Answers from Our Experts (11)
Los Angeles has a great dining scene, and is home to some of the best restaurants on the West Coast. Fans of Italian cuisine will love Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star Scarpetta in the Five-Star Montage Beverly Hills. Star chef Scott Conant has created an authentic Italian menu using fresh, seasonal ingredients.The acclaimed Four-Star Belvedere restaurant serves exceptional modern American food in its traditional dining room. Sunday brunch is an institution here — be sure to sample the special croque madame made with truffled brioche, aged country ham, fontina cheese and organic eggs. In the Bel-Air neighborhood, Four-Star Wolfgang Puck at Hotel Bel-Air features a seasonal menu that specializes in simple and fresh local ingredients impeccably executed. Starters such as roasted kohlrabi-turnip soup and entrees such as trio of lamb (loin, rack and belly, prepared three different ways) are plated and served with the excellence you'd expect from the king of California cuisine. Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star Mélisse is a favorite spot for Westside gourmands. Chef Josiah Citrin opened this elegant eatery in 1999, and earned his first Five-Star rating in 2013. His American food is influenced by French flavors and techniques, and takes advantage of Southern California’s year-round growing season. Situated inside the posh Beverly Wilshire Hotel, Beverly Hills (A Four Seasons Hotel), Puck's CUT Beverly Hills is a 104-seat wonder that serves steak, seafood and a double helping of sophistication.
There are so many great restaurants in Los Angeles. I like Animal, Trois Mec and Piccolo. I love Spago — very high priced, but I love it. I love Son of a Gun. I love Black Market. I love Beachwood Café. I love Angelini [Osteria].
I always love fresh, seasonal vegetables because I don’t really eat meat. Where we go a lot in L.A. is kind of a new restaurant. It’s called Pizzeria il Fico. It’s an Italian restaurant. It’s one of the only places I know that has whole wheat, thin pizza. It’s loaded with fresh vegetables. We probably go there twice a week.
I live in Studio City, which is in Laurel Canyon. Here are my fancy places: The Soho House in L.A., because I love the environment. It’s gorgeous what they’ve done, really kind of bohemian. I just love it. My favorite food place is called Iroha, and it’s the best sushi I’ve ever had. I’ve been to the best of the best, and it’s just incredible and totally low-key. It’s this old house they turned into a restaurant. My favorite Mexican — because I love Mexican food — is called Mucho Mas, and it’s deep in the valley. I love it because the food is terrific, but you don’t have to wait. You can just go in and sit down pretty much right away.
Gjelina in Venice has a progressive take on its food — you can get oysters and pizza and grilled squid. Caulfield’s at Thompson Beverly Hills is really good at what it does, believe me. It has comfort foods on the menu, which you don’t find everywhere in L.A., but they are simple and nicely prepared.
There’s a restaurant called Petros that I love. That is in Manhattan Beach near where I live. I also love to hang out at Strand House, which is a new place. The atmosphere is amazing. I’m a big sushi girl, so there’s a lot of sushi places I like. Close to me is Izaka-Ya.
Anything in Koreatown. You can find me at anything on Olympic Boulevard between Crenshaw and Hoover at least twice a week. Seriously.
I have tons that I frequent — ¡Lotería! at the Fairfax farmers market, Hama Sushi and Sushi Gen downtown. I like Bäco Mercat, The Spice Table, Hatfield’s, Sycamore Kitchen, Viet Noodle Bar in Atwater, Robata Jinya on Third Street and Sotto. That’s the top of my list.
My home-away-from-home is Axe. It’s been around forever. It’s fantastic. We also have a restaurant here called Gjelina. And then I don’t tell anyone about another favorite — it’s Shima. It’s probably one of the only places in the country that I’ll eat sushi at. It’s such an amazing Japanese restaurant. I’m a really big fan of Rustic Canyon. That’s a great one. From a juice standpoint, I head over to Moon Juice pretty frequently, as well.
Dining in Los Angeles can be one of the most difficult things to decide. Not only is every restaurant delicious, unique and authentic - there are so many to choose from that it’s almost impossible to decide where to go. As a local to this wonderful city, there are a few places I take visitors each time for the atmosphere, cuisine and exquisite customer service.
Yamashiro is by far one of the best restaurants in Los Angeles. I can guarantee that you will not find a better location that has the best views, best food and great atmosphere. Yamashiro serves authentic Japanese cuisine on top of a mountain over-looking the city of Los Angeles.
If you’re in the mood for a good steak, The Little Door is an indoor restaurant that is decorated to make you feel like you’re eating in a forest under the stars. The cuisine is made fresh and by some of the best chefs on the West Coast. If you’re lucky, you may even catch a celebrity out for a bite.
For a more modern American menu, Gordon Ramsay at The London West Hollywood is a hit. Gordon Ramsay's cuisine has been created specifically for the California lifestyle. The menu infuses seasonal, fresh local produce in an extensive array of small plates. Enjoy an exquisite meal while you sit amongst the finest restaurant décor in Southern California.
The eclectic and ambitious Los Angeles restaurant scene is often overlooked in place of dining-driven destinations like New York, Chicago and San Francisco. Over the years, more and more recognized chefs have seen the sun and gravitated toward it, making Los Angeles their home; so much so that now there is no denial that Los Angeles is in the middle of a restaurant Renaissance and offers a breadth of stellar, chef-driven dining options.
I could write for days about restaurants that could be considered the best. It's all a mater of what type of cuisine you want to eat, and where you want to eat it. I like taking my guests downtown because of the variety of cuisine that's offered there. One of my go-to spots is chef Josef Centeno's Baco Mercat. It's there where you can grab a "baco," Centino's signature flatbread sandwich, some where in between a gyro or a very dense taco. You can get the baco stuffed with lighter ingredients like feta and chickpeas in "the fava fritter," but I recommend going all out and ordering "the original," which is a mix of pork, beef carnitas and a salbitxada sauce. Other must-haves on the menu are the Ceasar Brussels sprouts, named that because of the anchovy garlic sauce, and pork belly served over rocotta cavatelli. The plates are smaller, which makes them perfect for exploring the menu and sharing among up to four people.
Not too far away from Baco Mercat you'll stumble on chef Ricardo Zarate's restaurant, Mo Chica, which offers bold flavors from Peru in a lively atmosphere. The menu offers Zarate's signature alpaca stew served with tagliatelle and aji amarillo sauce with fried organic fertile egg on top. If a more familiar option is your speed, try the lomo saltado, which is a sautéed beef filet with roma tomatoes in a ginger-garlic soy sauce, served with Kennebec fries; or the pan con tuna, spicy tuna, tossed in a traditional rocoto sauce with yuzu mayo served on grilled bread.
Heading west through Hollywood, Forbes Travel Guide 4-Star Rated Providence delivers top seafood, but in a much more refined atmosphere. It's here, you'll want to opt for chef Michael Cimarusti's market-driven tasting menu with wine pairings. Littlefork is a more casual seafood-focused restaurant, which also pays homage to the flavors of the Northeast. Pair your daily selection of raw oysters here with a hearty lobster roll and selection of dishes made with house-smoked fish and meats. Meat-driven cuisine takes the spotlight at chef Jon Shook's and Vinny Dotolo's Animal, in the form of dishes like marrow bone with chimichurri with carmelized onions and crispy pig head with salsa macho, crema and avocado.
Santa Monica offers Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star Mélisse where chef Josiah Citrin shops the Santa Monica Farmers Market and serves you the very best from it teamed with top French technique. At Tar & Roses, chef Andrew Kirschner serves eclectic shareable plates, many of which are cooked in the restaurant's wood-burning oven.
Manhattan Beach, the seaside South Bay gem that was much overlooked for serious dining until recently, offers seafood-driven dining at M.B. Post and Fishing with Dynamite from chef David LeFevre. Chez Soi served upscale farm-to-table American fare along with Strand House which adds epic views of the Manhattan Beach Pier.