Unpretentious Saturday lunch in late June-where?
I am arriving in LA for a few days in late June. One of the reasons is to meet with a doctor who has done me a series of favors personally - basically to meet him personally (we correspond via email) and take him for a thank you lunch. His office is in Beverly Hills - I get the feeling that he lives fairly close to central LA. He is quite a bit my senior (in his 60s)and loves LA - he is very familiar with the city and likes to show it off (i think).
Yet, he is a bit evasive on picking a place for lunch. I wanted to create space for him to show off his knowledge and choose something he might like...being from east coast, I teased him that there is probably no decent deli in LA. He countered with deli suggestions, but in his last note suggested that "we can do bettter than deli" and suggested that I choose! eeek! He is not trying to be difficult, its a casual thing, I think he knows its my tab and figures that if i am paying...then i should choose (maybe he does not want to 'waste a meal' on Nate and Al's ?)
So where should we go for lunch?
The parameters are: It should not be too formal or showy, i don't want to appear to be 'trying to impress'. Its a casual fun Saturday lunch...but it should be "an inside job". This is an experienced Los Angelino we are hosting. Maybe there is casual cutting edge spot with great food that he has yet to try - what is it? Many years ago i was at Masuhisa at the time it was only moderately famous and it was a small, unpretentious spot - something like that would work. Great up and coming chef an option?
I will throw back a few options to him - what are they
What about Barney Greengrass (at the top of Barney's Dept Store in BH)? It's definitely a fun and special place for lunch, and probably not a place that even a Bev. Hills doctor would go regularly for lunch, due to the price. Maybe you could show him that LA has some good "deli" after all?
(310) 777-5877 Reserve Now
9570 Wilshire Blvd, Beverly Hills, CA 90212
Edited to add: just noticed that the original poster asked for a place that was "unpretentious." In that case, you might want to forego this recommendation, although the food is excellent and the view/location nice for a special lunch.
Well, just to close the loop; as a kind of thank you for all the suggestions.
I had to pull the trigger and make the date while some responses where still filtering in - I chose CATCH at the casa del mar. I have since noticed some posters who had disappointing experiences...
It was the perfect "location" - the room is beautiful, the hotel a nice setting two walls of windows right on Santa Monica beach. Proving once again that you can have the view OR the food.
The lunch was mediocre at best - my roasted beet salad did not seem very roasted the goat cheese topping was barely visable, the crab ravioli with lemon and fennel was okay - the raviolis had a nice amount of good crabmeat but the sauce was basically butter - pretty greasy. Other meals looked just okay.
I think you could do a lot better...nonetheless lunch was a success - thanks to all.
Catch is the leading candidate. They are serving an a la carte brunch...I am not a big fan of 'brunch' - ever since Anthony Bourdain admits that Brunch was all about using up leftovers I've had to stay away from 'specials'. In any case I am sure that the food is pretty good, the roomis very SoCal - bright and oceanic - generally I'd rather eat good seafood than most other things...
Then I would suggest going for The Lobster. Of them all, it offers the best combo of view and food, though it can get noisy. As a fall-back, brunch at the Penthouse at the Huntley is not bad and, if the weather cooperates, the views are great. Capo is dinner only; Catch and Ivy are disappointing, particularly for the price. Neither Michael's nor Wilshire, suggested above, are open for Saturday lunch. However, I can't resist pointing out that, while it is not near the pier like The Lobster, your friend is still missing the boat on Anisette--I just had a terrific lunch there today with great onion soup and a very good Bistro burger.
Okay its now narrowed down to Santa Monica as geographically desireable. He questions Anisette (after all its an unknown) and counters with Chinois as his pick (if they are open for lunch)???
Then peppers me with options:
"Ivy at the Shore, The Lobster, Capo if again lunch open, the rest. in the Hotel Casa del Mar or the rest in the Huntley Hotel or Tengu all along the ocean"
NOW - i just checked the website - no saturday lunch at Chinois! Of course not!
Waddya think (i'd try anisette - but we floated that and it sank) I should probably choose off his list - going for the food NOT the view... :)
If you are up for it, I would try the brunch buffet at Rustic Canyon on Wilshire at 11th - food is very good especially the breads, desserts, pastries, etc. Their Saturday brunch buffet is a relatively new feature. Small neighborhood cafe feel with a great wine bar.
Also recommend Cora's Coffee Shop which is operated by the folks at Capo - food is great - drawback is the long wait - no reservations - it's a sidewalk cafe that is very casual. Shutters and Casa del Mar are both great - as is the Lobster - all have good food and great views - especially the Lobster. Love Michaels but it is pricey.
I love lunch at Toscana on Saturday. It's relatively quiet. The best Maitre'D, Antonio, is working; always good local celeb-sightings. Ask the waiter for off-menu items, such as the grilled langoustines. Just a wonderful Saturday lunch venue. At night, the noise can be deafening....Saturday lunch is relaxing, quiet and very lovely.
While I love Angeli Caffe, it is far from cutting-edge and has been here for twenty-plus years. I'm sure the doctor has already been there.
I'd second the Hungry Cat rec but I fear that the menu would be too limited. If the doc doesnt eat seafood his only other option would be the burger.
I would recommend Fraiche in Culver City. Casual with an interesting seasonal menu. Only about a ten minute drive from Beverly Hills. Entrees run around 10 - 20 bucks and they have a lovely front patio.
The lunch menu can be found on their website: www.fraicherestaurantla.com
9411 Culver Blvd, Culver City, CA 90232
Sadly, Fraiche is not open for lunch on Saturdays; otherwise it would have been ideal. I like Archer's suggestions of Anisette or Comme Ca and would also add as suggestions Campanile (terrific California cuisine, sit in the front room), Joe's (very nice brunch), La Terza (good Italian, sit outside) and the Lobster (more for the view of the Bay and the Pier than the food, though the seafood is quite decent).
8384 W 3rd St, Los Angeles, CA 90048
624 S La Brea Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90036
1602 Ocean Avenue, Santa Monica, CA 90401
1023 Abbot Kinney Blvd., Venice, CA 90291
8479 Melrose Ave, West Hollywood, CA 90069
225 Santa Monica Blvd., Santa Monica, CA 90401
Go to San Gabriel for Dim Sum
May be a wait of some kind on Sunday, though!
IF you could go on Sunday, I'd say take him to Boneyard Bistro, whcih is open for a prolonged "brunch" and has AMAZING bbq and Bistro dishes.
Angeli Caffe is good for lunch, and an LA institution. Evan is not "up and coming", she's here to stay!
How about Ethiopian for lunch? MEssob or Rahel are good choices.
Of course, in terms of Delis, ask him to take you to Langer's for Pastrami. Get the 19 or the pastrami palte. Nuff Said.
A trip to the Original Farmer's MArket would be fun-a choice of all the good food plus an LA landmark-jjust stay out of the Grove-but he's probably well versed in it.
If you think he wouldn't mind some "ethnic" fare then either Guelaguetza for Oaxacan food or Chichen Itza for an excellent example of Yucatan cuisine would both be good choices. On the other hand if you are a pastrami lover then Langers would be the place. The best pastrami sandwich in America, (and that includes NY City).
Guelaguetza. 3014 W Olympic Blvd Los Angeles, CA 90006-2516 Phone: (213) 427-0608
Great suggestions all - I don't feel like i know him well enough to do anything aggressively ethnic such as Ethiopian or Oaxacan.
Angeli Caffe seems to hit the mark for me - its italian but its also seasonal, locally influenced - focused on the ingredients
Any others in this vein - so i can throw him some options?