Showing posts tagged losangelesrestaurants123
Babycakes Moves West! (NYC and now LA)
My favorite “healthy” NYC bakery has finally made the move to the left coast, but for some reason settled down before they hit sand. Apparently the LES native insists on keeping “East” in their recipe! The trendy, gluten-free, wheat-free, sugar-free bakery is packed with downtown dwellers, but have left those of us living west of Hollywood salivating from afar. You would never know these sweet treats are better for your body than Sprinkles.
It’s definitely a step in the right direction, I am keeping my fingers crossed for a Weho location soon!
Los Angeles: 130 East 6th Street 213.623.5555
New York: 248 Broome Street (Btwn Orchard & Ludlow) 212.677.5047
My first article went up today on CultureMap.com - a digital guide to Houston’s best all laid out for you on an interactive map (very cool!). My lists below for people who have been to LA once or twice.
It’s time to pack up your burnt orange polos and head west to watch the Longhorns roll over the Crimson Tide. With all of the excitement, you might have forgotten to plan your extra day in LA. Being a native Houstonian, I know the bright lights of Hollywood and price tags of Rodeo Drive can be intimidating, so I’ve laid out a few itineraries you’ll enjoy and be able to navigate.
The Big Spender
• Enjoy a light and healthy bite at Urth Café for breakfast.
• Browse the best boutiques on Robertson Boulevard.
• Share a McCarthy salad at The Polo Lounge at The Beverly Hills Hotel.
• Pick up a Sprinkles cupcake on your way to Rodeo Drive to shop designer brands.
• Polish up with my favorite mani-pedi at Golden Nail ($40).
• Devour the city’s best at The Bazaar at The SLS Hotel, Mozza Osteria or Phillipe.
• Make your way to Chateau Marmont or The Montage for post-dinner drinks.
For the Fashionista
• Grab a nonfat mocha latte from Coffee Bean on your way to browse Robertson Boulevard.
• Power walk up an appetite to be satisfied at Toast or Joan’s on Third.
• Pray for sales as you shop on Melrose from West to East - Marc Jacobs, DVF, Madison Warehouse Sale Store, Fred Segal, and BCBG clearance store. Drive east on Melrose, turn right on La Brea and hit American Rag just south of First Street.
• Get all dressed up for the scene at Katana or Terroni.
• Flirt with the hottest Cali boys at The Roger Room, Winston’s, Guys and Dolls, Jane’s House or 1912.
Goofing Off With The Boys
• Fill a grumbling tummy at The Griddle (Local tip: Pumpkin pancakes are to die for).
• Take a hike up Runyon Canyon to see the city from up top.
• Devour an “animal style” burger In-N-Out (just like The Dude).
• Stroll Hollywood and see the stars.
• Take down 2-for-1 cocktails at Cabo Cantina’s happy hour.
• Make your way to Bar Marmont, Jones Hollywood or 8 ounce for a great meal.
• Hit up The Village Idiot afterwards. You’ll be able to get into this bar!
A Day Outdoors on The West Side (Don’t worry, it’s not too cold.)
• Either walk the beach boulevard on Venice Beach to people watch or enjoy a gentle morning hike up Temescal Canyon or through Will Rogers Park.
• Lunch at Café Montana or R+G on Montana Avenue.
• Stroll the shops on Montana Avenue.
• Enjoy drinks while watching the sunset at Casa Del Mar.
• Dinner at The Ivy, Cafe Montana, Father’s Office (supposedly the best burger, that’s all they have), The Wilshire
• After dinner: The rooftop restaurant at The Huntley
Really + Disappointing - R+D Kitchen (Santa Monica, CA)
After hearing Andy rave about the cafe on Montana and having one great experience with the chain (at the Dallas location) under my belt, I was expecting great things from R+D Kitchen when we ventured west for dinner on Sunday night.
Founded by the owners of Houston’s, R+D has to meet a certain standard. We expect flavorful dishes and friendly service in a comfortable atmosphere. In most cases two outta three ain’t bad, but in this scenario it’s really disappointing.
The menu failed me completely. Apparently, the restaurant was opened as a testing ground for new dishes for Houston’s and Watergrill, but due to popular demand, began serving a few items regularly. “Few” being the opperative word here. The whole menu consists of maybe 20 boring options (including apps) and a couple of nightly specials. We dined on pasta from a box topped with rubbery chicken meatballs and cold brocolli as well as the boiled cod special, which actually didn’t make me cringe but didn’t blow me away either. When the server tells you the burger is the best thing on the menu, that should be a sign you did not choose the restaurant wisely.
With Cafe Montana only a few blocks away, I really don’t see the need to waste your time at R+D unless you’re looking for a lite bite in a bar setting or just need a reason to get frustrated.
Restaurants become a standard due to their food and clientle. And when the spot is always hot, sometimes the food slips. But when you’re calling weeks ahead to get a reservation and paying big bucks for spaghettti with meat sauce, you want it to be damn good.
The other night I ate at Dan Tana’s - a legendary restaurant in LA - and the food was horrible. I was served an unrecognizable “white” fish and friends dined on Italian classics that tasted like Stouffer’s frozen tv dinners.
After I made the list below I realized the majority of the local favorites are still reliable, but we have to keep demanding the best from them. Just because Halle Barry is sitting next to you or Robert De Niro owns the joint does not make chewy gnocchi acceptable.
Here I offer a list of LA’s most popular Italian restaurants
Salivate and Stargaze at:
Don’t Bother Setting Foot In:
Il Moro - Los Angeles
Most people who frequent this lovely West LA classic Italian eatery don’t care about the Benjamins they will be spending on the check, but more importantly about the power play and bigger bucks to be made over the mouth-watering meal. In other words, it’s one of the quintessential Hollywood networking hot spots for agents, producers, and actors.
It just so happens the food is fantastic. Italian dishes that would usually require a subsequent nap are fresh and light so you don’t feel stuffed after you put away a plate of pasta. Although the offering is not exactly what you’d find in Italy, the dishes are classic yet distinct.
Enjoy your meal on the terrace or at the white linen tables inside. The whole experience is delightfully delicious.
Sauce on Hampton - Los Angeles, CA
This place looks delicious!
I need to start a list of healthy spots around LA…..
Sauce on Hampton- 259B Hampton Dr., Venice, CA 90291 (at 2nd St.) (310) 399-5400
Katsu-ya(s) - Los Angeles
What once was a hidden treasure in the valley in a strip center next to Domino’s and a mom-and-pop pet store has exploded into one of LA’s trendiest restaurants. Yes, nightlife extraordinaire Sam Nazarian knows a good thing when he sees it. Instead of letting it be, he injects the concept with millions of dollars and a Philippe Starck design to make it explode across the greater Los Angeles area.
For those of you who live in LA, Katsu-ya is not front page news, and it’s far from Sam’s latest offerings. But, I think you’ve noticed, it’s still bumpin’.
Personally I’m a fan of the original, which I wrote up here. Most locals would agree with me. It’s still the best.
But for people visiting LA, I think the SBE Katsu-yas exemplify LA. First of all, the original’s signature dishes are replicated to a T. Albeit they cost twice as much, but you’re paying for atmosphere, which is always teeming with celebs, producers, hot actresses, and plenty of wanna-be douche bags. It’s the pu pu plater of LA culture! Kidding…kinda.
Anyway, as much as the locals trash it, they’re always there. The food is good, the people are pretty, and the vibe is alive.
Locations include: Brentwood (my favorite), Hollywood (filled with underage party peeps), Downtown, and…Glendale.
Dishes I devour: spicy tuny app, rock shrimp tempura, baked crab hand roll, black cod. Yum!
Comme Ca - Los Angeles
I’ve heard about Comme Ca for a while now - since Octover 2007 to be exact. Before dinner I twittered “I hope it’s not comme ci comme ca.” Apparenlty I jinxed the joint because that was exactly my feeling about the whole experience.
We walked into quite a scene (which is to be expected) and sat down to a bar menu packed with apothecary-style drinks and an impressive French wine-by-the-glass list. Good start, if that’s what you’re into. I am not a fan of either, but I like that my company always enjoys the effort they have put into their selction of people and beverages.
Another pet peeve I have is ridiculously loud restaurants. I have no interest in raising my voice to talk to the person sitting next to me. Obviously this happens at countless restaurants, I just usually don’t go back to them.
Especially after being served a meal like ours. The crab cake appetizer was mediocre and both entrees (halibut and chicken) were dry as a bone. I mean, pass the ketchup dry. Jeff had a sauce to dip his chicken in, but my halibut was pretty much unedible. So, I didn’t eat much of it - so disappointing. The hot waiter then politely asked me if I enjoyed the meal.
Speaking of the waiter, I loved his uniform (pictured on the top right). I chose this picture to post because the bar menu and waiters’ outfits were basically all Comme Ca has to offer. Another popular spot with a poorly executed menu that will
surely hopefully fall to wayside soon. It has survived 2 years now….
Bottom line, not worth your time or your tummy.
Food + Lab (Los Angeles)
Think Urth Cafe for those of us who want to eat healthy in WeHo without the celeb scene. And the food is better.
Our Lunch - Part 1
Me: Chicken curry salad sandwich on raisin pecan bread.
Andy: Grilled chicken (with amazing flavor), edamame, cranberry, and pecan salad over spinach with house dressing.
Oh so tastey and healthy…well…Then there’s part 2.
MY ALL TIME FAVORITE LIST - LOS ANGELES ::
- Mastro’s - Steakhouse
- Spago - Wolfgang Puck
- Asia de Cuba - Asian fusion
- Koi - Japanese
- Georgio Baldi - Italian
- Cut - Wolfgang Puck Steakhouse
- Ago - Italian
- Mozza Osteria- Italian
- Pace - Italian
- AOC - Tapas
- Mr. Chow - Chinese
Middle of the Road
- Tratoria Amici - Italian
- Taste - American
- Magnolia Grill - American
- Cheebo - Pizza
- Mozza Pizzeria - Pizza and wine
- Porta Via - Italian
- Sushi Mon - Japanese
- Fred Segal - pricey lunch but good Italian food and people watching
- Il Tramezzino - the most delicious sandwich ever = grilled chicken special
- Katsuya (the original in Studio City)
- Baja Fresh - Mexican
- In ‘N Out - Burgers (order “Animal Style” whatever you get)
- Pink’s Hot Dogs
- Carney’s Hot Dogs
- El Compadre - Mexican
- Bristol Farms - Grocery
- Lemonade - Cafe
- Toast - Cafe
- Bossa Nova - Brazilian and more
- Astro Burger - Burgers, sandwiches
- California Wok - Chinese
Other Tasty Treats
Healthy (mostly breakfast and lunch)
- Hugo’s - Cafe
- Tender Greens - Salads
- Urth Cafe
- Newsroom Cafe
- Basic Bites
- California Chicken Cafe
- M Cafe de Chaya
- Real Food Daily
- Beverly Hills Hotel(Cafe or Poolside) - f-ing expensive
- Four Seasons Brunch - yep $$$
- Toast - Cafe
- Saddle Ranch
- The Griddle
- Little Door
- Polo Lounge (many people would fight me about this one)
- Moonshadows (only go for drinks)
- Any restaurant in Sunset Plaza or the Grove
- Sushi Dan
- The Ivy
- Trader Vic’s
- Jerry’s Famous Deli
- The Roosevelt Hotel
- Clubs in LA
Best Expensive Shopping: Robertson(between 3rd and Melrose), Melrose Place(east of La Cienega), Montana (a lovely stroll in Santa Monica), Neiman Marcus and Barney’s
Affordable? Boutique Shopping: 3rd Street East of Sweetzer, La Brea south of Melrose, Beverly Blvd south of Wilshire, Main Street in Santa Monica (south of the 10)
Best Bargain Shopping: Third Street Promenade (Santa Monica), Loehmann’s(La Cienega), Century City Mall
Places to See: Venice Beach, Sunset Strip at night, Rodeo drive, Hollywood Boulevard, a hike up Runyon Canyon, hmmm….
Comedy: The Comedy Store on Sunset or the Improv
IF YOU LIVE HERE
Mani/Pedi/Waxing: Golden Nail 9893 Santa Monica Blvd (310) 788-9027
Grocery Store: Trader Joe’s
Alterations: This little spot next to Cookies By Design @ 8610 W. 3rd St.
Now that Spring is upon us, you’re probably looking for some quaint outdoor dining. One of my favorite LA spots no one knows about is Trattoria Amici. Hidden behind a wall of greenery, attached to the looks-like-a-dump Beverly Terrace Motel, this classic Italian restaurant serves :: great food at decent prices. Not to mention, how cute is this patio.
Always sit outside even if it’s cold (they have heaters) and enjoy the freshly made bruchetta they bring you minutes after you arrive. My all time favorite dish is the Rollata - turkey breast rolled and roasted with spinach and parmesan inside, topped with a chianti sauce. Potatoes and steamed veggies come on the side. All for $17.50. The Pasta del Mar is supposed to be amazing as well, but I always get the same thing.
BYOB if you have a bottle you’re dying to open, but they have a lovely selection that won’t make you cringe at the prices.
You never hear me say this, so you know I’m telling the truth. Skip the dessert. It’s not worth the calories.
Did I mention last time I went there, the place was empty except for two tables. Ours and at the other Demi Moore, Penelope Cruz and two producers sat chatting about their upcoming projects. Just thought I’d throw that in.
Tonight Kitty Ball and I dined at 8 Ounce Burger Bar. My friend who manages it has been trying to get me in to taste the famous burger. Of course the night I pop in, he’s out. But it’s not like he’s the one grilling, so we piled into a booth and began to parse the menu.
I gotta say, as I type, I don’t feel like I just ate a delicious, juicy, smoked beef burger. (You know, usually you’re stuffed and distraught with guilt. I feel neither.) Chef Govind Armstrong is not messing around with simplicity when it comes to a beef/turkey/veggie patty. Each bite packs a punch of flavor. Interesting additions (all organic) like grilled balsamic red onions provide even more depth to the perfectly packaged sandwiches. It’s almost like drinking good wine: in one mouthful there are so many things going on to experience and appreciate. Click here for the menu.
You can wear jeans and a white T to enjoy the meal, but you might want to spruce a little. The crowd is trendy and good looking. With the 80’s rock in the background creating a fun vibe, you never know who you could meet.
8 Ounce - 7661 Melrose (@Stanley) in Weho 323-852-0008 (Walkins only for small reservations.)
Last night the boys and I ate at Mozza Pizzeria for Amon’s birthday. Located on the corner of Melrose and Highland are two Mozza restaurants. Mozza Osteria is the nicer of the two and boasts what looks to be an AMAZING gourmet Italian menu and a Mozzarella bar. The Pizzeria is more casual and serves truly authentic Italian pizza.
The thin crust pizzas are small enough to order a few for your table. Any Italian meal would not be complete without a fabulous Italian wine, which if you’re not familiar with them, the sommelier bartenders are more than happy to make a recommendation. They chose two bottles for us, each with a distinct flavor, both outstanding.
Don’t dare go without a reservation. The bar is open seating, but you still have to wait.
Last night a friend and I dined at one of his favorite Beverly Hills spots: Porto Via.
The decor is modern but not at all pretentious, so instantly you feel comfortable. One glance at the menu and you’re confused because everything looks so good! Not to mention, all of the produce is organic, and the fare is light and healthy. We chose an heirloom tomato, watermelon, and feta salad to start, and finished with salmon in marinara and the most AMAZING Parmesan-crusted halibut.
You might find a celeb or two here, but you will certainly appreciate the greeting from Peter the owner and the local vibe he has created. On a gorgeous LA night, dining al fresco, with good company, and amazing food, you really can’t ask for anything more.
Without a doubt, Porto Via is one of my favorite Italian eateries in Los Angeles. (Might have to go back before I leave!)