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NYC Friend-Restaurant for people watching

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I am looking for a restaurant to take my friend from NYC to. It must be good quality, great for people watching, "happening", and money is no object. Trying to find something new. We usually end up at Mastro's, Georgios, Ago, Dana Tanas, Matsuhisa, Ivy at the Shore, The Grill, Toscana, Cafe Del Fini, Locanda Veneta, Cut. My friend does not like "interesting" food and is pretty picky.She likes pretty basic fare-Italian, American or Japanese. She eats out EVERY night in NY but loves the L.A. scene. We went to the Lodge last time she visited but we had a very negative experience. They kept up waiting for 1 hour and a half and the steaks were VERY salty....(Maybe it was an off night). Looking for some place new!!!! It can be anywhere in between West Hollywood and Santa Monica.

Suggestions??? Thanks. How is Moza?? Simon L.A.???

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  1. Either Ketchup or Social would fit the bill.

    The food at Simon LA is a tad underwhelming and the star quotient there is even more so.

    Mozza is good, but coming from NYC your friend probably has had plenty of Mario's design/cooking, and the star gazing there is pretty uneven.

    2 Replies
    1. re: ipsedixit

      I'd say Ketchup, Citizen Smith, Social, or Dolce Enoteca. You've done Ivy at the Shore, but the original is good for people/scene as well, probably even better at lunch on the patio.

      For Japanese, Koi, Katana, or Fat Fish are all sceney. If you want a chance of spotting Britney Spears, and watching the paparazzi chase her through the parking lot, go for sushi up at the Glen (beverly glen just south of mulholland)

      Drop her off at Urth Caffe or Elixir for an afternoon people watching session, or that corner Coffee Bean.

      1. re: Emme

        I think the Coral Tree Cafe in Brentwood has a nice outdoor patio area, good for people watching. I would recommend this for a lunch spot. I tried their banana latte, and it was yummy. They also have good salads and desserts. I prefer it to Urth cafe, possibly because I never had anything like that banana latte elsewhere, and also because the space is larger. They serve organic food, and the prices are cheap. Even if you decide to go elsewhere for dinner, maybe she can check this place out, while in LA. :)

        http://www.coraltreecafe.net/

    2. Perhaps Madeo's or Nobu in Malibu? I don't know that the fare at either would be that interesting for her, but I think you'd have a pretty good shot for an interesting scene at either. The Polo Lounge at the Beverly Hills Hotel would probably also fit the bill.

      1. The food is "eh", but your friend will probably be happy, scene-wise, as Geisha House on Sunset.

        Nobu,mentioned above is good..The stars like Malibu.

        Oddly, I've had most of my sightings in smaller,less trendy spaces. David Hasslhoff and Keanu Reeves can't seem to leave me alone. I see Hasselhoff in the SF Valley all the time, as well as Jack Black, Ving Rhames, Brittney Spears, Joey from "Gimme a Break" and "Blossom", Dave Navarro and the croatian guy from "ER". Plus others. Usually in a cheap sushi joint, Baskin Robbins, or Art's Deli. I saw Joey and all his clone brothers in Buca Di Beppo (don't ask me why I was there!). One of the little clones got into trouble with his mom for not doing his homework. She yelled. It was satisfying.

        The one sure thing I'll say about celebrities is that they are all really short.
        Ving Rhames was scared of my dog.

        Spago is a good spot to see celebs, as well as people who believe they are celebs. They like to shop at Gelson's..north Hollywood, Encino, Marina Del Ray and Pacific Pallisades are popular among the stars.

        1. Tony's Taverna in Malibu has a pretty strong celebrity following...and the food is probably the best traditional greek in town.

          1. Simon is good for neither food nor celebrities. Avoid.

            Sunset Tower has been getting a LOT of write ups lately in the tabloids. I haven't been there myself, but I'd say it's a safe bet for people-watching.

            I also second Koi.

            During the day, Toast and Urth are good (and inexpensive and yummy) bets for famous faces.

            Aside from restaurants, the hot celeb-heavy bars these days are Area and Hyde, if you can get in - a bottle service reservation is the safest way to go.

            1 Reply
            1. re: LisaStitch

              I appreciate the suggestions. Just trying to figure out something new! We do go to Nobu about every other month and my friend eats at the one in Manhatten every Friday night (yes, every Friday night!!). We also often lunch at the Brentwood Mart, shop at Vicente foods, etc...Allegria in Malibu has been good too! I am curious about Sunset Tower...Koi might be a fun place to try!!!