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what celebrity-owned restaurant in Los Angeles actually serves good food?

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dont mean to sound so horribly vague or "touristy" but Im playing tour guide to my sister's friend from Missouri who requested to go to one of those overly hip, "owned-by-ashton" type places so that he (i suppose) can go home and say "he's been".
My cousins from the Philippines might also be tagging along, everyone in the group is in their 20s, so i guess i need to pour on the glitz.

We've been looking into Geisha House, Dolce, Koi, Beso, Spago, etc...

They dont have a preference for the type of restaurant/food, they're much more into the Hollywood scene than the food. So Im thinking any celebrity-attachment will do.

Now Ive read up some of the unfavorable reviews chowhounds are giving some these places (like Geisha House) and i agree-- I'd rather spend my hard earned money on something i know will taste great and may cost much less (which explains why ive never really been to these places)
but in this case its not about what i want.

However, if we must go, then i say let it be at the restaurant that serves the best food-or the most decent food.
Now given this rather open assignment (its like asking,"whats the best celebrity-owned restaurant in LA?") i ask for any suggestions or insight anyone might have.

Thanks

(and if ive committed a chowhound faux-pas somehow, please forgive, im basically still somewhat a chowhound virgin)

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  1. We have restaurants owned by celebrities and then we have restaurant chefs who have become celebrities (Mr. Puck). Spago for the tasting menu will be your best bet for good food. This prior thread will be of assistance in your potential "celebrity munching sightings" quest.

    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/555815

    1. Certainly Spago has the best food as the other posters noted, but it would probably be wasted on the group you describe since you admit they're more into the Hollywood scene than the food. The crowd there is usually pretty old and if there's anyone famous, they might be too old for your group to recognize.
      The food at Koi is pretty good. I would skip the others you mentioned. What about Pizzeria Mozza? Not owned by actor-type celebrities, but I think it gets a pretty good crowd, has better food and is more reasonably-priced. How about Katsuya in Hollywood? Food is generally good there. Also, Bar Deluxe and the Kress.

      4 Replies
      1. re: Chowpatty

        Thanks for your insight. I was almost completely sold on Spago but you bring up a good point . I dont know everyone going with me intimately, but they would probably want to be amongst a younger crowd. Koi would be right up their alley and Im now looking more into Pizzeria Mozza and Katsuya. if the crowd they seek is there, I dont think they'll mind.
        With the new suggestions Im getting, i think I can abandon Geisha House and the like.

        But Im sure nobody will have any shame in saying, "ive eaten at Spago" to their friends back home.

        1. re: thelpv

          I would go with Katsuya. It's one of those wow restaurants, they'll be overwhelmed with its hip factor, and the food is quite good. If they watch The Hills, they'll know who Brent Bolthouse is -- he owns Katsuya.

          1. re: yogachik

            I agree. Katsuya is pretty good, and it's not overly expensive either. Depends on how much you order, but you can definitely keep it less than Spago, Mastro's, even Geisha House. And Geisha House is soooo dead now.
            STK would be another place... last time my friend went, she saw David Beckham, Victoria, Kate Beckinsale and her husband. I wouldn't mind seeing Becks... even overpriced steak would be worth it!

            1. re: spicychow

              Good idea to scrap the Geisha House...food is horrible and overpriced.

      2. Ortolan. But that is owned by Actress Jeri Ryan rather than a chef celeb.

        1 Reply
        1. re: mmontgomery

          Ortolan is amazing, it really is. Very expensive though....

        2. Sea Harbour.

          Jackie Chan is a (very) minor investor. :-)

          3 Replies
          1. re: ipsedixit

            usually sea harbour is my absolute fav. last time i was there (dec 29th) it was just eh. :(
            but i'll give them another chance!

            1. re: NYCnowLA

              What did you order?

              The live seafood is always good -- esp. when they have geoduck and abalone in stock. Fresh fish is generally good, but can be pricey. Crustaceans never disappoint. Bitter melon soup is delightful (esp. the presentation) and so is the sea turtle soup, as well as fish maw. I could go on and on ... :-)

              1. re: ipsedixit

                Crustacean is the best! Definitely try the Dungeness Crab and Buttered Noodles

          2. I bet they would love Beso. Go for drinks & apps - pull together a couple of the bar tables. Always celebs there.

            1. Ryan Gosling owns Tagine.