FOOD & DINING IN LOS ANGELES
When it comes to dining and drinking, anything that one can possibly dream up can be found in Los Angeles. Celebrity-only seating on the West Side is countered by family-style seating in Silverlake, and cuisines from Ethiopian to Polish are all here somewhere. With so many choices and a limited time frame, here are some highlights that should not be missed.
Santa Monica/Venice/ Malibu
These beachfront neighbourhoods offer the full range of dining options from earthy-hippie cuisine in Venice to star-studded glamour in Malibu. When not gazing into the deep blue Pacific, be sure to focus your attention on Babalu for down-to-earth Caribbean cuisine, Chez Mimi for one of the most romantic French experiences you'll have this side of Paris and Geoffrey's for fresh cuisine with a heart-stopping view of the California coast. Wolfgang Puck's Chinois On Main is a wonderful choice, as well as Arnold Schwarzenegger's Schatzi On Main, just one of the many celebrity-owned restaurants around the city.
La Cienega & Beverly Hills
When dining in this celebrity "hot zone," be sure to bring your high-limit credit cards and your best evening attire. Some great options include Chaya Brasserie for a legendary mix of Californian, French and Italian, and of course, the world-famous Spago Beverly Hills headed by Wolfgang Puck. La Cienega Boulevard offers L.A.'s famed "Restaurant Row," which features The Stinking Rose for all your garlic desires, The Taj for famed Indian cuisine, and many other local favourites.
A small step away from the big money of Beverly Hills, these hot spots offer a warmer and hipper version of the same scene. Musso and Frank's Grill offers American cuisine with an old Hollywood style. Joachim Splichal serves the highest of haute cuisine at Patina, and West Hollywood's Asia de Cuba features Asian-Cuban fusion in a dining room decorated all in white. Also in West Hollywood is perhaps the one of the finest Moroccan restaurants in all of Los Angeles, Dar Maghreb, which is more than just dining - it's an unforgettable experience. Finally, for lowbrow gastronomic pleasure that should not be missed, wait in line for the oldest Hollywood tradition, a Chili Cheese Dog from Pink's.
After a prolonged period of economic hardship, downtown L.A. went in for cosmetic surgery, replacing the old shabby buildings with new business and recreation centres. One of the establishments that helped the downtown comeback is R-23, which quickly gained a reputation for serving unbelievable sushi. Another downtown hot spot is the Water Grill, which offers upscale seafood for the international dining set. For beautiful views of the L.A. skyline, dine at Windows Steaks & Martinis located at the top of the Transamerica Building. For a more casual but earth shaking good time, check out Epicentre, which is designed to look like a cafe, post-earthquake.