Thursday, September 25, 2014

Where to eat: Westside ‘City’

“Where to eat” is an ongoing list series that will be updated frequently

Pricing key:
$: Price per person, before alcohol, under $20
$$: Price per person, before alcohol, under $40
$$$: Price per person, before alcohol, under $60



Cuisine: American
  • BJs ($) While the rest of the expansive menu isn't anything to write home about, I will say that BJs famous "Pizookie" (a cookie "pizza") is fcuking DYNAMITE.  Served warm -and with ice cream - there's not a more delicious "comfort food" destination-worthy dessert. 
  • Cuvee ($) Of the "quick service" establishments located in my office triplex, this is the classiest.  Solid food and one helluva reasonable happy hour (wine and beer only).  Did I mention that Cuvee also sells wine?
  • Flores & Sons ($$-$$$) Modern American with a Southern (think Louisiana) bend.  We enjoyed dining al-fresco, and particularly enjoyed the Antebellum White Grits and the Chocolate Mousse Pie.  Note: No liquor license as of yet (just beer and wine - hopefully that will change at some point)
  • Fundamental ($-$$)
  • Gulfstream ($$) Seafood-centric
  • Hinoki & The Bird ($$-$$$) Asian-influenced American cuisine served in an incredibly lovely, tranquil environment.  The famous "chili crab toast" underwhelmed, as did the housemade juices.  The chocolate dessert (I'm thinking that it was the "Devil's Food Cake"), on the other hand, was fabulous. 
  • Nate 'n Al Deli ($) As close to a NYC-style deli as you'll get in Beverly Hills.  Spot-on matzo ball soup and one of the most delicious grilled cheese sandwiches in town.
  • Ocean Prime ($$$) Come for the aesthetics, stay for the bread basket.  Beyond that, the food is rather disappointing.
  • Piknic ($) Reliable breakfast/lunch spot with a wide array of cold/hot/grill options.
  • Seasons 52 ($$) With every menu item - cocktails included - under 500 calories, it's hard to feel guilty!
  • South Beverly Grill ($$) Although it’s technically a chain (Hillstone/Houston’s), SBG is nothing short of reliable, comfortable and, in the parent company’s true fashion, strangely romantic.  With a solid selection of wines, cocktails, and food options for every diner/palette, SBG is always a sure bet.
  • Spago ($$$)
  • The Farm of Beverly Hills ($-$$)
  • The Grill on the Alley ($$$)
  • The Polo Lounge ($$$)
  • The Roof Garden at The Peninsula Hotel ($$$) 
  • The Stand ($) One of my favorite joints to grab a healthy-ish weekday work lunch.  While they're famous for their beef burgers, I really enjoyed my handmade veggie burger enveloped by a "lettuce bun."  Fabulous breakfast egg dishes that are served all day!
  • Wally's ($$) Wine-centric / gourmet food and wine shop, to boot!
  • Wolfgang Puck at Hotel Bel Air ($$$) Escape the stresses of the city, if even for a few hours.  Dining here will truly transport you to another place.  And time.  Revel in delicious food, scenery, and service. 
Cuisine: Asian
Cuisine: Bakeries, coffee, sweet shops
  • Aharon Coffee & Roasting Co. ($) 
  • Belwood Bakery ($) 
  • Bouchon Bakery ($) Do not miss the kouign-amann pastries or the seasonal macarons!
  • Caffe Paraggi ($) Quite possibly, the best coffee in Century City made to order by a charming Italian expat.  Looking forward to trying the food!
  • Champagne French Bakery Cafe ($) Do NOT miss the "Le Metro" breakfast sandwich - it's to die for!
  • Corner Bakery Cafe ($)
  • Creamistry ($) 
  • Froyo Life ($) Great array of “serve yourself” flavors and a topping bar with something for everyone.  Last time I was there, I saw Rachel Zoe!
  • Ice Cream Lab ($) "Ice cream of the future" made before your eyes with liquid nitrogen, which instatly freezes every high quality, individual serving.
  • Le Pain Quotidien ($)
  • Milo + Olive ($-$$) Bakery-driven restaurant with a top-notch brunch; much more "San Francisco" or "NYC" than LA.  And I say that in the most positive way possible.
  • Noah's New York Bagels ($) What Houston's is to Hillstone, Noah's is to Einstein Bros.
  • Peet’s Coffee & Tea ($)
  • Primo's Donuts ($) Without a doubt, the best donuts in town. Period.
  • Sprinkles ($)
  • Starbucks ($)
  • The Original Brooklyn Water Bagel Co. ($) Carbs schmarbs.  The more the merrier, in my opinion.  After all, I knew it was only a matter of days before I would sink my teeth in to a bagel from this joint.  Look, I’d be a liar if I said I wasn’t skeptical; I mean, could they really get the whole ‘Brooklyn water thing’ right?  Actually, TOBWBC makes a near-perfect, New York-style bagel with just enough chew, crunch, and spot-on crust-to-bread-fluff ratio.  Plus, the fact that they carry frozen coffee cubes for your iced beverage (instead of boring old ice) says it all.  Oh, and Larry King is a daily fixture at the S. Beverly Drive location.  You know, if you’re a star-struck fame whore like myself.
  • Vanilla Bake Shop ($) Seriously delicious cupcakes that are made from ingredients of the highest quality.  Even the chocolate icing tastes more robust and intense. 
Cuisine: Chinese
Cuisine: French
Cuisine: Grab ‘N Go
  • Earthbar ($) Healthy, quick, and clean.  Great for post-workout replenishment.
  • Kreation Organic ($)
  • Mrs. Winston’s Green Grocery ($) If you’re a salad bar connoisseur like I am, this is the end-all-be-all.  The spread here is so notable, that I consider it to be destination-worthy.  Beyond every type of organic green imaginable, think mix-ins that range from  flavored hummus, roasted beets, and crunchy jicama spears to a variety of seasonings and “toppers” that aren’t just limited to croutons.  You’re welcome in advance.
  • Oliver ($-$$) With the option of grab 'n go or dine-in, Oliver is ideal for pre OR post-workout replenishment.   
  • Pure by Michele La Porta ($$)
Cuisine: Grocery stores
Cuisine: Japanese/sushi
  • K-Zo ($$) Atmosphere + the option to dine al-fresco puts this restaurant in a league of its own.  Impressive array of menu items and decent sushi (...though it ain't no Sugarfish!).    
  • Maru ($$)
  • Matsuhisa ($$$) Nobu Matsuhisa's original restaurant!  It all started right here, folks!
  • Seiki-Shi Sushi ($) For “mall food-court sushi,” this dine-in/carry-out joint hits the spot.  Enjoy a refreshing green iced tea, sliced cucumber salad, and a spicy tuna roll for under $15.
  • Sugarfish ($$-$$$) This meal changed the course of my life in food.  I had never truly had sushi until this experience!  Are you aware that sushi rice is to be served slightly warm, creating a "melt in your mouth" experience?  Neither did I.  Get. Here. Now.
  • Sushi Kiyono ($-$$) If you're looking for atmosphere, this isn't the place; but if you want the freshest fish, a selection of beer/sake/wine, and great service, look no further than this Beverly Hills gem.
  • Sushi Sushi ($$-$$$) Decent for a neighborhood joint, but certainly not a destination-worthy sushi restaurant. 
  • Yu-N-Mi ($$-$$$) If you're looking for a fancy atmosphere and colorful cocktails, go elsewhere; however, if it's the freshest fish you fancy, look no further than Yu-N-Mi.
Cuisine: Indian
Cuisine: Italian 
  • Il Cielo ($$-$$$)
  • La Dolce Vita ($$-$$$)
  • Obica Mozzarella Bar ($-$$) It's hard to believe that *this* authentic of Italian food can be found within a mall but, luckily for us - and our wallets, it's true.  Do not miss the lunch specials! 
  • Piccolo Paradiso ($$) A neighborhood charmer serving Italian favorites from a local Sicilian-owned restaurant group.  Nice wine list featuring bottles from Napa to Italy.
  • Porta Via ($$)
  • Scarpetta ($$-$$$) Although I've only drank and dined at the lounge, rest assured that most of the restaurant's famous menu can be ordered here, namely the life-altering spaghetti.  Don't miss happy hour, where beers are $5 and cocktails are $9!
  • Sotto ($$) A chic, rustic charmer with a healthy array of options for every palate.  Don't miss the house made bread or one of the delicious pizzas from the wood-burning oven.  Full bar, to boot.
    Cuisine: Mediterranean/Middle Eastern
    • Big Fat Pita ($)
    • Momed ($-$$) Seriously legit “Modern Mediterranean” cuisine served in a laid-back atmosphere with indoor/outdoor seating and a full bar.  I was particularly taken by the addictive ‘Avocado Hummus’ and the Khachapouri flatbread (<– Don’t try to pronounce it, just order it.  Trust me.).
    • Naab Cafe ($-$$)
    • Shamshiri Grill ($$)
    Cuisine: Mexican
    • Casa Sanchez ($-$$) 
    • Delphi Greek ($-$$)
    • Don Antonio ($-$$) Being that this was/is Speidi's favorite restaurant, I had to check it out for myself.  Via delivery.  Here's the verdict: I really enjoyed the handmade chips and salsa and, while I found the red enchilada sauce to be too mild and, perhaps, canned, the enchiladas, themselves, were tasty, as was the rice and beans.  I was underwhelmed by the horchata, but I suppose that's the price I paid for having an iced drink delivered. 
    • Don Chuy's ($) Delicious chips and salsa, homemade corn tortillas, fabulous rice and beans, and some of the most tasty shredded beef fried tacos this side of San Diego.
    • Frida ($$-$$$)
    • Lares ($-$$)
    • Paco's Tacos ($)
    • Pink Taco ($-$$) Spacious indoor/outdoor bar area and dining room; fabulous happy hour boasting an attractive array of eats and drinks for under $10; and, best of all, they serve homemade chips and chile-con-queso!
    • Sharky's Woodfired Mexican Grill ($)
    • Tito's Tacos ($)
    Cuisine: Pan Asian
    • Sen Asian Kitchen ($) A bouquet of pan-Asian dishes, including sushi, are offered at this Century City fast casual restaurant.  Conveniently located near my office, I enjoy a a fresh sushi roll and delicious side of sautéed spinach with garlic at least once/week.
    Cuisine: Pizza
    • 800 Degrees ($-$$)
    • Fresh Brothers ($) Ordering delivery/take-out?  The personal 7-inch pie makes for the perfect entree, especially when you can choose the thickness of your crust.  Pair it with a side salad and you've got yourself a square meal! 
    • Mulberry Street Pizza ($) Legit and incredibly authentic NYC-style pies. 
    • Slicetruck Pizza ($) Quite possibly, LA's best.
    Cuisine: Salads
    • Geenleaf Gourmet Chopshop ($) A bit too pricey for my taste, but you cannot beat the organic, high quality ingredients.  While there is the option to "make your own salad," it's not a visual production; you tell the expediter what you want, and it is prepared for you behind the scenes in the kitchen.  A bit different from what I'm typically used to.
    Cuisine: Seafood
    Cuisine: Steakhouse
    • Baltaire ($$$)
    • CUT ($$$) Best steak that I've had in LA, to date.  Hell, this was better steak than I ever had in NY!  CUT delivered; everything about our experience was perfect.  One of LA's best restaurants, without question.
    • Mastro’s Steakhouse ($$$) Stereotypical Beverly Hills steakhouse…only this one delivers.  Stay away from the $20 cocktails and opt for an affordable bottle of wine (think along the lines of the $33 Sterling Cabernet).  Whether you choose surf or turf, don’t miss the Gorgonzola Mac & Cheese.  And the celeb/cougar spotting!
    • Ruth's Chris ($$-$$$)
    Cuisine: Tapas
    • The Bazaar at Jose Andres ($$$) Both traditional and not-so-traditional tapas/small plates with a side of molecular gastronomy.  Sexy and playful modern atmosphere, outstanding people watching, plus dynamite food and drink make this venue one of the city's best.
    Cuisine: Vietnamese


    Lindsay, Beverly Hills Bites