For nearly two decades, Amy Sweeney held court as chef and owner at Ammo, a pioneering farm-to-table restaurant in Hollywood that fed everyone from studio execs to aspiring actors.
The neighborhood bistro closed down last year — the space is now home to the new Salt's Cure. But Sweeney has brought the Ammo concept back to its roots with a new take-away operation on Melrose called Ammo to Go. On the menu, developed with former Union chef Mike Garber, you'll find seasonal breakfast and lunch options like avocado toast with dandelion greens, brown rice bowls with chicken sausage, grilled steak salads with snap peas and a prosciutto sandwich with shaved fennel on sourdough. All the dishes are designed to be quick-service and take-out friendly.
A longtime icon in the L.A. restaurant scene, Sweeney has seen her share of changes. We asked her about some of her favorite landmark restaurants, the kind that don't always get the media hype they deserve. Here's what she had to say:
"There are a few, under-the-radar dining rooms in Los Angeles that remain packed most every night and that have thrived through hundreds of big media-driven openings and food trends. Most of these have become iconic not because they simply survived but because they perfected the basics of hospitality: warm, caring service and consistent, delicious food. They also happen to be many of my favorites that I enjoy with my family on a regular basis."
"I’ve been a regular guest at Toscana since they opened over 25 years ago. Our family receives such a warm welcome every single time we arrive. Two of our regular waiters have worked in this dining room from the very beginning: Mark and Alberto. There are not many places like this in Los Angeles, a great neighborhood restaurant that almost becomes extended family." 11633 San Vicente Blvd. #100, Brentwood;(310) 820-2448, toscanabrentwood.com.
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Ivy at the Shore
"I’ve also been going to the Ivy at the Shore for well over 25 years. It’s so cheerful and bright, and I just love to enjoy the day by the ocean. It reminds us just how how beautiful our city really is. They also offer excellent cocktails, and the fried chicken is perfection." 535 Ocean Ave., Santa Monica; (310) 393-3113, theivyrestaurants.com/ivy-at-the-shore.
The Bar at Hotel Bel-Air
"Having a burger and a drink in the bar is one of my favorite [ways] to relax in all of Los Angeles. It took me a little while to get used to the remodeled space, but now I just love it." 701 Stone Canyon Road, Bel-Air; (310) 472-1211, dorchestercollection.com/en/los-angeles/hotel-bel-air.
Reddi Chick at the Brentwood County Mart
"My son Alexander and I love to splurge on the chicken and french fries here. I don’t get to do so very often, but it is indescribably delicious." 225 26th St. #23, Brentwood; (310) 393 5238, brentwoodcountrymart.com.
"There is no better treat than the tiny tuna cones from Spago. My husband and I have always gone to Spago for the special occasions in our lives. They also have one of the foremost wine lists in the country, which we enjoy exploring." 176 N. Canon Drive, Beverly Hills; (310) 385-0880, wolfgangpuck.com/restaurants/fine-dining/3635.
"This is truly an iconic Los Angeles neighborhood restaurant. I tend to sneak in for lunch; in fact, I enjoyed the best branzino there just this week." 7313 Beverly Blvd., West Hollywood; (323) 297-0070, angeliniosteria.com.