic, the gang here is pure Hollywood glam. Almost everyone here looks and parties like a rock star regardless -- and they all come for the extensive wine list and the Mediterranean-influenced small plates. The menu changes daily, but be assured that each dish is savored by all. A.O.C. is located at 8022 W. 3rd St. (and Crescent Heights).
journeyPod.com is the only place you need to visit for information on the trendiest bars and restaurants, the most luxurious hotels, and the most exclusive parties and shops for discriminating travelers. Visit journeyPod.com for the lowdown on where to go in Atlanta, New York, Miami, LA and other major cities around the world, and listing to our monthly travel podcast for the best in upscale travel and entertainment. If you like the finer things in life, journey to journeyPod.com!
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