West Hollywood restaurants to visit
To get in the right frame of mind for this modern French-meets-Mediterranean restaurant, you must be willing to try absolutely anything. Chef Suzanne Goin is fantastically inventive, using obscure ingredients in exuberant and unlikely combinations. Fill the center of your table with appetizers and then order a main dish or two. And, after all these years, the Sunday-night prix-fixe menu is still among the best deals in town.
Night + Market is easily one of the best Thai restaurants in L.A., and it’s led by chef-owner Kris Yenbamroong: son of the restaurateurs who opened the wildly popular Talésai, one of the city’s first introductions to the cuisine. He serves a menu like none other, inspired equally by the night market street foods of Bangkok and the rustic cooking of rural northern Thailand, where he still has distant relatives. The moo sadoong (“startled pig”) is a phenomenal dish, a fiery, sinus-jolting, tear-jerking slap in the face that tastes a lot like grilled pork with lemongrass, fish sauce and a fistful of Thai bird chiles. And nobody makes a better crab fried rice. Period.
Chef Casey Lane’s rustic-yet-refined Italian gem feels almost hidden, tucked away in the lobby of the La Peer Hotel just off Melrose. But once inside, it’s all marble and brass and warm wood—a so-chic setting that sets the pace for Lane’s equally-cool cuisine. Between the decor and the menu, you’ll never want to leave: saffron fried rice with clams; the astounding 50-some-odd-layer Pasta alla Piastra lasagna; a handful of artful crudos; an array of seasonal vegetables; and wood-grilled meats make for an overwhelming bounty. If you want to dabble, Viale also offers three unique tasting menus, which each focus on the styles and ingredients of a specific region of Italy. Like we said, we never want to leave.
Traditional Japanese technique meets modern, sustainable California flavor at Reika Alexander’s intimate bungalow on the edge of Chateau Marmont. The space is almost as delicate and detailed as the plates, the soft lighting and golden wallpaper adding a glow to your sashimi, rice pots and uni-topped ice cream. This is, hands down, one of the neighborhood’s most impressive date spots, and it’s great for à la carte shareables—we’re looking at you, A5 wagyu, Japanese fried chicken and house-made tofu—or a coursed kaiseki meal, available in both omnivorous and vegan varieties.
The lofty-but-casual seafood spot from chef Michael Cimarusti lies in the heart of West Hollywood, and features alfresco dining that overlooks Santa Monica Boulevard. You can also grab a seat near the raw bar, where you can order oysters, clams, lobsters, crabs, shrimp and spot prawns as you watch the action. Two-fisters include the lobster and clam rolls, served on a griddled top-split bun, or you could opt for classic seaside plates like grilled or steamed lobster served with drawn butter, fried clams served with tartar sauce and fries, and a clam bake with steamed potatoes and corn. Domestic craft brews are offered on tap and by the bottle, as is a California-centric selection of reds and whites by the glass.
Whether you’re among hanging plants, in the bustling dining room or holed up at the chef’s table, there’s no bad seat in this lively Peruvian-food haven, where foot-high flames shoot up from an open kitchen offering table-sized skillets of paella and so-fresh-they’re-still-alive scallops. Steak and ceviches shine, as do vegetables, which receive the same care as their meatier counterparts. Enjoy not one but a few of the vibrant cocktails and finish with house-made bonbons, for best results.
Located on the second floor of a nondescript plaza on Sunset Strip, Sushi Park is where Angelenos—and the occasional Hollywood celeb—in the know get their sushi fix. Grab a seat at the sushi bar for so-fresh-you-can-taste-the-Pacific omakase where the chef will take you through multiple courses of sushi, sashimi and small plates for a hefty price. Note the limited hours for lunch and dinner (Saturday seats evening diners, only) and the now-famous, all-caps rules of the house: “No takeout, no trendy sushi, no salad, no veggies, no California roll, no spicy tuna roll, no teriyaki, [no] tempura.”
Easily the most fun dining spot along WeHo’s La Cienega strip, E.P.’s Asian dining house blends Fijian, Chinese, Vietnamese, Indonesian and even Australian flavor by way of executive chef Louis Tikaram and his talented team. Wild curries, tender twice-cooked short ribs and one of the neighborhood’s best brunches—all set in a neon-tinged dining room—make this spot an always-option. Set against rooftop views of the Hollywood Hills, the upstairs bar, L.P., adds even more fun to the mix with boba-dotted cocktails, outdoor movie screenings and a separate late-night munchie menu with items such as mushroom tacos, waffle fries and a spicy fried chicken sandwich.
Come on, nobody goes to Dan Tana’s just for the cooking. It’s not that the simple, old-fashioned Italian fare is bad—it’s more that the Old Hollywood atmosphere is such a throwback, you can’t help but get transported to another era as you feast on large portions of cheesy garlic bread and chicken parm. The older servers can tell you what L.A. was like back when this food was cutting-edge, a time when they were much younger but Dan Tana’s looked the same. It’s still favored by celebs with respect for Old Hollywood (George Clooney, James Woods), not to mention a cast of locals, who mostly perch at the bar to sip martinis.
Simply put, Crossroads is a high-end vegan restaurant for carnivores. Plant-based chef to the stars Tal Ronnen—he’s counted Oprah Winfrey and Ellen DeGeneres among his clients—reinvents meat-free meals with flavorful and imaginative dishes that are reasonably priced and served in a cozy, white-tablecloth Melrose Avenue dining room. Grab one of the comfy round booths and dig into artichoke “oysters” layered with puréed artichoke, a fried oyster mushroom, kelp caviar and a drizzle of yellow Bearnaise; and lasagna made with layers of creamy almond ricotta cheese and marinara. At brunch, you’ll find faux chicken and waffles, along with Jann’s Bagel: a phenomenal spread of almond cream cheese, smoked-carrot lox, capers and onions on an everything bagel.
Cecconi’s is a classic California-meets-Italian restaurant in West Hollywood serving breakfast, lunch and dinner, as well as cicchetti (Italian tapas), seven days a week. Specializing in Northern Italian cuisine, the menu covers everything from pizza to fish to exemplary pastas—and you can enjoy it all on one of the city’s best patios. The wine menu is just as diverse: Choose from more than 50 varieties on hand (hint: test the waters at Cecconi’s happy hour, which serves bites and sips from $3–$9).
It should be said right off the bat that Gracias Madre is beautiful. A cross between Mexican chic and Palm Springs casual, the vegan Mexican restaurant is decorated with festive cushions and tiles, a gorgeous courtyard and, inside, high ceilings and a comfortable bar. Wherever you choose to sit, order the guacamole—it is truly fantastic. The sopes con piña, looking like mini savory quiches, are two masa cakes piled high with pineapple salsa, cabbage, beans and guacamole. It is a necessary reminder that vegan doesn’t have to mean void of flavor, and that Gracias Madre has arrived as an ethically-conscious alternative to L.A.’s growing haute Mexican scene.
Despite being on the Sunset Strip—home to many restaurants that give off a tourist-trap vibe—the Eveleigh is in a class all its own. Duck confit with lentils, pappardelle with pork ragu, hanger steak with romesco sauce—the kitchen keeps it simple and gets it right. Brunch is a relaxed affair, frequented by people who probably never visit the Strip at night. Most of the seating is outside, either on the front patio, which is covered in shaggy Astroturf, or the enclosed back terrace, which offers views of the city.
When it comes to French restaurants in L.A., Petrossian is just what you need in a sea—pun intended—of elaborate tasting menus. Petrossian is known the world over for its caviar, and in its full-service restaurant, you’ll find it sprinkled over just about everything: frites, smoked salmon, burgers, uni toast, blinis, flatbreads—you name it. For a white-tablecloth restaurant, this spot sports a relaxed vibe, especially at brunch, which is easily the best meal here.
The Hudson is West Hollywood’s answer to an elevated gastropub: a spacious white marble-topped bar, comfy industrial-craft stools, upholstered banquettes and Edison bulb lighting. The comfort fare satisfies across the board, with options like the crispy chicken sliders served on soft mini-buns with aioli and house-cured pickles, or brioch grilled cheese (always add the short rib). Seasonally appropriate cocktails offer plenty of fresh citrus, herbs and warm-weather fruits, along with draft beers, bottle selections and a number of red, white and sparkling wine options by the glass.
Good-looking people, a beautiful atmosphere, gorgeously-plated food: There’s more to this restaurant than twinkling tea lights and Prada clutches, though there’s plenty of that. The menu skews Modern American, with crudos and salads and pork belly in spades. Pasta is made in-house, so you’d be wise to order the hand-cut spaghetti (far better than the one you might find at your neighborhood trattoria) or a sweet butternut squash tortellini. The only better way to finish off the meal is with dessert—maybe a banana bread pudding—and a hundred selfies taken on the see-and-be-seen staircase outside.