Splurge on these Beverly Hills restaurants
Before opening Maude, Australian chef Curtis Stone was as well known for his television cameos as he was for his cooking. Add a hard-to-get-into restaurant that serves a multi-course and picture-perfect meal, and you might think this spot is all talk—yet Maude isn't flashy, and it more than lives up to the hype. Its menu, which changes quarterly to focus on a wine region and its cuisines, is well thought-out, and Stone’s food is undeniably fantastic. You might take a bite and be transported to Piedmont, or Burgundy, or even as near as California's Central Coast, all thanks to delicate, creative bites that draw upon each region's bounty and history. Wine pairings can get costly, but sommelier Andrey Tolmachyov's ever-rotating menu is the perfect foil to Stone's cuisine, and is always worth the splurge.
There’s no shortage of good sushi bars in Los Angeles, but if you happen to be in Beverly Hills, you’re in luck; Urasawa plates some of the most artful, whimsical and memorable sushi in all of L.A., and flies its fish in fresh daily. Meals can last as long as four hours and run as many as 30 courses—so know that you come here for the experience, and what an experience it is. The pricing is exorbitant (starting around $400 per person, without tax and tip) but is reflected in the courses: gold-topped caviar, goma dofu swimming in house-made tamari, sesame ice cream buried under shaved truffle. Note that Hiroyuki Urasawa’s famous sushi den is reservation-only, and don’t even think about pulling out that camera phone—Urasawa enforses a strict no-photo policy.
Inside the sexy SLS Hotel, the Bazaar by José Andrés is a carnival of food and drink offerings that are as whimsical and sleek as the Philippe Starck–designed space. Grab a drink—expect martinis with olive foam and "salt air" margaritas—at the swanky Bar Centro or on the terrace, where guests can sip on single-malt Scotch and enjoy a stogie from the cigar selection. Of course, the real star is the Spanish chef's modern cooking: Indulge in an intimate chef's tasting menu inside the hidden dining room, Somni, or share small-plate tapas such as the signature "Philly cheesesteak"—made with seared wagyu beef atop "air bread—or uni and avocado buns, or the foamy, reimagined Spanish tortilla. If you're in need of some retail therapy, stop into the Bazaar's Patisserie for grown-up confectionary, or the Regalo for jewelry, cookbooks or the chef's own line of imported pantry goods.
Executive chef Lee Hefter leads Spago's kitchen, where influences include California, Asia, Italy and France. Clean lines and blocks of black and white define Spago's modernized dining room, whose makeunder includes ditching garish dressings in favor of minimalist dishware and contemporary, if a bit incongruous, wall art. The famed California tasting menu for the table will set you back—at a cost of $145 per person, or $270 with wine pairings—but if you opt to order à la carte, you'll find dishes like pan-seared cod with a ragout of shelling beans, or handmade agnolotti with sweet corn and mascarpone. Dine on the charming, semi-covered outdoor patio, with its modern, oversized fireplaces and strategically positioned olive trees.
This isn't your average omakase meal. At Tempura Endo, each dish is a celebration of Kyoto-style tempura, featuring vegetables and protein fried in a rotating selection of cotton seed oil, sesame seed oil and safflower oil, with batter made from hard water, white wine and Japanese tempura flour. The menu changes frequently, but you might find sea urchin wrapped with laver and prawn or sesame tofu fried to a crisp. While à la carte dishes are available, most diners come for one of the set menus, which range from $150 to $280 per person. The latter includes a special matcha tea ceremony—the perfect way to end your meal in serenity.
By now, Sotto is regarded as a stalwart of L.A.'s Italian dining scene—and with good reason. A wood-burning oven is the heart and soul of this basement eatery, where pizzas and pastas are supplemented with fennel-crusted pork chops and prime rib eye. The oven is a Neapolitan hearth, built by real Neapolitans for the making of true Neapolitan-style pizzas. And the pizzas are very, very good—pillowy white dough spotted with black blisters and a sparse smear of tomato sauce, a few oozy globs of fresh mozzarella and a leaf or two of basil. If you stick around for dessert, opt for the cannoli Siciliani, made with ricotta, orange marmalade, pistachios and chocolate.
Wolfgang Puck’s class-act steakhouse bookends the Wilshire stretch of Rodeo Drive; it’s probably better to dine here after all of your shopping, so you can food coma comfortably. The chic and airy setting lends a modern vibe, as does the menu: The sashimi is line-caught, the produce is often organic, there’s bone-marrow flan, and diners not only choose the type of steak they’d like to order, but also where it came from, with Nebraksa beef, Japanese pure wagyu and corn-fed Illinois cuts, among others. Even the usual steakhouse-sauce options get an upgrade, with additions such as yuzu-kosho butter and Argentinean chimichurri. This isn’t your grandpa’s steakhouse.
Leave it to the Four Seasons to house one of the best hotel restaurants in the city—but if you think Culina is just a hotel restaurant, well, think again. The menu is focused on modern Italian dishes, but there's also a mix of hearty, traditional, rustic staples such as pappardelle in a wild-boar sugo, and whole roasted branzino with olives. It's moody and low-lit and artful—essentially, it's an ideal date-night pick, and that fire-lit patio is where we want to hang out all winter long.
A Beverly Hills mainstay since 1974, Mr Chow has been the go-to for Beijing and other Chinese-province cuisine for generations. A-listers, locals and tourists all know that owner Michael Chow brings an extra air of service and elegance, which made the Mr Chow brand legendary around the world—just ask longtime fans Mick Jagger, Yoko Ono and Jack Nicholson, to name a few. This is Chinese fine-dining with tableside service, and it helped revolutionized the way Americans view and eat Chinese food. It’s priced accordingly, so be prepared to splurge on high-ticket dishes such as filet “Ma Mignon,” on the whole Beijing duck and noodles with lobster.
Lawry's isn't technically a steakhouse; it primarily serves prime rib—pounds and pounds of prime rib. It's legendary, though, and to say that the atmosphere is formal is putting it mildly. The meat is carved tableside in massive silver carts by men wearing tall chef's toques, while your waitress wears a uniform that's a cross between a maid and the Flying Nun. The meal may be traditional, but it's not complicated, and there are only a few decisions to make: what size cut you'd like, what temperature and whether or not to add a vegetable (Tip: always add the creamed spinach). A few bites in and you'll know why Lawry's has been around for 80 years—and by the time you leave, you'll wonder why don't eat from silver carts every night.
Like you would to a mafia don, it's best to pay your respects to La Scala. One of Beverly Hills' OG Italian restaurants, this spot looks like something out of, say, The Godfather. Red leather booths, white tablecloths, and an attentive team of servers in vests and ties make you feel like you're someone special, and the food is still solid after around 30 years of celebrity clientele, mountains of white truffles, and one of the city's most beloved salads (always order the chopped or the chicken salad). With entrées hovering around $20, it's also one of the neighborhood's more affordable options—especially if you order the football-sized eggplant parm, which is excellent and enough for two.
While this option isn’t the classiest of Beverly Hills' restaurants, it’s easily the most classic: With more than 70 years under its belt, this isn’t just a neighborhood institution—it’s one of L.A.’s most beloved Jewish delis. Look for the giant, orange cursive lettering and you’ll find a wormhole to decades past, complete with leather booths and a massive deli case that’s packed with black-and-white cookies, potato salad and smoked fish. Breakfast is served all day here, but the move is the matzo-ball soup or the hot corned beef.