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Los Angeles
Travel Notes on Los Angeles From the StarChefs Editors

As New Yorkers, StarChefs editors are accustomed to traveling an island 12 miles long and two miles wide, relying on subways, buses, and taxis. So, it seems understandable that New Yorkers might be navigationally challenged by the never-ending freeways of Los Angeles.



RESTAURANTS
Amuse Café
Rose Café and Market
The Lobster
One Pico
The Grille @ the Fairmont Miramar Hotel
Röckenwagner
Josie
Valentino
Zax
Jer-ne
Chloe
Angelini Osteria
Opaline
Grace Restaurant
Table 8
Lucques
L’Orangerie
Le Dome
Sona

Patina
Noe Restaurant & Bar
Water Grill
Max Restaurant
NIGHTLIFE & SMALL PLATES
Boe
Cinch
Dolce, Enoteca e Ristorante
Enoteca Drago Ristorante
HOTELS
Ritz-Carlton, Marina de Rey
The Georgian Hotel
Shutters
Le Merigot
Raffles L’Ermitage Beverly Hills



Outstanding restaurants in LA are few and far between. They do exist, but they are located miles apart, at opposite sides of this megalopolis. What lies between can appear, at times, to be a wasteland of ultra trendy establishments and tired bistros that lack gastronomic substance or depth.

Perhaps we’re stating the obvious, but food is definitely not the main event in LA. In a city where image is everything, and celebrity watching is a full-contact sport, Angelinos, by and large (or should we say “buy and skinny”), are more concerned with looking fabulous than eating fabulous. Govind Armstrong of Table 8, among others, is changing this image of the LA food scene. When Govind was 13, while most of his friends were at the beach catching monster waves, he was inside the kitchen of Spago working alongside celebrity chef, Wolfgang Puck. Govind’s fine pedigree is evident in his cuisine. He has a flare for creating fresh and simple dishes without excessive sauces or complicated fusion. His restaurant achieves that hard-to-strike balance where the hip scene and swanky ambiance are matched by dynamite food.

More about the LA “scene” later. We digress for a moment to touch upon the anti-scene that is Santa Monica, a wonderful microcosm unto itself. Santa Monica is the place to stay and eat if you are traveling with young children. A family could stay in Santa Monica for a week and not run out of entertainment – culinary and otherwise. Kids can be easily occupied by a hotdog on a stick at the Santa Monica Pier and jumping on and off rides all daylong at the amusement park.

Kids and adults can both be entertained by repeated trips to The Lobster, located right on the Santa Monica Pier. Chef Allyson Thurber appeals to diners of all ages with favorites like Lobster Salad and Sweet Corn Scallion Pancakes.

One of the main attractions for epicures is in nearby Venice at Amuse Café, where Chefs Brooke Williamson and Nick Roberts, ages 24 and 25, respectively, serve elevated comfort food like Duck Leg Confit and Baked Rigatoni with mascarpone and cheese sticks.

When the craving for the perfect burger strikes, and it inevitably does when you’re on vacation with kids, a trip to Zax in Brentwood is a must. While the celebrity sightings are an amusing distraction, the real focus should be Chef Gavin Portsmouth’s ground ribeye burger served on a pretzel bun with blue cheese, bacon, caramelized onions, tomato and spinach. The burger is not the only noteworthy item on the menu though. Simple, clean dishes like Sautéed Diver Scallops with Tomatillo Salsa prove that Portsmouth is a chef to watch.

This food lover’s guide would not be complete without a mention of Röckenwagner, the flagship Santa Monica restaurant of Star Chef Hans Röckenwagner featuring Cal-American classics with distinct French and German influences, like the perennial favorite Crab Soufflé. Josie Restaurant takes a slightly different tack, serving American dishes with French and Italian influences like Tomato Soup with Bocconcinis, prepared expertly by chefs Josie Le Balch and Jill Davie.

Hollywood is another haven for foodies. Beverly Boulevard has established itself as the new restaurant row, with standouts like Grace, Opaline and Angelini Osteria located within a few blocks of one another. Neal Fraser’s Grace is the quintessence of fine dining, with attentive but subdued service and superbly constructed dishes like Sautéed East Coast Skate with Roasted Cauliflower and Bacon Wrapped Saddle of Rabbit with Polenta. Chef Jason Travi of Opaline is another one to watch. Rich dishes like Roasted Carpenter Ranch Squab have a remarkable depth of flavor that contrasts with the cool starkness of the dining room’s décor. Opaline’s pastry chef Julien Wagner completes the richly satisfying experience with his Valrhona Chocolate Torte with Pistachio Ricotta Purses. A yearning for authentic Italian cuisine is best satisfied by a trip to Angelini Osteria, a rustic charmer with family recipes like “Nonna Elvira’s” Green Lasagna.

Another key neighborhood for the food lover is West Hollywood, which houses gems like Lucques, Sona and the aforementioned Table 8. Lucques is Chef Suzanne Goin’s baby, located in a converted brick carriage house. Goin serves hearty Mediterranean dishes like grilled chicken with pancetta, spinach, buttermilk pudding and currant relish. Chef/owner David Meyers’ minimalist dining room at Sona offers a blank canvass for experiencing his inventive Asian-inspired dishes, which are anchored by his training in classical French cuisine, as in the Alaskan Halibut with Hijiki-Ramp Ragout and Fava Beans. Patina, the flagship restaurant of celebrity chef Joachim Splichal, is reason enough to venture into downtown LA. Located in the ultra-modern Frank Gehry-designed Walt Disney Concert Hall, Patina offers seasonal tasting menus and an award-winning wine list.

As the editorial team zoomed across the freeway, we were struck by the realization that some of the best bites to be had were coming out of the kitchens of young chefs, as evidenced by Amuse Café’s Brooke Williamson and Nick Roberts, and Zax’s Gavin Portsmouth. Christian Shaffer of Chloe also fits into this talented and youthful group. Shaffer, 31, concocts savory smashes like Black Pepper Salmon and Applewood Smoked Bacon Chowder in the Playa del Rey eatery.

This is not to say that all of LA’s more seasoned chefs are out to lunch, creatively speaking. There are some noteworthy exceptions, like Michael Cimarusti of the Water Grill. Cimarusti is widely known for his divinely inspired seafood preparations like Sea Urchin, Trout, Egg and Lychee. Another pro who can teach the young guns a thing or two is Troy N. Thompson of Jer-Ne at The Ritz-Carlton, Marina del Rey. Thompson’s imaginative New World cuisine is best exemplified by his Warm Puy Lentil and Skewered Seppia.

Whether young or old, there are quite a few LA chefs experimenting in the kitchen and taking chances with their menus, yielding surprising and toothsome results. But just because these hot chefs are taking risks doesn’t mean that you should when you’re looking for an exceptional dining experience. If you’re headed to LA anytime soon, plan your trip wisely so that you can sample stellar fare without suffering through the aforementioned wasteland. If you pick your spots carefully, you’ll be able to take in the trendy Hollywood scene and enjoy marvelous food at the same time.

^

RESTAURANTS

Amuse Café On StarChefsAmuse Café
796 Main St
Venice, CA 90291
Phone:(310) 450-1956

Chef/Owners Brooke Williamson and Nick Roberts converted a humble house on Main St. into a charming restaurant to showcase their simple, perfectly executed food. Prices are pleasantly reasonable, and the Spartan but tastefully decorated dining room, with its hardwood floors and breezy blue curtains, gives off a clean, homey vibe. But unlike at home, breakfast is served all day!

  • Recommended Dishes:

  • Duck Leg Confit
    Baked Rigatoni
    Portobello Mushroom Soup
  • Hours:

  • Sunday – Thursday 8:00 am - 4:00 pm
    Friday & Saturday 8:00 am - 9:00 pm

Rose Café and Market
220 Rose Avenue
Venice, CA 90291
Phone: (310) 399-0711

This trendy café, set in a former warehouse, has been a favorite of locals and tourists alike since 1979. Perfect for a moderately priced breakfast.

  • Recommended Dishes:

  • Rhubarb muffins
    Pancakes
    Pumpkin-chocolate bread
  • Hours:

  • Monday-Friday 7 am-5:30 pm; Saturday 8 am-6 pm; Sunday 8 am-5 pm
    Brunch Saturdays and Sundays 8 am-3 pm

The Lobster
1602 Ocean Ave.,
Santa Monica, Ca. 90401
Phone: (310) 458-9294

Located at the foot of the Santa Monica Pier, The Lobster is an entertaining experience for children and adults. Chef Allyson Thurber serves surprisingly delicious food, in spite of its ultra touristy location. It’s a place you’ll want to keep going back to.

  • Recommended Dishes:

  • Lobster Salad & Sweet Corn Scallion Pancakes
    Crab Cake with Ginger & Black Bean Sauce
    Steamed American Lobster
  • Hours:

  • Sunday-Thursday, 11:30 am – 10:00 pm
    Friday – Saturday, 11:30-11:00 pm

One Pico
1 Pico Blvd at Shutters on the Beach Hotel
Santa Monica, CA 90405
Phone: (310) 587-1717

A fun, kid-friendly place, especially for breakfast or lunch. Chef Matt Lyman’s ricotta pancakes are delish.

  • Recommended Dishes:

  • House Smoked salmon with Warm Hush Puppies
    Free Range Chicken Cooked Two Ways
    Spiced Duck Breast with Honey Glazed Squash
  • Hours:

  • Lunch: Monday-Saturday 11:30 am-2:30 pm
    Dinner: Daily 6pm-10:30 pm
    Sunday Brunch: 11 am-2:30 pm

The Grille at the Fairmont Miramar Hotel
101 Wilshire Boulevard
Santa Monica, CA 90401
Phone: (310) 576-7777; (310) 319-3111 for reservations

Chef Don Hoots prepares fresh and seasonal California continental cuisine, which you can savor at a poolside table while listening to the soothing sounds of trickling water streaming from the adjacent pond.

  • Recommended Dishes:

  • Grilled Hawaiian Ahi Tuna
    Lamb Loin with Porcini Mushrooms
    California Greek Salad
  • Hours:

  • Breakfast: 7:00 am to 11:30 am
    Lunch: 11:30 am to 3:00 pm
    Afternoon Menu: 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm
    Dinner: 6:00 pm to 10:00 pm
    Bar: 11:30 am to 10:00 pm

Röckenwagner
2435 Main Street
Santa Monica, CA 90405
Phone: (310) 399-6504

Star Chef Hans Röckenwagner offers nightly tasting menus featuring Cal-American classics with distinct German and French influences in his recently renovated restaurant. A Santa Monica tradition for over 15 years.

  • Recommended Dishes:

  • Crab soufflé
    Pretzel burger
  • Hours:

  • Dinner: Tuesday – Saturday from 6:00 pm

Josie
2424 Pico Blvd.
Santa Monica CA 90405
Phone: (310) 581-9888

Chefs Josie Le Balch and Jill Davie serve beautifully plated California cuisine with French and Italian influences. One of Santa Monica’s more elegant restaurants, the sleek, modern ambiance and sophisticated though not overly complicated food is for grownups only.

  • Recommended dishes:

  • Melanzana with Heirloom Tomato
    Grilled Lamb Chops with Curried Couscous and Romesco Sauce
    Tomato Soup with Bocconcinis
  • Hours:

  • Dinner: Monday - Thursday: 6:00 pm - 10:00 pm; Friday & Saturday: 6:00 pm - 11:00pm; Sunday 5:30 pm - 9:00 pm

Valentino
3115 Pico Blvd.
Santa Monica, CA 90405-2005
Phone: (310) 829-4313

Piero Selvaggio’s flagship restaurant has one of the best wine cellars in the area. With over 2,500 selections on the wine list, you may need more than one bottle to go with Chef Stephan Samson’s classic Italian dishes.

  • Recommended Dishes:

  • Terrine with Burrata Cheese, Heirloom Tomato, Eggplant, & Bell Pepper
    Swiss Chard with Ricotta Tortelli
    Garganelli with Quail
  • Hours:

  • Lunch: Friday, 11:30 – 2:30 pm
    Dinner: Monday – Saturday, 5:00 -10:00 pm

Zax
11604 San Vicente Boulevard
Brentwood, CA 90049
Phone: (310) 571.3800

On your way from Santa Monica to Beverly Hills, you’d better stop off at Zax. Packed with celebrities, this casual spot serves an incredible burger served on a pretzel bun with cheese, bacon, caramelized onions, tomato and spinach. If you’re in the mood, Chef Gavin Portsmouth offers more upscale California cuisine as well.

  • Recommended Dishes:

  • Ground Ribeye Burger
    Sautéed Diver Scallops with Tomatillo Salsa
    Steamed Lake Superior Whitefish with Cauliflower Puree
  • Hours:

  • Lunch: Tuesday - Friday 11:30 am - 2:00 pm
    Dinner: Monday - Thursday 5:30 - 10:00 pm; Friday & Saturday 5:30 - 10:30 pm; Sunday 5:00 - 9:00 pm

Jer-ne
4375 Admiralty Way
The Ritz-Carlton Marina del Rey
Marina del Rey, CA 90292
Phone: (310) 823-1700

Jer-Ne is a fine example of The Ritz-Carlton demonstrating its commitment to superior dining which matches the level of service and luxury of their hotels. Chef Troy Thompson works with pristine raw ingredients, and his minimalist approach allows them to shine. Jer-Ne is also one of the few LA restaurants where you can actually dine outdoors by the water.

  • Recommended Dishes:

  • Warm Puy Lentil and Skewered Seppia
    Baby Cuttlefish with Lemon and Herbs
    Kobe Beef Carpaccio with Pickled Onions
    White Asparagus Soup
  • Hours:

  • Open daily from 6:00 am to 10:00 pm for breakfast, lunch, and dinner
    Sunday Brunch: 11:30 am - 3:00 pm


Chloe
333 Culver Blvd.
Playa del Rey, CA, 90293
Phone: (310) 305-4505

Christian Shaffer is a chef to watch. Chloe’s charming ambiance, including a delightful garden in back with views of the marshland in the distance, provides the perfect backdrop for their blend of progressive American cuisine with European influences.

  • Recommended Dishes:

  • Baby Frisée, Pinenuts, Lardons, Fried Egg & Sherry Vinegar
    Black Pepper Salmon & Applewood Smoked Bacon Chowder
    Rack of Lamb, Swiss Chard, Socca Crepe & Roasted Garlic
  • Hours:

  • Dinner: Monday - Saturday 6:00-10:00 pm

Angelini Osteria
7313 Beverly Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90036
Phone: (323) 297-0070

You’ll feel like you’ve been transported to Italy when you sit inside the rustic, brick-walled dining room of Angelini Osteria. Warm service, casual atmosphere, and beautifully prepared food. What more could you want?

  • Recommended Dishes:

  • “Nonna Elvira’s” Green Lasagna
    Skate with Asparagus and Balsamic Vinegar
    Fegatini Chicken Liver
  • Hours:

  • Lunch: Tuesday - Friday 12 pm-2:30 pm
    Dinner: Tuesday - Sunday 5:30 pm-10:30 pm

Opaline On StarChefs
Opaline

7450 Beverly Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90036
Phone: (323) 857-6725

Jason Travi is another chef to watch. He serves lush and innovative food that is unusual without being obscure. The dining room is sparsely decorated, all the better for enjoying Travi’s refined fare.

  • Recommended Dishes:

  • Roasted Carpenter Ranch Squab
    Pan-seared Atlantic black bass
    Apple Braised Colorado Lamb Shank
  • Hours:

  • Lunch: Friday 12pm-3pm
    Dinner: Daily 5:30-11:30 pm

Grace Restaurant On StarChefs
Grace Restaurant
7360 Beverly Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90036
Phone: (323) 934-4400

This sophisticated restaurant is the epitome of fine dining. Executive chef and partner Neal Fraser serves his New American cuisine in a stylish, elegant atmosphere with seamless service. Though named after his teenage daughter, Grace is not for kids.

  • Recommended Dishes:

  • Sautéed East Coast Skate with Roasted Cauliflower
    Bacon Wrapped Saddle of Rabbit with Polenta
    Sauteed Foie Gras with Gala apples and Mission Figs
  • Hours:

  • Dinner: Tuesday –Thursday & Sunday, 6-10 pm; Friday - Saturday 6-11 pm

Table 8 On StarChefs
Table 8

7661 Melrose Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90046
Phone: (323) 782-8258

Located slightly off the beaten path, you’re likely to do a double take when you walk through the door and discover this super-hip, super-swanky establishment. Chef Govind Armstrong is making a name for himself as a driven chef who insists on fresh, seasonal ingredients prepared without excessive sauces or complicated fusion. You’d be wise to make a reservation, as it’s virtually impossible to get a table without one.

  • Recommended Dishes:

  • Poached Tomato with Tuna Confit and Salsa Verde
    Liberty Farms Duck Breast, Roasted Apple, Braised Endive & Hazelnuts
    Seared Sea Scallops with Succotash and Crisp Pancetta
  • Hours:

  • Dinner: Sunday-Thursday 6-10 pm; Friday-Saturday 6-11 pm
    Lounge: Sunday-Thursday 5:30-11 pm; Friday-Saturday 5:30 pm-1 am

Lucques
8474 Melrose Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90069
Phone: (323) 655-6277

“Mi casa es su casa” seems to be the underlying philosophy of Lucques. Chef Suzanne Goin serves distinctive Mediterranean comfort food, often with a strong Spanish bent. Her dishes are simple and low-key but incontrovertibly delicious.

  • Recommended Dishes:

  • Arugula and Mint Salad with Roasted Grapes and Pancetta Toast
    Grilled Chicken with Pancetta, Ricotta Pudding and Sicilian Breadcrumbs
  • Hours:

  • Lunch: Tuesday - Saturday 12:00-2:30 pm.
    Dinner: Monday – Thursday 6:00-11:00pm; Friday and Saturday 6:00pm-midnight; Sunday 5:30-10:00pm

L’Orangerie
903 N. La Cienega Blvd.
West Hollywood, CA 90069
Phone: (310) 652-9770

L’Oranangerie is the place to go for exceptional classic French cuisine. The elegant dining room features a retractable dome roof, which, when opened, together with exquisite foliage, allows patrons to feel like they are dining al fresco amid the gardens of Versailles. It’s a romantic destination restaurant guaranteed to impress your date.

  • Recommended Dishes:

  • Les Oeufs de Poule au Caviar Petrossian
    Colorado Rack of Lamb
    Roasted Squab Breast and Braised Leg in Red Wine
  • Hours:

  • Dinner: Tuesday – Sunday 6-11 pm

Le Dome On StarChefs
Le Dome

8720 Sunset Boulevard
West Hollywood, CA 90069
Phone: (310) 659-6919

A Hollywood power scene for agents and stars since the ‘70s, Le Dome experienced a much-needed face-lift to bring it into the 21st Century. Co-owner Eddie Kerkhofs continues to stand guard over his loyal clientele.

  • Recommended Dishes:

  • Grilled Giant Tigers
    Foie Gras Torchon à la “Marc Meneau”
  • Hours:

  • Monday – Friday Noon - 11:30pm; Saturday 6:00 - 11:30pm

Sona On StarChefs
Sona

401 N La Cienega Blvd
West Hollywood, CA 90048
Phone: (310) 659-7708

Chef David Meyers’ modern and culturally diverse cuisine embodies the Japanese concept of “kappo” - capturing an ingredient at the exact moment when it is at its freshest, purest state. His wife Michelle, a talented pastry chef in her own right, has plans to open up a patisserie and tea room across the street.

  • Recommended Dishes:

  • Black Cod Glazed with Plums, Peppercorns & Honey
    Alaskan Halibut, Hijiki-Ramp Ragout, Fava Beans
    Spice Crusted Big Eye Toro with English Peas, Thai Basil
  • Hours:

  • Dinner: Tuesday-Thursday 6-10pm; Friday-Saturday 5:30-11pm

Patina
141 S. Grand Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Phone: (213) 972 3331

After many years at its location on Melrose Avenue, Patina has moved to the Frank Gehry-designed Walt Disney Concert Hall. Star Chef Joachim Splichal’s sleek and modern restaurant is a luxurious setting for a special occasion meal.

  • Recommended Dishes:

  • Corn Blini with Marinated Salmon and Crème Fraiche
    Pear Sorbet, with Vodka, Cranberry Sorbet, and Orange Granita
  • Hours:

  • Lunch:
    Monday - Friday 11:30 am–1:30 pm
    Dinner:
    Nightly 5:00–10:45 pm (Sunday 4:00–10:45 pm during Walt Disney Concert Hall session)

Noe Restaurant & Bar  On StarChefs
Noe Restaurant & Bar (at the Omni Los Angeles Hotel)

251 S Olive St
Los Angeles, CA 91501
Phone: (213) 356-4100

Chef Robert Gadsby serves attractive and tasty progressive American cuisine with an Asian bent. The dining room is cool and subdued in a scheme of cobalt blue and tan, with dimly lit art deco light fixtures.

  • Recommended Dishes:

  • Gingered Butternut Squash Cappuccino
    Rosemary-Scented Jidori Chicken
    Honey Crème Caramel
  • Hours:

  • Dinner:
    Sunday - Thursday 5:00 - 10:00 pm; Friday and Saturday 5:00 - 12:00 am

Water Grill
544 South Grand
Los Angeles, CA, 90071
Phone: (213) 891-0900

Chef Michael Cimarusti delivers cutting edge seafood with distinct influences from the masters of Spanish Nueva Cocina. Cimarusti is an outspoken proponent of sustainable seafood methods and is committed to purchasing seafood from responsible fishers. The pristine quality of the seafood he sources shines through in his expert cooking techniques.

  • Recommended Dishes:

  • Sea Urchin, Trout, Egg and Lychee
    House-made Chilled Foie Gras Torchon with Asian Pear Compote
    Lobster in Green Apple Jus
  • Hours:

  • Monday -Tuesday 11:30 am-9 pm; Wednesday-Friday 11:30 am-10 pm
    Saturday 5-9:30 pm; Sunday 4:30-8:30 pm

Max Restaurant
13355 Ventura Blvd.
Sherman Oaks, CA 91423
Phone: (818) 784-2915

It’s a long drive to the Valley, but Chef Andre Guerrero just might be worth it. Max is a fun, energetic, happening place that features inventive Cal-Asian cuisine. The dessert menu is pure indulgence, featuring an absolutely fabulous chocolate brownie and brioche bread pudding with hazelnut streusel, Frangelico sauce and whipped cream.

  • Recommended Dishes:

  • Thai Lemongrass-Coconut Soup
    Pan Roasted Butterfish with Ginger and Scallions
    Ahi Towers
  • Hours:
  • Lunch: Monday - Friday 11:30 am - 2:30 pm
    Dinner: Sunday - Thursday 5:30 - 10:00pm; Friday - Saturday 5:30 -11:00pm

HOTELS


Ritz Carlton, Marina de Rey

4375 Admiralty Way
Marina del Rey, CA 90292
Phone: (310) 823-1700

This luxury hotel combines the convenience of a city hotel with the recreational features of a resort. You’ll experience top-notch service throughout the property, including poolside, where you can lounge around or take a dip in the ample swimming pool. For the more athletically inclined, there are tennis courts and a gym with sauna and steam room. While you’re there, make a reservation for dinner at Jer-Ne, where you’ll be treated to Chef Troy N. Thompson’s exquisite Asian-inspired cuisine.

  • Rooms: 304
  • Rates: $299 to $3,500
  • Credit Cards: MasterCard, Visa, American Express, Carte Blanche, Diners, Discover, JCB
  • What to do: Rent bicycles and ride the path from Venice to Santa Monica.


The Georgian Hotel

1415 Ocean Avenue
Santa Monica, CA 90401
Phone: (310) 395-9945

The Georgian, with its distinct architectural Art Deco style, is a fantastic bargain for travelers looking to stay in a quality hotel right on the beach in Santa Monica. Rooms are spacious and feature breathtaking views of the ocean. The hotel is nearing the completion of a major renovation.

  • Rooms: 84
  • Rates: $147-$300
  • Credit Cards:Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Discover, Diner’s Club
  • What to do: Check out the amusement park at the Santa Monica Pier.

Shutters
One Pico Boulevard
Santa Monica, CA 90405
Phone: (800) 334-9000; (310) 458-0030

Located right on the beach, Shutters is a fun, kid-friendly hotel that bustles with energy. Rooms are cozy with white wood finishes resembling a Cape Cod cottage. Shutter doors open out onto the terrace affording breathtaking views of the ocean. The hotel offers two restaurants, Pedals Café – a casual spot overlooking the bike path - and One Pico – the hotel’s signature restaurant featuring contemporary American cuisine.

  • Rooms: 198
  • Credit Cards: American Express, Visa, MasterCard, Discover, Carte Blanche, and Diner’s Club
  • Rates: $325-$2500
  • What to Do: Have lemon ricotta pancakes for breakfast at Pedals Café and then spend the day at the beach.

Le Merigot
1740 Ocean Avenue,
Santa Monica, CA 90401
Phone: (310) 395-9700

Le Merigot offers the beachy, fun atmosphere of Shutters in a quieter location right around the corner. Both hotels feature luxurious and whimsical amenities like Frette linens and rubber duckies in the bathroom. Other amenities include a spa with steam room and sauna and an exercise facility with plenty of elliptical trainers, overlooking the outdoor pool.

  • Rooms: 175
  • Rates: $309-479
  • Pet friendly hotel
  • Credit Cards: Visa, MasterCard American Express, Discover
  • What to do: Take your Hemingway novel (located in your room) and plop down on an oversized outdoor couch for a leisurely afternoon read/nap.


Raffles L’Ermitage Beverly Hills
9291 Burton Way
Beverly Hills, CA 90210
Phone: (310) 278-3344

Expect superior but understated service at this hyper-cool, state of the art hotel. Rooms and suites are spacious and feature home-theatre-style flat panel TVs and stereos. The swanky rooftop pool offers a panoramic view of LA, Bel Air and the Hollywood Hills. Exclusive poolside cabanas are available. Pets are welcome (dogs up to 40 pounds).

  • Rooms: 124
  • Rates: $295-$448
  • Suites $780-$3800
  • Credit Cards: Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Diner’s Club, Carte Blanche
  • What to do: Invite ten of your closest friends to join you for drinks and soak up the hip bar scene.

NIGHTLIFE AND SMALL PLATES

Boe
403 N. Crescent Drive
Beverly Hills, CA 90210
Phone: (310) 247-0505

The lounge of Boe in the Crescent Hotel serves as a fashionable venue for sipping creative martinis. Kick back and relax on comfortable, sleek white couches while enjoying the trend-setting company.

  • Recommended Drinks:

  • Chocolate Pudding
    Sex Kitten
  • Bar Hours:

  • 5pm-11pm


Cinch

1519 Wilshire Blvd
Santa Monica, CA 90403
Phone: (310) 395-4139

Cinch rates high on the hip and trendy scale. This restaurant and bar has multiple levels, including an outdoor terrace for smokers.

  • Bar Hours: Daily 5 pm-1:30 am

Dolce, Enoteca e Ristorante
8284 Melrose Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90046-6821
Phone: (323) 852-7174

Located at the intersection of Melrose and Sweetzer, aptly named Dolce is the place to see and be seen. The restaurant lures fashionistas and Hollywood celebrities past its tree-lined walls and into a sleek interior with windows lined with flickering candles. Mixologist Brian Kimmet expertly works the bar, pouring inventive elixirs that make an ideal beginning and ending to any meal.

  • Recommended Drinks:

  • Fellini
    Sin
    Smoke on the Water
    Black Rose
    After Eight
    Georgia Peach
  • Hours:

  • Daily 6 pm-2 am

Enoteca Drago Ristorante
410 N. Canon Dr.
Beverly Hills, CA
Phone: (310) 786-8236

Renowned LA chef/owner Celestino Drago presents his version of a neighborhood wine bar and pizzeria, paying homage to regional Italian cuisine. The pizzas and small plates are ideal for a late-night bite.

  • Recommended Dishes:

  • Stuffed Olives
    Scallops with Morel Mushrooms and Baby Artichokes
    Pork cheeks and Italian Sausage with Braised Sauerkraut
  • Hours:

  • Monday-Friday 7am-11pm; Saturday 8am-11pm; Sunday 8am-10pm

   Published: June 2004

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