The West Hollywood & Hollywood Guide
In WeHo, you’ll find the city’s historic gay neighborhood (known for great restaurants and some very fun bars) sidled up next to a world class interior design district. Drive just a few more blocks south, and you’ll land in the middle of 3rd Street, which is peppered with indie coffeehouses, restaurants, and shops. While sections of Hollywood Boulevard can skew a tad touristy, Hollywood proper is a neighborhood with major culture pockets, including some excellent galleries, picturesque Beachwood Canyon, and countless restaurants. This guide also includes stately, old-world Hancock Park, with its two main shopping drags—homey Larchmont Avenue and more urban La Brea, which crawls with creatives.
Angelini Osteria7313 Beverly Blvd., Hancock Park | 323.297.0070
This place is always busy, and for good reason: The vibe is unpretentious, and the food is delicious, homey, and simple, from the pastas, (like the insane Lasagne Verde and the creamy risottos), to a whole branzino baked in salt.
Animal435 N. Fairfax Ave., West Hollywood | 323.782.9225
Animal is dedicated to well-prepared, seasonal food, with a focus on unique meat-heavy small plates. Run by Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo, the food manages to be inventive while classic, like the outrageously refreshing hamachi tostada and the foie gras biscuit with maple sausage gravy. The space is cool and minimal and fills up almost every night of the week. Bring your meat-loving friends and prepare to share.
AOC8700 W 3rd St., West Hollywood | 310.859.9859
When it comes to easy, seasonal California cuisine, Suzanne Goin has a pretty spotless track record (see: Lucques, Tavern, The Hungry Cat). While it's impossible to pinpoint which one is best, if we had to play favorites, A.O.C. would be it. So good is A.O.C.'s offering of shareable veggie, grain, and very thoughtfully selected meat dishes, that it inspired a cookbook of the same name. The interior is simple and beautiful, and for private gatherings, the clubby Wine Room can accommodate up to 40 guests. Downstairs, the outdoor garden—one of the prettiest open-air setups in the city—can seat 70.
Au Fudge9010 Melrose Ave., West Hollywood | 424.204.9228
Just-opened Au Fudge is experimenting with a novel idea for dinner with kids. Here, they're totally welcome, either at the table (where there's not a kids menu, but an entire menu that everyone can happily eat off of) or in a playspace, where au pairs will entertain them with endless games and a super-cool treehouse while the adults finish dinner. The front of the restaurant features an adorable shop, where parents can stock up on last-minute birthday gifts, rainbow-colored sweets, snacks, and coffee.
Beachwood Café2695 N. Beachwood Dr., Hollywood | 323.871.1717
The cornerstone of the one-street commercial area in adorable, historic Beachwood Canyon, Beachwood Café is still one of LA’s best-kept secrets. The eclectic décor has a distinctively ‘60s vibe that makes you nostalgic for the city’s early years, when development in the canyon really started to explode. The restaurant serves classic American/Californian food that’s heavy on vegetables and vegetarian options—that said, the meatball sub and pulled pork sandwiches are flat out great.
Café Gratitude639 N. Larchmont Blvd., Hancock Park | 323.580.6383
Everything on the menu is an affirmation, so if you can stifle the giggles at names like "I Am Connected"—which is actually an amazing zucchini cilantro hummus—you'll find that the vegan food here is delicious, even for those who normally refuse to go meat and dairy-free. There are picks for every sensibility, from coffee milkshakes (made with almond milk), to cashew cheese topped corn tacos to Indian curried lentils. There are three locations—Hancock Park, Venice, and the Arts District—and the Café Gratitude team just opened Gracias Madre, a Mexican iteration in Hollywood.
Canter’s Deli419 N. Fairfax Ave., West Hollywood | 323.651.2030
Around since 1931, Canter’s can’t-miss neon signage along Fairfax is easily one of L.A.’s the most iconic visuals, outshined only by the famous hot pastrami sandwiches and house-brined dill pickles inside. The menu is rife with all the Jewish comfort food staples–matzo ball soup, blintzes, smoked fish, and so much more—one might expect from a deli, prepared in the same reliably delicious way for decades and served 24/7. Then there’s the adjoining Kibitz Room—an old-school cocktail bar with a rich musical past (everyone from The Doors to Guns N’ Roses to Fiona Apple hung out here), where you can still hear live acts nightly.
Cecconi’s8764 Melrose Ave., West Hollywood | 310.432.2000
This is the quintessential L.A. hangout where the fun people watching comes with a side of craft cocktails and decent Italian food. The Butterfly Room (named after its center piece, a heart-shaped painting by Damien Hirst) is roomier than most private dining areas (it can accommodate up to 40 guests) and has a private entrance.
Cheebo7533 W. Sunset Blvd., Hollywood | 323.850.7070
From taco night to free-range fried chicken, this homey restaurant/café serves up Californian comfort food that's local, sustainable, natural and all that other good stuff.
chi SPACCA6610 Melrose Ave., West Hollywood | 323.297.1133
This wonderfully tiny, six-table spot is the latest addition to the Mozza family—with a homepage distinguished by a giant cleaver, Chi Spacca offers innumerable versions of pork and beef chops, which should definitely be shared (many are 42 to 50 ounces). Like any great steak house, even of the Italian variety, all that carne comes with a bountiful menu of delectable sides: The mashed potatoes are insane, as are the squash blossoms and grilled cauliflower. And, as this is California and all, you can trust that there's a simple grilled fish on the menu, along with a hearty kale salad. It's possible to rent the entire space for events.
CleoThe Redbury, 1717 Vine St., Hollywood | 323.962.1711
This place is great if you love strong, Mediterranean flavors. The complex small plates are excellent, and served in the beautiful eclectic hotel dining room. Their signature cocktails are just as delicious and interesting, making this a great place for a night out.
Connie and Ted’s8171 Santa Monica Blvd., West Hollywood | 323.848.2722
Connie & Ted's is undeniably one of the best options in L.A. for a great New England-style seafood meal. The menu is vast and great all around, but you can't go wrong with the daily fresh catch, prepared simply and skillfully—that or the fish and chips, which is buttery, flaky, and not the least bit greasy. Same goes for the overflowing fried oyster sandwich, which you'll be all too happy to eat with a fork and knife. Their family-style dinners, served to up to 16 guests on the private patio, are perfect for any low-key special occasion.
Grub911 Seward St., Hollywood | 323.461.3663
You'll feel as though you've stepped out of the city and into someone's garden upon arriving at the painted picket fence that surrounds the green outdoor eating area of this Hollywood spot. Grub serves up tasty California classics, in an charmingly-tongue-in-cheek way, from an 'Are You Yolk in'? Egg Sandwich' to a '1/2 Ass Order of Ice Cream.' A great place for lunch and brunch.
Odys & Penelope127 S. La Brea Ave., Hancock Park | 323.939.1033
This relative newcomer focuses on Brazilian churrasco, i.e. grilled meat. Accordingly, the back of the restaurant is outfitted with a wood-fired grill that churns out some of LA's best steaks, done in a traditional South American style. The menu is noticeably concise, to accommodate frequent changes based on availability, which means that the appetizers take full advantage of California's rich produce with seasonal salads and inventive vegetable dishes. This is the second, and more formal restaurant, from nearby Sycamore Kitchen's Quinn and Karen Hatfield; since Karen's manning the oven, the desserts here are not to be skipped.
République624 S. La Brea Ave., Hancock Park | 310.362.6115
With long and star-studded resumés (Walter Manzke has worked at El Bulli, for one, while his wife, Margarita, worked at Melisse), nobody expected this ambitious duo’s newest LA venture to be anything less than extraordinary. Occupying the former home of Campanile (i.e., Charlie Chaplin’s film studio back in the ’20s), the focus here is on French-inflected staples, like duck confit, oysters, and tartes flambées. The uni toast is insane, the baguettes are absurd (Margarita is a pastry chef), and the space has been reworked beautifully: The heavy floor tiles and mahogany tables were all imported from The Philippines, where Margarita was born. (Should you ever find yourself in Manila, the Manzkes also have a small chain of successful cafés there called Wildflour.)
Inaka131 S. La Brea Ave., Hollywood | 323.936.9353
This long-standing Japanese on La Brea serves up simple, healthy, and delicious macrobiotic fare in a pleasant, no-frills dining room. It's great for a feel-good weekday lunch or dinner.
Jitlada5233 1/2 W. Sunset Blvd., Hollywood | 323.667.9809
You wouldn't expect it from the outside, but this place serves up really excellent and innovative Southern Thai cuisine, that pushes the boundaries on flavor and spice. The mussels are a standout and people rave about the 'crying tiger.' It's tiny, which makes for long but worthwhile waits.
M Café de Chaya7119 Melrose Ave., Hollywood | 323.525.0588
This is a great place for lunch. We love the Teriyaki Brown Rice Bowl with salmon and The California Club sandwich with tempeh 'bacon' and soy-mayo. They also have a great kids menu with options like buckwheat pancakes and gluten-free quesadillas. The atmosphere is relaxed and airy. There's a location in Beverly Hills and a new outpost in Brentwood.
Musso & Frank Grill6667 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood | 323.467.7788
Well-worn red leather banquettes, stiff martinis, bowtied waiters, and what was the first pay-phone in Hollywood, are just the beginning of this fabled restaurant's story. Thanks to its proximity to the Screen Writer's Guild, literary stars like F. Scott Fitzgerald, Faulkner, and Aldous Huxley, wrote while they snacked on liquor. The menu has evolved since they opened in 1919, though it's really more about drinking up the scene.
Nong La145 N. La Brea Blvd., Hollywood | 323.938.1188
Considering Nong La’s immense popularity, it’s easy to forget that it’s actually a small, family-run operation. It started with brother-and-sister duo, Elaine and Victor Phuong, and their mom Khanh Phan, who sourced family recipes and adapted them into a perfect menu of Vietnamese banh mi, egg-topped fried rice, and a light, flavorful pho that you can customize to your liking. The new La Brea location is just a smidge fancier than the Sawtelle original but the menu is for the most part identical. Tip: Treat yourself to a glass of the homemade passion fruit iced tea—it’s delicious and just sweet enough to constitute as dessert. The original location is on the West Side.
Osteria la Buca5210 Melrose Ave., Hollywood | 323.462.1900
The in-house pastas are particularly stand-out here, especially the bucatini and the rye rigatoni. A young, friendly staff and airy brick-and-wood interior with floor-to-ceiling windows and long steel bar make this place feel more like the East Village than LA. A big wine list, great pizzas, and even better prices make it a real gem.
Osteria Mozza6602 Melrose Ave., Hollywood | 323.297.0100
For the true Italophile, pull out all the stops and order the 7-course Pasta Tasting Menu from Mario Batali, Nancy Silverton, and Joseph Bastianich’s Hollywood locale. If you choose, you can accompany each course with their suggested wine. Their wine room is an ideal location for a small private event, but it's also possible to arrange a full buyout.
Pizzeria Mozza641 N. Highland Ave., Hollywood | 323.297.0101
The delectable pizza comes care of Mario Batali and LaBrea Bakery's Nancy Silverton, who worked together to create this incredible pizzeria (and osteria) next door. Highlights including the fried squash blossom with ricotta and butterscotch budino but anything you order will not disappoint.
Pace2100 Laurel Canyon Blvd., Hollywood | 323.654.8583
Though its just a few miles from L.A.'s busiest stretch, Pace feels like it's in the middle of the nowhere. It's actually in the residential hillside enclave, Laurel Canyon, right below a sweet little neighborhood grocery store. It's one of those rare restaurants that works equally well for big, lively dinners with friends or more romantic dates. The food—Italian—is strong, but it's really more about the cozy, tucked-away vibe than culinary fireworks.
Providence5955 Melrose Ave., Hollywood | 323.460.4170
With two Michelin stars at its back, Michael Cimarusti’s Providence easily ranks as one of L.A.’s best. The prix-fixe menu revolves around Cimarusti’s deep love for the sea, and the provenance of the fish on the menu is clearly-defined: There’s down-home “chowda,” lobsters from Maine, coho salmon from the Olympic peninsula, and a smattering of exotics, like ikura, uni, and razor clams. Meanwhile, the quietly-fancy space feels like it could double as the dining room of an opulent ocean liner. They have two private rooms for events.
Stella Barra6372 W. Sunset Blvd., Hollywood | 323.301.4001
Stella Barra's draw is the pizza, made from handcrafted dough, sized somewhere between a personal pizza and a pie, with a fairly crisp crust and addicting, soft center. First-timers should start with the Bloomsdale Spinach & Kale white pizza—and the Italian chopped salad is a solid side. A pro of the Stella Hollywood location (there's also a restaurant in Santa Monica) is that it shares the same parking lot as the Arclight theater, which makes it an obviously good date-night spot: After dinner, stop at the bar in front for salted chocolate chip cookies, and then head into your movie.
Stout1544 N. Cahuenga Blvd., Hollywood | 323.469.3801
After catching a midnight act at the Piano Bar down the street, this place is a welcome refuge for an awesome burger in a cool and clean environment. It's also great to sit outside during the day and enjoy any of their creative beef (ground in-house daily), chicken (the one with smoked mozzarella and artichoke spread is amazing,) or veggie burgers with a cold artisanal draft. There are also locations in Studio City and Santa Monica.
Sycamore Kitchen143 S. La Brea Ave., Hancock Park
Smack in the middle of the La Brea design corridor, the seating at this little sister to the more upscale Odys + Penelope is almost entirely outdoors. The sweet and the savory camps are equally strong here: There's salted caramel pecan bapka and chocolate chip rye in the former, and a generous Farmhouse Chop Salad and Turkey Sandwich in the latter.
The Griddle7916 Sunset Blvd., Hollywood | 323.874.0377
The obnoxiously long wait to get into this get close and comfy place for breakfast is so worth the amazing waffles and French press coffee. They'll definitely set you right for the day. There's also good people watching.
Trois Mec716 N. Highland Ave., Hollywood
The man behind the Ludobites pop-ups joined forces with the Son of a Gun and Animal team to open his first brick and mortar venture. You have to buy tickets for this spot, which is located in an old pizza joint (still marked by the original signs) inside a Hollywood strip mall. That's just the beginning of the experimental bend: Here, buckwheat "popcorn" has replaced the bread basket. It's $75 per person for five-courses, with no choices or substitutions. There are a few tables in the back of the small space, but the counter, where the chefs hand you each course, is the place to be.
Umami Burger1520 North Cahuenga Blvd., Hollywood | 323.469.3100
The eponymous burger here warrants the elusive name, which refers to the fifth taste in Japanese. You'll find a sleek interior and fantastic burgers, plus inventive sides and sauces. Not to mention, they grind their own meat, process their own cheese, and pickle their own veggies. Because why not? With multiple locations throughout LA area, you can't, and shouldn't, miss this. Other locations: Arts District, Downtown, Burbank, Los Feliz, Pasadena, Santa Monica, Studio City, West Hollywood, and Thousand Oaks
Yuca’s4666 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood | 323.661.0523
This stand serves up authentic Mexican street food, including killer cochinita pibil (Yucatán-style roasted pork), carne asada, carnitas burritos, and more. The beans here are homemade and full of flavor, and they also have a pretty great burger. Their portion sizes are also authentic, so don't expect Chipotle-esque burritos. Locations in Hollywood and Los Feliz.
Crossroads8284 Melrose Ave., West Hollywood | 323.782.9245
Only in LA would the bar inside a vegan restaurant be a major scene (it's kind of the best place to sit for a full meal, too). While vegan food never seems to get the upscale touch, it's not the case at Tal Ronnen’s dimly-lit, luxurious bistro. There’s no mention on the menu of the fact that every dish is plant-based: Hearts of palm masquerade as crab cakes and calamari, and almonds pretend they’re cheese. Without the clever naming conventions, the food would still stand on its own. In short: You won’t miss dairy or meat. There are also lots of workarounds for the gluten-intolerant as well.
Dan Tana’s9071 Santa Monica Blvd., West Hollywood | 310.275.9444
The menu is long and hand-drawn here, which gives you an idea of how infrequently it changes: All the Italian classics are represented, from Chicken Marsala to Spaghetti Carbonara. Though the fare is decent, it caters to a regular, show business clientele that makes it one of Hollywood’s veritable cafeterias. It’s an LA institution, through and through.
E.P. & L.P.603 N. La Cienega Blvd., West Hollywood | 310.855.9955
The just-opened E.P. & L.P. is excellent proof that you don't need an ocean view to have a magical rooftop experience in Los Angeles. While the downstairs restaurant, which serves Asian-inspired dishes, is certainly deserving of a spot on any "to try" list, any one of the bars (there are three, one inside the restaurant and two on the roof-top deck) is definitely the place to be. Upstairs, the décor feels very L.A., with a wood deck, neon chairs, and ample greenery to round out stunning views of the hills. Drink-wise, expect to find everything from traditional Pimm's cup to spiked boba tea.
Escuela Taqueria7615 Beverly Blvd., West Hollywood | 323.932.6178
So, great Mexican is not exactly hard to come by in this town but this place, from restaurateur Steven Arroyo (Cobras & Matadors), does it a little differently. Dishes like tacos with pork belly, baby back ribs and sea bass are served in a tiny dining room with wooden shoe molds dangling from the ceiling. It's a little pricier than your average taco joint, but it's a full dining experience. Don't miss their delicious guac and agua fresca.
Izaka-ya by Katsu-ya8420 W 3rd St., West Hollywood | 323.782.9536
You'd never know that the Katsuya of today got its start in a strip mall in Studio City; now, the chain occupies some of the slickest spaces around, thanks in no small part to Phillippe Starck (and a major partnership with sbe). For a more laid-back vibe, we actually prefer Chef Katsuya's take on a traditional Japanese izakaya in West Hollywood. It's impossible to skip the spicy tuna on crispy rice, though the crab and creamy popcorn shrimp tempura probably shouldn't be missed, either.
Jon & Vinny’s412 N. Fairfax Ave., West Hollywood | 323.334.3369
If there's anything to dislike about this relatively new arrival from the guys behind almost every great restaurant in town (Animal, Son of a Gun, Trois Mec, Trois Familia...) it's that it's not twice as big. People line up out the door for both a table, and takeout, thanks to a pretty epic menu of pizzas and pastas. If you want a more low-key experience, stop by for breakfast when it's nice and quiet.
Jones7205 Santa Monica Blvd., West Hollywood | 323.850.1726
This West Hollywood standby has mellowed out substantially from its days of rowdy all-nighters, though the bathrooms—which are plastered with hilarious snapshots of partying patrons—and the late hours are a nice nod to Jones’ party-central past. On the same note, both the main bar and the smaller one in the back, are still a great spot to get a drink and people watch. As suggested by the checkered tablecloths and moody lighting, the food leans heavily on home-style Italian dishes like spaghetti and meatballs, heaping chopped salad, and thin-crust pizza—served fresh, straight from the wood-burning brick oven. If sharing, the Jidori roast chicken is a good choice.
Marvin8114 Beverly Blvd., West Hollywood | 323.655.5553
Steven Arroyo (of Escuela Taqueria and Potato Chip fame) and Max Marder transformed the former House Cafe into Marvin—a French-inflected bistro that’s picked up a few design tricks from Arroyo (aluminum cans line the ceiling, to pretty stunning effect, and simple plates dot the walls). The wine list is great, and the menu is packed with classics, from fried egg topped asparagus to a perfect roast chicken. The best part? It’s open until midnight (a rarity in Los Angeles) and you can usually get a seat at the bar with minimum wait time.
Night + Market9041 Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood | 310.275.9724
30-something chef, Kris Yenbamroong, may not have any formal culinary training, but no matter: He learned how to cook in Bangkok, and in the kitchen of his parent’s long-standing Thai mainstay, Talésai, which is now the (sort of) home of Night + Market. Tucked away behind a curtain in the back, you won’t find the white tablecloths that mark the former. Instead, you’re met by a stark white space where the only décor is a handful of Christmas lights and a Singha beer sign. Here, the hype continues to mount: Maybe it’s the low-slung and crowded communal tables (this place is loud), or maybe it’s the exquisite and (very) spicy street food, like pad thai, grilled fatty pig collar, and fried chicken wings, bathed in “rooster sauce.” Below, you’ll find the recipes for two of my favorite dishes.
Pistola8022 W. 3rd St., West Hollywood | 323.951.9800
This is an unabashedly grand Italian steakhouse from Vic Casanova (he did Gusto). But there are many wonderful things on the menu besides straight-up meat, including pasta classics (carbonara, squid ink agnoletti), and hearty fish dishes. It's two-stories and replete with a spacious bar, making it a great option for both solo diners and big, rowdy groups.
Plan Check351 N Fairfax Ave., West Hollywood | 323.591.0094
Plan Check is primarily known for the Plan Check Burger (PCB), which pairs a juicy patty with their signature ketchup leather (it’s like ketchup-flavored fruit leather). With the burger hogging the spotlight, it’s easy to overlook the fact that the restaurant also serves what’s arguably one of the best fried chicken sandwiches in the city. The secret is that they cold smoke and brine the chicken before it’s fried—the perfectly crispy, flavorful result is served with pimento cheese, duck breast ham, and crunchy pickles. There are two other locations, on Sawtelle and Downtown.
Shake Shack8520 Santa Monica Blvd., West Hollywood | 323.488.3010
While most Californians are still die hard In-N-Out loyalists, New York transplants, and anyone who can appreciate a good burger and excellent fries, are thrilled about Shake Shack's first-ever location on the West Coast.
Son of a Gun8370 W. 3rd St., West Hollywood | 323.782.9033
Styled to look like an East Coast clam shack (buoys, taxidermied fish, and life belts line the wood-paneled walls), Son of a Gun is one of those spots that could probably routinely fill a space five times its size. While you might have to wait for a seat, the linguine and clams, peel-and-eat shrimp, insane sashimis, shrimp toast, smoked trout with crackers, and mini lobster rolls fully justify the time spent. Though one of their biggest hits, the fried chicken sandwich, has nothing to do with the sea.
Sushi Park8539 W. Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood | 310.652.0523
This quintessential sushi spot is tucked away on the second floor of a nondescript strip mall on Sunset; it’s a good thing since seats (and opening hours) are limited. It’s strictly Omakase at the sushi bar, and well worth it—should you take this option, you’ll have to cross your fingers that the blue crab hand roll (more and more ubiquitous around LA, but still superb) and skipjack sashimi are on the night’s menu.
TART115 S. Fairfax Ave., West Hollywood | 323.556.2608
Nestled in the interior patio of the Farmer's Daughter Hotel, TART's poolside patio feels completely isolated from crowded, stress-inducing The Grove directly across the street. This often-overlooked spot serves up Southern-inspired food including hush puppies, buttermilk-fried chicken and waffles (in the perfect proportion), and a respectable shrimp and grits dish. Their punch bowls, which come in a variety of freakishly potent flavors, are a great deal for bigger groups. While we can't confirm from personal experience, we've heard that brave souls who jump into the pool (clothes on) after brunch get their meal for half off.
The Hart and the Hunter7950 Melrose Ave., West Hollywood | 323.424.3055
Sweet, old-fashioned flourishes like daintily-printed, mismatched china, retro mint-green tiled walls, and old, hanging portraits, make this spot feel like a movie set. It's open all day, thanks to its second-life as a hotel restaurant (Palihotel), and serves market-inspired small plates with a Southern bent (fried green tomatoes, shrimp boils, cornbread, and the like). The acoustics are not the best in the small, casual small dining room making this better for lunch or an afterwork dinner with a friend.
The Ivy113 N. Robertson Blvd., West Hollywood | 310.274.8303
It’s so overly touristy it almost didn’t make the cut, but if you don’t mind pushing through the papparazzi on the sidewalk out front, the grilled vegetable salad with shrimp is pretty delicious—and the patio does offer some of the city’s best people-watching.
Tower Bar8358 Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood | 323.654.7100
Jeff Klein’s art deco jewel (another great place to stay, though the rooms can be a bit tight) has one of our favorite restaurants: The walls are lined in walnut, the lighting is low, and the vibe is hushed and discreet—fitting, as it lives in what was once Bugsy Siegel’s apartment.
Rosaliné8479 Melrose Ave., West Hollywood | 323.297.9500
After a three-year hiatus, chef Ricardo Zarate (most famously of Mo-Chica) is back with Rosaliné, which is named for his mother. The menu is loosely Peruvian, with an emphasis on ceviches and other seafood, including an incredible arroz con mariscos—rice, sea urchin, scallops, tiger prawns and manila clams. Located on Melrose, Rosaliné is also a convenient spot for a post-work cocktail, with a gorgeous dining room and bar that features glass-paned walls and a ceiling replete with hanging plants.