Good Eats in General Area of Beverly Hills
We'll be staying in Beverly Hills. Apart from Bazaar - a must try - sounds like fun no matter what we think of the food - anything new under the sun in Beverly Hills or nearby (5 or so miles) in terms of higher end dining? Our last dining experiences in Beverly Hills ranged from mediocre (Spago) to dismal (Reign - since closed). Bastide seems to open and close every other week. And a place like Sona seems to have garnered not so great reviews from local critics considering the hype it's gotten in the "foodie press". We are not big into steak (and if I want one - I can buy buy really good ones and grill them at home - so a place like Cut probably wouldn't be our cup of tea - except perhaps in terms of decor). So any and all suggestions would be appreciated. I'd rather have a great salami and eggs pancake style than a lousy high end dinner.
The Four Seasons - where we'll be staying - will have a new restaurant opening end of June. We'll try it at least once and report back. Robyn
"I'd rather have a great salami and eggs pancake style than a lousy high end dinner."
for a terrific, upscale New York deli breakfast or brunch, head over to Barney Greengrass. it's on the top floor of Barneys dept store on Wilshire Blvd in the heart of BH. (they have the *best* scrambled eggs with lox & onions, which is why your post made me think of it.)
Barney Greengrass Restaurant
9570 Wilshire Blvd, Beverly Hills, CA 90212
My 2 cents':
Urasawa - A sure hit for sushi-philes. Bring a deep wallet.
Gordon Ramsay at the London - Me like.
XIV - All hype & no substance from Michael Mina.
Bazaar - Even more hype, but some solid food.
Matsuhisa's private room - Still a great Peruvian-Japanese fusion omakase (don't dine in the "general population", 'cuz that experience can range from quite mediocre to just bad). Get their pineapple infused sake and their bento box molten chocolate cake.
Nobu L.A. - Why do you torment our tastebuds, Nobu-san? Stick with Nobu-s flagship (Matsuhisa) down the street...
Gonpachi - Avoid.
Fogo de Chao - High-end all-you-can-devour carnivorous Brazilian chain with a bumpin' salad bar to boot. Get the papaya dessert at the end. Me like.
Koi - Scene central, with 1 good dish - the spicy tuna on toasted rice.
Sona - Skip
Simon LA - Get their funky desserts
Bastide - Dead, then resurrected, then dead again (for now)
Lucques - Solid pick.
Jar - Great chops and many other nice non-steak options as well.
Hirozen - Tucked away in a mini-mall (usually a good sign in L.A.), it does solid Japanese fusion.
Ortolan - An absolute gem, as far as I'm concerned. Eat here!
DuPar's at Farmers Market - Not high-end, but fluffy pancakes worth going for. Check out Farmer's Market while you're there and The Grove also.
Cafe Angelino - (mid-range) - Walking distance from 4Seasons - Outstanding thin Italian pizzas.
Chaya Brasserie - Still kicking. Every time I've been, I've liked. Loud.
Madeo - high-end Italian - lots of "scene"
Montage Beverly Hills - Good for afternoon tea.
Peninsula Beverly Hills - Also good for afternoon tea.
Hotel Bel Air - Beautiful grounds for a brunch, and decent food to boot.
Again, my 2 cents'...
I like "2 cents" lists. They give me a point to start some research on my own. Just a few questions. Why do you put an "avoid" on Sona? That is kind of my general impression from a fair amount of reading - but I wonder why the place has gotten such fantastic write-ups in the national press.
I love "tea" - but can't do tea and dinner on the same day. So will probably have to pass on those.
Also - I generally stay away from celebrity chef "clones" - especially when I have dined at the "Mother Ship" (like Gordon Ramsay RHR).
We dined at Matsuhisa when a lot of people here were probably still in high school :). This many years later - it's probably too late to go home again.
Of the places on your list - the one higher end place that looks really intriguing is Ortolan. My kind of place. Local restaurant - local chef - trying to do higher end stuff with some flair. Read about the chef. Apparently - he started at the Hotel du France - Andre Daguin's old place in Auch - the Perigord (truffle and foie gras country). FWIW - Chef Daguin's daughter is Ariane Daguin - head of D'Artagnan/Hudson Valley foie gras. So he apparently has some serious credentials. Also - Chef Daguin is now head of the restaurant workers trade group/union in France. Will have to read more. And next time you dine in the restaurant - you will have something to chat about with the chef <smile>.
IMO - Los Angeles seems a lot like Miami (where I lived for 20+ years). Lots of people. But hard to find higher end places with excellent food and staying power. It's not because people don't have money. One of my pet theories is people are so spread out - and it is so hard to get from "here" to "there" due to distances/traffic (most people don't want to drive more than about 30 minutes to go to dinner) - that it is difficult for a restaurant to put together a loyal/repeat clientele. It is much easier in cities which may have as many people - but where it is easier to get around. And that is my 2 cents :). Robyn
Lord knows I've tried to like Sona - I gave it 3 chances. I just wasn't impressed.
I'm not the national press. I don't care about Myers' predigree... I'm simply a guy with my taste buds, which told me that Sona isn't worth a 4th trip.
And yes, I'm also acquainted with Chef Eme's background. : -)
Matsuhisa can still impress, if you do it right.
Oh I accidentally left out Melisse (in Santa Monica) in my original list - It is dependably awesome (just went there last night).
And in general, I feel that L.A.'s current forte is NOT high-end dining (NorCal is much better at it). We DO excel at the "ethnic jewel in the strip-mall" genre. So when you come out to L.A., do the taco trucks and the Chinese in San Gabriel Valley thing.
That was our impression our last trip to Los Angeles - and I don't think anything has changed. So I will govern myself accordingly :).
Our last two trips to California have been to San Francisco - and the San Jose/Palo Alto area (the latter on a mileage run to get miles for Continental Elite status). And we found pretty much the same with regard to the "higher end" of the dining spectrum. Although I am pretty fond of the ingredient driven middle of the road places up north. For example - we had a much better meal at Tanglewood in San Jose (on Santana Row) than we did at La Folie in San Francisco (at least at the time - owned/operated by the same chef/group).
When we go to a place like Los Angeles where we're dealing with east ---> west jet lag - our general rule of thumb is to try to have a nice lunch as our main meal - and then wing it for dinner. Whether it's a bit to eat at the bar or room service at the hotel - or perhaps a pizza (like at one of the places you mentioned).
Another question. We really hated Spago when we dined there our last trip. How can any restaurant claim to be "high class" when it serves a dessert that is basically a bowl of strawberries dumped out of a container you might buy at a supermarket (even I can do better than that!). But we very much enjoyed a lunch at Chinois on Main trip before that. It's been a really long time since we were there. Have you dined there within the last 5 or so years? If so - what do you think? Robyn
I went to Chinois last year. At that time, Chinois SORELY needed a dining room makeover (it still looks like Huey Lewis & The News would come in through the door anytime), BUT the food was still very, very good.
Spago has never been a great place for me (2 prior so-so meals), but some 'Hounds go on and on about it, so I guess I didn't "do it right".
Don't underestimate the pizza at Cafe Angelino... It may be known as simply a neighborhood fave, but I think their pizza is world-class. Get the pizze funghe or pizze margherita.
That's good news about Chinois. I suspect we'll get to Santa Monica at least one day.
That makes 2 of us with regard to Spago - and I know we didn't do anything "wrong".
I never underestimate pizza - just don't eat it that often. We try to eat "healthy" at home - and stay reasonably fit - so we can indulge when we travel. Robyn
Looks like my original reply got "lost". We've been Nate 'n Al's. Liked it. I'm sure we'll return (we don't have any Jewish deli to speak of in Jacksonville). Might also take a look at Barney Greengrass. FWIW - the Barney's in Tokyo has 2 floors of great restaurants at the top - although none is a Jewish deli :). Robyn
Ludo Lefebvre is currently reviving his Ludo Bites at the Bread Bar on 3rd Street (Ludo previously from L'Orangerie, then Bastide, then LAVO in Vegas). Up until Thursday it was 3 courses for $39 but now he's switching back to tapas menu I heard. He's moody it seems? :P
I second J.L.'s recs on Urasawa, Jar, and Ortolan, but I also like Sona. It isn't as creatie as Ortolan perhaps but the food was good. At least last time I went. ( http://gourmetpigs.blogspot.com/2008/... ) I have a better impression of it than Matsuhisa anyway.
Lucques is still kicking.
Now I'm trying to go back to the "new under the sun" focus. How about Cecconi's? I've only been once for brunch, but it was solid and seemed promising.
Most new higher end places these days are in downtown or Hollywood area, if you're willing to venture there.
We're willing to go just about anywhere for lunch - and will stick closer to "home" for dinner. I just don't feel like driving 20 or 30 miles at night in Los Angeles - even with a GPS (last time we did something like that was in Dallas - and it was no fun at all - especially after a couple of drinks). I am following the Four Days in Los Angeles thread - so I am getting some idea of suggestions in the greater metro area. Although - unlike the OP there - I have no interest in celebrities (wouldn't know most movie stars if I tripped over them - and I get to see enough of those who play golf at home at our golf club). Robyn
don't miss bazaar it is fantastic--food, people watching, and decor. a couple of other thoughts: m cafe de chaya for a real only in la/funky tatooed rock and movie star experience and really delicious food, skip dupars at farmer's market, but don't miss lotteria for delicious mexican, i'd not skip mozza if you've not been, i love grace and the more casual version bld. on my personal list to try right now? garden state on fairfax.
Some of my favorites:
The Bazaar--yes, must try!
Providence--best seafood, chef tasting menu is the way to go
Ludobites--well worth trying
Asanebo--go for lunch if you don't mind driving over the hills
Umami Burger--something you can't find in Miami
Il Tramezzino--great paninis(get chicken special) for lunch, dinner or late night
Santouka--best ramen in LA, IMO
and of course, Urasawa--the ultimate experience in Japanese cuisine in LA
Spago for lunch, particularly on Friday, is magical. The patio is THE place to sit.
Laurent is one of the best dining room managers anywhere. He always organizes our meal and I have yet to look at a menu.
Signature dish of Spicy Tuna Tartar in a sesame tuile
House-Smoked Salmon served on a Lemon Herb Blini with Dill Crème Fraiche
Hamachi Ceviche with Baby Beets served in a Chinese spoon
Bacon en Croute – an old favorite
Japanese Cucumber Sorbet with Diced Cucumber and Daikon – a nice palate cleanser before the main part of the meal
Duo of Crab
1. Panko Crusted Soft Shell Crab with Scallions, Ginger, Marinated Cucumber Salad and Pickle Vinaigrette – the soft shell was perfect – light, not a hint of grease
2. Maryland Crab Cake, Basil Aioli, Tomato Vinaigrette – what was excellent about this crab cake is that it was pure crab – no filler, just crab
Pan-roasted Black Bass on a bed of carrot puree and wild ramps
Then artichokes, tomatoes and a wild ramp vinaigrette and olive oil vinaigrette is added table side to the bass – delicious, light, plus seasonality at its best
Risotto with Maine Sweet Shrimp, Santa Barbara Uni and Baby Japanese Zucchini – what is not to like? – uni, shrimp and risotto
Pan-Roasted Liberty Duck Breast, Onion Soubise, Porcini Mushrooms, Huckleberries, Natural Jus – excellent
Fraise de bois, Shortcake, Raspberry
A lovely lunch, well-orchestrated by Laurent. I often say that Spago is two restaurants in one. The best way to go is a tasting menu. Let the staff orchestrate the menu and you will have a fine dining experience.
Agree with everyone, Bazaar is the best new spot in LA. Try to sit in the Rojo Room. Give your server an idea of what you like and dont and let the Chef pick.
Dinner in the garden at Polo Lounge is always wonderful.
Dan Tana's on Sunset a fun classic.
If you like jazz and large martini's as well as very good food, Vibrato at the top of Beverly Glen is a fun change.
Il Picolino on Robertson is a great choice for Italian, get the mussels with fries.
You might have come and gone by now, but think about Angeli Cafe for a low-key, moderately priced Italian meal made with lovely fresh ingredients--I know it was big in the 80's, but it still is worth a stop. Going there always makes me happy. But Dupars--umm--really? (The doughnuts at Bob's are a better bet.)
Just an update. I've made some dining plans. Wednesday at Bazaar - Thursday at Providence - Friday at the Four Seaons (our hotel - we are dining with old friends we haven't seen in a very long time and figure this is our best bet for a single seating nice meal with no hassles on a Friday night). Saturday we will probably drive down to San Diego to see elderly aunt/uncle. Reservations not prudent due to possible family/traffic problems. That leaves us with Sunday/Monday/Tuesday. Robyn
If you're looking for new interesting restaurants in LA you should check out XIV. It's Michael Mina's new restaurant on Sunset and Crescent Heights. They have an interesting concept that was scrapped but you can still partake in. They have 8, 11 or 14 course tasting that the whole table has to order. I thought it was a great way to try a lot of dishes. I really enjoyed all of the fish preparations and thought MM in SF was always very good with seafood. Each of the 8, 11 or 14 plates comes with about 2 to 3 bites.
You sound like you know your food and LA pretty well, if you haven't already been to Korean BBQ (Park's) or Peruvian (Balcones Del Peru) I would make a trip out there. It's about 20 minutes from BH but not that much farther than going to Providence.
Los Balcones Del Peru
1360 Vine St, Los Angeles, CA 90028
955 S. Vermont Ave, Suite G, Los Angeles, CA 90006
8117 Sunset Blvd, West Hollywood, CA 90046
A wonderful sushi chef moved to Beverly Hills last year: Katsu is located on Beverly Drive just north of Wilshire. Not cheap, but his fish are always the best (not the kind of bait you are served at places like Nozawa), and he is a master with the knife.
More germane to your quest might be Judy's, on Bedford north of Wilshire. A very good breakfast/lunch place with sandwiches and the kind of deli dishes you would pay more for at one of the fancier spots. Lots of people-watching, viewing the plastic surgery clientele.
One of our favorite places to eat on special occasions is at Crustaceans on Bedford and Santa Monica Blvd. Great ambience but the prices are outrageous for everyday dining. Their specialty garlic-butter Dungeness crab and house special garlic noodles will knock your socks off. Everything is fung-shui oriented where entering the front door, you'll find a running stream under under your feet as well as salt water tanks filled with live fish. Check out their website. http://www.anfamily.com/Restaurants/c...