Los Angeles Restaurants Guide
Though it lacks the culinary cred of San Francisco or New York, Los Angeles has plenty of good eats to offer. The city's ethnic and cultural mix makes for a great variety of cuisines, plus there's the ever-present chance that you'll end up eating dinner next to someone you just read about in a magazine.
For the best-known restaurants (especially those that celebrities are known to eat at), be sure to reserve a table well in advance (at least two weeks). Otherwise, there are hundreds of fantastic neighborhood restaurants and charming joints waiting to feed you. Just remember that, apart from the all-night diners, restaurants in LA stop serving by 9:30 or 10 pm.
Mobil Three-Star Koi (730 N La Cienega Blvd) is an infamous celeb favorite, serving up terrific sushi and Asian fusion cuisine in a zen-inspired dining room. Reservations are required well in advance. If you go, the sushi and sashimi are amazing, as are the tuna tartar appetizer and the grilled tiger prawns. A few meat and vegetarian dishes are available for those who aren't into seafood.
Happy hour tapas and margarita deals are two great reasons to make your way to the Mobil Two-Star Border Grill (1445 4th St) in Santa Monica. Try the poblano quesadilla, any of the ceviches. If you're a fan of tamales, they're also great here.
Father's Office (1018 Montana Ave) is rumored to have the best burger in Los Angeles. Most people love their sweet fries and many agree on the "best burger" status, but some find their insistence on that fact a little pretentious (they're so certain they've got the perfect combination of ingredients that there's no ketchup allowed, and they put blue cheese on every burger). Many prefer The Counter's (2901 Ocean Park Blvd) burger (or burger salad, if you're doing the no-carb thing), which they can top with their own choice of four items.
In the lobby of the Farmer's Daughter Hotel (115 S Fairfax Ave), TART serves up an excellent brunch (Crab Mac 'n' Cheese -- plus an outstanding Bloody Mary if you're so inclined), as well as lunch and dinner daily in a hip setting. Their bar is also very popular with locals.
Cheap, tasty Cuban food at the Mobil One-Star Versailles (1415 S La Cienega Blvd) is a local favorite, which explains the usual wait for a table. Their portions (and their menu) are huge, and everything comes with black beans, rice, onions, and fried plantains. The roasted pork and roasted chicken are the specialties of the house, but they also do a mean Cubano (a grilled sub sandwich stuffed with ham, roast pork, cheese, and pickle).
Mobil Three-Star Spago Beverly Hills (176 N Canon Dr) is a great place to watch celebrities as you dine on sophisticated American cuisine prepared with European and Asian influences. For an appetizer, try the foie gras three ways -- with a crawfish salad, savory duck, or Cantonese style with a citrus tang. For a main course, try the slow-roasted Sonoma lamb with braised greens or the spicy beef goulash.
Weekend brunch at Mobil Two-Star The Raymond Restaurant (1250 S Fair Oaks Ave) in Pasadena is a must. Housed in the caretaker's cottage of what was once the Raymond Hotel, the restaurant is as charming as the brunch menu is delicious (homemade apple fritters!). If you can't make it over for brunch, dinner is equally as tasty (try the lobster crepes), and the dining room takes on a romantic feel at night.
If you're looking for breakfast in Pasadena on a weekday, try Marston's (151 E Walnut St), a charming little breakfast cottage and local favorite, serving up delicious Macadamia nut pancakes and inventive omelets.
In the West 3rd Street area, try BLD (7450 Beverly Blvd) for an inventive and tasty breakfast, lunch, or dinner (see where they got their name?), in a warm yet modern space. Where else can you get a perfect pork shank and poached eggs for breakfast? Started by the couple responsible for the terrific foodie-favorite Mobil Three-Star Grace, just up a block on Beverly (7360 Beverly Blvd), BLD offers the same approach to food, but in a more casual setting, for more reasonable prices.
With so much to do in Los Angeles, you'll want to manage your time there well. On the next page, we've created several suggested itineraries to help you get the most out of your visit to Los Angeles.