I get asked constantly for restaurant recommendations, and I feel like after ten years living here now (YES, TEN!), I’m finally qualified to have a list of my “go-tos,” you know? This list is in no particular order, ranges in cuisine, location, and pricing, but I promise you will never be disappointed with any spot on this list!
Wolfgang Puck at Hotel Bel Air
Every year my friends and I have Sunday brunch at Hotel Bel Air and, let me tell you, it is a TIME. Wolfgang Puck actually has a really good brunch special on Sunday, and once we add in about five bottles of rose, things get a little wild (in the best way possible). We end up hanging out there for hours; I also highly recommend the inside bar (photo above with me and Cher!) for a nightcap and some popcorn (they give you popcorn once you sit down). Oh, and definitely get the Nancy Reagan salad!
Photo via @HotelBelAir
I just tried this new-ish restaurant for the first time a few weekends ago and it’s definitely a new fave. It’s nestled right in “restaurant row” (a.k.a La Cienega Blvd. in West Hollywood) and the spot itself is super cute and v. Insta-worthy. I highly recommend the shishito peppers with squid ink (pictured above), the fried chicken and the corn!
Photo via @PacifiqueLA
Kassi Club is another new-ish find. I chose it because I wanted a restaurant that would have really healthy options and Mediterranean food is great for that; so many vegetable and lean protein options! I loved the zucchini fries (shown above), the goddess salad and the snap peas. We also ordered the salt-baked branzino as our main (to split) and, to be honest, it was just ok and pretty pricey. It’s a restaurant favorite though so I’m glad I tried it; next time I would go with the salt and pepper calamari or tuna crudo.
Photo via @EverydayPursuits
Jon and Vinny’s
If you ask anyone in LA where to find excellent (sort of New York style) Italian food, this is it. I never order the pizza, that’s for non-New Yorker rookies (though anyone not from New York LOVES their pizza…I’m just a big-time pizza snob). Go for the pasta and the chicken parm, trust me. I personally love the local burrata salad, the gem lettuce salad (my friend Jen got me hooked – trust me and order this), the cacio e pepe bucatini, the spicy fusilli (pictured above), the chicken cutlet and, of course, the chicken parm. Must go.
Photo via @JonandVinnyDelivery
Katsu-ya gets a weird stigma due to its Hollywood (and mostly tourist) location. That said, their restaurant in Studio City (yep, the valley) is IT. I always die for their crispy rice spicy tuna rolls (pictured above). In fact, I really only like this roll from Katsu-ya and Koi and rarely order it anywhere else. I also love the baked crab hand roll, yellowtail sashimi with jalapeno, and the corn crunch specialty roll but, honestly, anything you get here will be good.
Photo via @KatsuyaSBE
“The cave” (because it’s so dark inside), as my friend Ashley and I call it, was the first restaurant I ever went to in LA. I’ll be honest and let you know I found out about it via Spencer Pratt on an episode of The Hills. NO shame about it, btw. To this day Don Antonio’s is my favorite Mexican food. Prices are good, the margaritas are strong, and the location is just hole-in-the-wall enough to keep away the tourists (unless they watched The Hills in 2008, apparently). My dad LOVED this place too; he always requested a meal here whenever he came to visit me.
Photos via @DonAntoniosLA
For a mix of Italian, vegan and American food, Craig’s is where you want to go. I love their vegan spin on classic Italian dishes and you are almost guaranteed to see someone famous any time you go here. I’m also really kind of obsessed with the bar crowd; it’s this old Hollywood, kind of locals-only (yet with a few tourists mixed in, trying to spot a Real Housewife). It’s a vibe and I like it. I highly recommend the chicken parm (above), grilled artichoke, the burrata, spaghetti squash primavera, the honey truffle chicken (!) and, of course, the sesame-crusted salmon. SO GOOD GUYS. They also have delicious homemade vegan ice cream (though I usually can’t even keep my pants buttoned by dessert).
Photo via @CraigsLA
Son Of A Gun
Son Of A Gun is a spot I discovered when I first moved to LA (god, 10 years ago) and it’s still a favorite. It’s very seafood heavy so if seafood isn’t you thing, this isn’t the spot for you. Definitely get the lobster roll (above), the shrimp toast, the crispy brussels, the fried chicken sandwich and then a few of their seasonal specials.
Photo via @SonOfAGunRestaurant
Zinque in West Hollywood is my go-to spot for a friend meet up or a quick meeting. It’s an order-at-the-counter spot (for lunch) and they don’t mind if you sit for awhile and do work, etc. My friend Roxy introduced me to the Le Bowl (you customize it) and it’s now so much a favorite that I sometimes even Postmate it, haha. My favorite combo: grilled chicken and cauliflower rice instead of brown rice. They also have bomb french fries and a great wine assortment, too!
UPDATE (11.29.20): It saddens me to have to do this, but I recently had the most HORRIBLE interaction with Zinque’s CEO, Emmanuel Dossetti. It’s a super long story that started with me offering about two sentences of constructive feedack on an inappropriate email he sent out, and ended in him demanding I send him money and him harassing me to the point that I had to block his email address AND block Zinque’s Instagram account (he signed on there to continue harassing me after I blocked him). Unfortunately, I can no longer recommend Zinque as one of my favorite restaurants. It’s crazy to me how any “CEO” could be so unprofessional and I hope Emmanuel gets the mental help he needs (my followers even offered to chip in for a therapy session but he called the offer “childish,” which is just SO beyond sad and pathetic.
Photo via @itsJamieStone
Viale Dei Romani
This is another favorite spot. First off, Viale Dei Romani not only has an amazing (and chic) restaurant, but they also have a super cute poolside bar and cabana area that I legit can’t get enough of. They were nice enough to invite me and a few other beauty editors to hang by the pool in a cabana last year. We all walked away super impressed and full on delicious food, of course. They have a 100-layer lasagna, their signature dish, that I sadly can’t have (it has beef in it) but my friend Marie ordered it and basically said it was like an orgasm in her mouth. It takes THREE DAYS TO MAKE so please, if you eat red meat, please order this in my honor. Things I had/loved: the bucatini (but honestly any of the pasta there), the baby kale salad and the wood roasted chicken.
Photo via @itsJamieStone
Tell me some of your go-to restaurants in LA! I’m always looking for new spots!