West Hollywood Restaurants
435 N. Fairfax Ave., West Hollywood
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.
8700 W 3rd St., West Hollywood
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 Fudge (Closed)
9010 Melrose Ave., West Hollywood
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.
8500 Beverly Blvd, Suite 115; West Hollywood
While the Beverly Center continues its years-long construction project, the silver lining is that a few of the street level restaurants are finally open—among them, Michael Mina and Adam Sobel’s coastal Italian spot Cal Mare. Yes, it’s a mall restaurant, but it’s a really good one. (It’s big enough, too, so getting a table last-minute shouldn’t be a problem.) The menu leans heavily on seafood, but the wood-fired pizzas and house-made pastas shouldn’t be overlooked. For a decadent start to your meal, there’s no going wrong with one of the caviar and mozzarella pairings.
419 N. Fairfax Ave., West Hollywood
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.
8764 Melrose Ave., West Hollywood
This is the quintessential LA hangout where the fun people-watching comes with a side of craft cocktails and decent Italian food. The Butterfly Room (named after its centerpiece, a heart-shaped painting by Damien Hirst) is roomier than most private dining areas (it can accommodate up to forty guests) and has a private entrance.
Connie and Ted’s
8171 Santa Monica Blvd., West Hollywood
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.
8284 Melrose Ave., West Hollywood
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 rarely seems to get the upscale touch, it certainly does 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.
9071 Santa Monica Blvd., West Hollywood
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
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.
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