8 Legendary L.A. Restaurants to Try Before You Die
Old Hollywood’s on the menu
In Los Angeles, we don’t only have iconic stars; we also have iconic restaurants that smack of Old Hollywood history and serve up mouthwatering cuisine. Here, eight legendary L.A. restaurants to get to before you die--or at least before your next juice cleanse.
Since the 1950s, this Brentwood (now Beverly Hills) institution has attracted celebs and power brokers--from John F. Kennedy and Elizabeth Taylor to Leonardo DiCaprio and Kim Kardashian. According to Old Hollywood lore, the chopped salad was invented on the spot for an agent so he wouldn’t have to put down the phone to chop up his meal. You’re welcome, world.
434 N. Canon Dr., Beverly Hills; 310-275-0579 or lascalabeverlyhills.com
Opened in 1973, this L.A. institution put Chinese food on the SoCal map. Michael Chow’s gorgeously designed Art Deco-themed interior complements its equally attractive clientele--from Fred Astaire and Groucho Marx back in the day to Eva Longoria and Amber Heard today. Get the classic Drunken Fish, a piece of sole cooked in wine. And have a glass yourself.
344 N. Camden Dr., Beverly Hills; 310-278-9911 or mrchow.com
Before there was ever the global domination of the Nobu chain of sushi joints, a chef named Nobu Matsuhisa opened this fine dining spot on La Cienega in 1987. Robert De Niro took a liking to the fusion Japanese-South American fare, suggested they open a restaurant together in Manhattan’s Tribeca neighborhood, and the first Nobu was born. But this is where it all began, and where Chef Nobu began serving his signature dish, black cod with miso, in which the fish is marinated for days in umami goodness.
129 N. La Cienega Blvd., Beverly Hills; 310-659-9639 or nobumatsuhisa.com
The Polo Lounge
This intimate bar, dining room and patio in the Beverly Hills Hotel is as old-time Hollywood as a 1940s movie. (Pre-cell phones, movie stars would have the hotel’s signature pink phones brought over and plugged tableside to take a call.) Order the tortilla soup, a starter packed with grilled chicken, queso fresco, green onion, avocado and crispy tortilla strips.
The Beverly Hills Hotel, 9641 Sunset Blvd., Beverly Hills; 310-276-2251 or dorchestercollection.com
Before the branded coffee, pizza, wine, cutlery and more, Wolfgang Puck was an Austrian expat who parlayed skills learned in France into a celeb magnet restaurant by opening Spago in 1982 on the Sunset Strip. (Now it’s in Beverly Hills.) He basically invented California cuisine--that mash-up of seasonal veggies and proteins assembled into a fancy presentation. Order the salmon pizza dotted with caviar. It’s divine.
176 N. Canon Dr., Beverly Hills; 310-385-0880 or wolfgangpuck.com
The Tower Bar
While open only ten years, this wood-paneled dining room in the Sunset Tower Hotel has the feel and star power of a classic Hollywood spot. Maybe that’s because it used to be mobster Bugsy Siegel’s apartment. But today its European elegance attracts a major fashion crowd (Tom Ford, Carine Roitfeld) and entertainment bigwigs (Jennifer Aniston, Bryan Lourd). The place’s spirit encourages you to cut loose--so have a calorie splurge with one of the sundaes, which you customize with your choice of 20 ice creams and toppings.
The Sunset Tower Hotel, 8358 Sunset Blvd., W. Hollywood; 323-654-7100 or sunsettowerhotel.com
Musso & Frank
Slide into a leather booth at this dark little Italian restaurant and you’ll transport back to 1919. Peruse the menu and order the creamy fettucine alfredo (the recipe was brought from Rome by Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford). But first, you must have a dry martini and think back to the days when Fitzgerald, Faulkner and Chandler wrote here, similarly refreshed.
6667 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood; 323-467-7788 or mussoandfrank.com
This yellow bungalow on Santa Monica Boulevard looks a bit like the cluttered home of a shut-in, until your eyes adjust to the darkened interior and you make out Carrie Fisher dining with novelist Bruce Wagner. It’s been star-studded since it opened in 1964. (Drew Barrymore’s parents changed her diaper on the bar. TMI but still.) Order off-menu like Cameron Diaz and have the chicken piccata.
9071 Santa Monica Blvd., W. Hollywood; 310-275-9444 or dantanasrestaurant.com