Practically synonymous with glitz and glamour, Hollywood is home to movie studios, stars and the iconic sign perched on Mount Lee. And with 52 MICHELIN-recommended restaurants in the neighborhood, there is no shortage of good cuisine to be had.
Whether you’re hankering for sushi omakase or comforting Italian fare, here’s where to get the very best in Tinseltown.
What Our Inspectors Say: “For over a decade, Providence has been at the forefront of LA’s fine-dining scene. Little has changed here, which is a beautiful thing. The dining room is as formal as the suited staff, who are well-orchestrated and on the cooler side of attentive. Even just watching each course as it leaves the kitchen, artistically presented on bespoke plates, is a pleasure to the senses. Each of the three tasting menus features the freshest and most sustainable seafood, often wild-caught from American waters. Chef Michael Cimarusti uses these ingredients deftly to craft his California cuisine inspired by the flavors and ideas of Asia and the Mediterranean. The sheer range of styles proves this kitchen’s talent and technical know-how, using classic methods to pair seafood with rich sauces. The uni egg served in its shell with warm yolk and champagne beurre-blanc is—unsurprisingly—a luxurious signature. Meals here usually begin on a high note with a diverse selection of canapés, including the nasturtium leaf taco filled with sushi rice, arare crackers and sea beans; or pickled sardine crostini topped with coriander blossom. Raspberry-rose semifreddo set atop lychee granité makes for a pristine palate-cleanser.”
What Our Inspectors Say: “Fun, creative and consistently delicious, there is no doubt as to why this bijou is always shining. It should come as no surprise though, as the “Three Guys” for which the restaurant is named are Chefs Ludo Lefebvre, Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo, all of whom are renowned for other hot spots like Petit Trois and Animal. In classic LA style, the cozy establishment is located in a modest space. But have faith in the fact that its contemporary décor combining cool stone with warm wood bears no resemblance to its former life as a pizza parlor. Service is knowledgeable, attentive and speedy with an audible ‘Bonjour!’ as guests enter the room. There is one nightly tasting menu that begins with canapés like savory madeleines or a radicchio spring roll set over black olive tapenade. The five larger dishes that follow may highlight an impeccably cooked lamb loin with yogurt and a dollop of mint pesto. Desserts are often reinterpreted French classics, as seen in the chestnut cream encased by shards of meringue, dusted with mushroom powder. This cuisine is ambitious and every dish might not achieve its lofty goal, but that does not diminish the fact that dining here is a special and singular experience.”
What Our Inspectors Say: “Blending seamlessly into its surrounds, this modest storefront forms the very essence of neighborhood dining. Make your way inside to discover Chef Kevin Meehan's kitchen, whose credentials and locavore spirit are just as formidable as its eclectic wines and craft beers. The main room sports a restful, Scandinavian look that mixes caramel tones and leather banquettes with wood tables. Service has a fine-dining feel; and the mission of this kitchen is clear—wholly organic and sustainable cuisine. A meat refrigerator displaying dry-aged ducks, steaks and even a whole pig’s head is a natural conversation-starter and keeps all eyes on the food, which in turn lives up to its promise. Imagine a distinct spin on local flavors and of-the-moment techniques, like fermentation, preservation and deep charring to get a sense of what this place is about. Creativity also dominates each course, as seen in the barley risotto. Everything paired with the hanger steak, like buttermilk-garlic jus and porcini mushrooms with roasted potatoes, tastes like its perfect complement. When considering its ingredient quality and chef's ability, it is quite apparent that a meal at Kali offers diners a stellar deal.”
What Our Inspectors Say: “A mega hit since opening over a decade ago, this Hollywood darling—sitting on a prominent corner of Melrose Avenue—continues to please with creative cocktails and delicious Italian cuisine. Its entrance is clearly marked outside the massive one-story building, though it is also home to Pizzeria Mozza, as well as a to-go option. The décor veers from typical osteria-style, thanks to handsome dark-wood paneling and a beautiful white marble counter. The front room is lively with music, while the back is quieter. A seat at the Mozza bar lets guests have a prime view of the antipasti being prepared. This kitchen strives to show you around the corners of Italian cooking, so dive right in with the calf’s brain ravioli with burro e limone. Bread is something of an obsession here—don’t be shocked to see hungry diners tucking a slice of multigrain or two into their purses.The crispy chicken leg is pure and simple comfort food; and pastas are unsurprisingly phenomenal—try the orecchiette with sausage and Swiss chard. Other high points include the mozzarella menu, which should be explored with gusto, as should the very smart wine list. Waits-for tables and again between courses-are to be expected.”
What Our Inspectors Say: “Sushi aficionados may have to look a little harder to discover this jewel box, hidden among a host of high-end boutiques. Sushi Ginza Onodera may have outposts around the world, but its fame has not diluted the exemplary quality of this cuisine. That said, it comes with a hefty price tag, though their strictly enforced no-tipping policy certainly helps. Notable attention is also given to the light-filled space, resplendent with Japanese elegance; and the knowledgeable staff is just as pleasing and impressive as the meal itself. Fish of this caliber is not easy to find and the kitchen gives each morsel the painstaking care it deserves. Surprises and delights abound in the delirious array of courses, starting with an earthenware cup of chawanmushi topped with Italian caviar and a petal of uni. Some might feel guilty devouring squid in a matter of seconds after watching the exacting chefs take ten minutes to prepare it, but the experience is utterly memorable. The nigiri are a clear highlight here, revealing tiger shrimp with miso, sea perch seared for a hint of smoke as well as a duo of anago with shanso and yuzu zest. The signature matcha- and coconut-panna cotta is a delectable finale.”
Hero image courtesy of Providence/Facebook.