There are so many incredible restaurants in Los Angeles it’s almost impossible to know where to go. These four are places I visited recently, highly recommend and hope to return to – there are thousands more, of course.
LA sprawls far in many directions, but happily is excellently served by Uber, who’ll take you wherever you want for much less than you expect. Just make sure you book in advance wherever you choose. There are thousands of restaurants but no spare tables at the best, whatever the price level.
First in what turned out to be the best food in Los Angeles on any trip so far was Marino Restaurant at 6001 Melrose Avenue. You could walk the length of this extremely long street on a clothes shopping spree and find endless numbers of boutiques you had never heard of before. However, take an Uber (or walk) to this small family run restaurant and stop by for some of the best Italian food you’ll have had anywhere.
Marino was packed with locals and a smattering of stars as is everywhere good in this city. The food is superb. Try the gazpacho if you’re lucky enough to be there in season, the linquine alla Pescatore and the gamberi Posillipo if you love shellfish but anything will be very good.
Marino Restaurant - 6001 Melrose Ave. in Hollywood, CA 90038 +1 (323) 466-8812
Next stop is Wolfgang Puck at the Bel Air Hotel. This is pure luxury and provided you’re at home with being surrounded by the noisy and – mostly - very famous you’ll be very happy. Just a word of advice, ask for a booth or you may have your evening interrupted by families with very young children.
The food here is sublime. The service is wonderful. The prices are as you would expect so come here for a special celebration. Try the crudites which come with various dips, the Alaskan King Salmon but honestly you’ll find it hard to go wrong. Everything is beautifully presented. I have to confess I never manage to make it to dessert, but this is one place I almost wish I had…..
You may also be lucky enough to meet Wolfgang Puck himself – culinary genius and celebrity chef. He trained as an apprentice under Raymond Thuilier at L'Oustau de Baumanière in Les Baux-de-Provence which I have written about before. I digress but I should point out that they no longer prepare the famous Salad Baumaniere. I’ll be moaning again about that later this year. Here is Wolfgang Puck’s recipe for Salad Baumaniere.
Wolfgang Puck at the Hotel Bel Air 701 Stone Canyon Road, Los Angeles, CA 90077
Phone: (310) 909-1644
The third restaurant (for dinner, anyway) on this last trip is Angelini Osteria. Rated top for Italian Restaurants in Los Angeles by Zagat don’t dream of trying to visit here unless you have booked, and you’ll need to book well in advance. Call them rather than try and book online. You’re far more lucky to succeed. The evening I was there there were people waiting on the pavement outside the whole time.
But the food here is worth any wait. They’re happy to prepare dishes for you in a different way from the menu and the service could not be better. The menu is split into two parts; their classic dishes, which you can view online, and seasonal specials, which you can’t. Everything I had was totally delicious. There’s a reason why it’s so hard to get in.
Angelini Osteria – 7313 Beverly Blvd, Los Angeles, CA, 90036 (323)297-0070
I did promise ‘cheap eats’ and if you’re looking for somewhere to go for lunch, or an early dinner, you should try the Panini Cafe. It’s my lunch place of choice in LA. Always packed – but you just walk in – Panini Cafe serves food all day long so you can come here for breakfast as well.
They’re all over LA (and elsewhere) and offer fresh and healthy soups, salads, wraps, pizzas, hummus plates, charbroiled skewers with salad – the list goes on and on. And it’s all reasonably priced. Try the lentil soup (or hummus, which I had) and the charbroiled chicken salad with avocado and romaine lettuce. Be aware that their main course plates are huge so you can share unless you’re seriously starving.
These are bright, noisy cafe/restaurants which are almost always full of locals and tourists alike. The service is excellent.
The Panini Cafe I went to was in Beverly Hills, at 9601 Santa Monica Boulevard, which quite by chance is right around the corner from some of the best shopping in the world. Click on the link to find the other locations.