One of L.A.’s most storied neighbourhoods, Hollywood is a place that’s always brimming with actors, directors and musicians, which means there’s a good chance you’ll spot a celebrity or two while dining at one of its many restaurants, especially during Oscar season. Whether you want to meet a movie star or dine like one, the following Hollywood spots are sure to please.
Signature experience: Delilah
Delilah is a lavish, Gatsby-esque spot that brings back the golden era of 1920s supper clubs in Tinseltown. Dine and dance like Greta Garbo or Kendall Jenner, who celebrated her 21st birthday here.
Inside the Sunset Tower Hotel (a former apartment building), this bar is housed in what was once celebrity gangster Bugsy Siegel’s home and still brings in big names (Lady Gaga, Keanu Reeves) for sweeping views of the city and classic sips
Little has changed since Oregon restaurateur Joseph Musso and entrepreneur Frank Toulet opened this place on the north side of Hollywood Boulevard in 1919. With ancient waiters in red coats serving up hearty Italian fare, this spot has been loved by everyone from Charlie Chaplin and Marilyn Monroe (who dined here with Joe DiMaggio) to literary greats like William Faulkner and F. Scott Fitzgerald, who set up shop in the restaurant’s Back Room. A number of Hollywood heavyweights continue to swing by, including Al Pacino and Julia Roberts.
In business together for more than 20 years, Academy Award-winner Robert De Niro and sushi superstar Nobu Matsuhisa have built a global brand, serving up Peruvian-influenced Japanese fusion cuisine across five continents. But it all began with a humble, six-seat sushi bar in Beverly Hills. Look out for De Niro as you sample the fare at either of the two SoCal locations—West Hollywood and a seaside spot in Malibu (which is featured in the lyrics of Drake’s “Jumpman.”)
Riot House at Andaz West Hollywood
Swill cocktails on the rooftop at the Andaz West Hollywood (a.k.a. the Riot Hyatt), where The Rolling Stones’ Keith Richards threw a TV out of a window and Led Zeppelin’s Robert Plant yelled, “I am a Golden God!”
A Japanese “mountain palace” set at the base of the Hollywood Hills, this local institution (which has hosted celebrities including Jamie Foxx and Benicio Del Toro) had begun to sag since opening in 1914 as a 10-room teak-and-cedar mansion surrounded by a massive, ornate garden and private zoo. Used as a Japanese set for many movies over the years, it was recently purchased and renovated, giving it a new life, a new chef (Christophe Bonnegrace, who sits on a list of America’s best chefs), and new features including a teppanyaki grill.
Staff here say Quentin Tarantino still pops by for chili every once in awhile. A West Hollywood classic, this colourful, raffish restaurant bar has been around since 1920 and is where Tarantino wrote Pulp Fiction back when he was still unknown.
Paparazzi mingle just outside the elevator doors that lead up to this 12,000-square-foot rooftop oasis, and with good reason: it’s probably the best place in L.A. to spot celebrities any night of the week (diners have included James Corden, Jennifer Lopez and Selena Gomez). Bonus: beyond hip, it’s also beautiful, with a flower-draped entrance and sweeping downtown views. Try the small plates of signature seafood, from mahi mahi wonton tacos to oyster shooters, and some of the best lobster mac and cheese in Southern California.
Located on Melrose Place, Alfred is young Hollywood’s (think Vanessa Hudgens and Niall Horan) favourite place to start the day. A photogenic spot, it boasts an extensive menu of high-end coffee and more than 100,000 Instagram followers.
The avocado hanabi at this critically acclaimed Santa Monica spot includes a delicious mix of soy truffle and parmesan reggiano. This dish was a former favourite of Miley Cyrus before she adopted a strict vegan diet.
Tyler Perry has been known to pass up the filet, Wagyu or game steaks here in lieu of simple, healthier grilled chicken from Rosie’s Farm with a side of vegetables. This is one of Perry’s favourite spots (he’s lunched here with Oprah Winfrey).
See a show at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts (an adjacent space hosts the annual Vanity Fair Oscar after-party) then enjoy cocktails and light bites at nearby Garden Bar. The menu was created by celebrity chef Geoffrey Zakarian (Chopped, Iron Chef, The Kitchen).
Celebrity Chef Q&A: Wolfgang Puck dishes on the annual Governors Ball
One of the world’s most famous chefs, Wolfgang Puck oversees a true culinary empire, with dozens of restaurants across the United States. But perhaps his biggest yearly challenge is pulling together the Oscar-night Governors Ball (2018 marks Puck’s 24th year with the event), which attracts more than 1,000 guests, including many of Hollywood’s biggest stars.
What inspires your culinary choices for the Governors Ball?
“Our goal is to create a comforting yet elegant menu in a casual environment where guests can move around and mingle.”
How do you organize such an important event?
“We begin preparing in December, when I meet with my chefs to discuss the menu, and, leading up to the night, we have frequent tastings. On the night, we have 300 chefs in the kitchen and more than 1,000 people working to pull it all together.”
How do you narrow down the menu options?
“We create new dishes, but we bring back the classics, as well. People have told me they don’t care what I make, as long as the Chicken Pot Pie with Shaved Black Truffles is on the menu. We also turn our signature Smoked Salmon Pizza with Crème Fraiche and Caviar into Smoked Salmon Oscars, and, of course, there are the gold-dusted chocolate Oscars. In addition to decadent items, we balance the menu with colourful salads and vegetarian-focused dishes.”
The Best of Rum: Tours, Tastings and Tips
From sipping rums and rum-based cocktails to touring distilleries like Mount Gay in Barbados, there are plenty of rum-filled things to do on your next Caribbean vacation. Here, we share everything you need to know about this storied spirit, including its history and tasting tips from rum master blender Joy Spence.
San Diego Spotlight: You & Yours Distilling Co.
You & Yours Distilling Co. officially opened in early 2017 in Makers Quarter, an up-and-coming neighbourhood in San Diego’s East Village. It offers tours as well as a creative cocktail menu. Here, head distiller and co-founder Laura Johnson shares the inspiration for the distillery and her favourite spots for cocktails.