Awards season is shaping up to be a welcomed year of glam with new and familiar names gracing ballots across Hollywood and a welcome nod to multigenerational talents. In a clip that has circulated on Twitter from last week’s Oscar luncheon, Steven Spielberg, nominated for his semi-autobiographical film The Fabelmans, was overheard praising Tom Cruise’s blockbuster Top Gun: Maverick telling him: “You saved Hollywood’s ass.”
It’s a season of stargazing, celebrations and being seen for A-listers and civilians alike. Here are our top 10 picks for the Best of Hollywood Eats.
Steak 48: The Mastro brothers Jeffrey and Michael have done it again with what is a personal best in the heart of Beverly Hills. This elegant steakhouse with hidden private dining nooks, as well as stunning restaurant and bar, features an in-house butcher shop and a custom raw bar on full display through the glass-enclosed open kitchen.
There are 28-day wet-aged steaks custom cut by Steak 48’s three in-house butchers, as well as colossal shrimp, Alaskan king crab, Maine lobster, and freshly shucked oysters. The 3,000 bottle wine vault is a stunning backdrop to discreet enclosed booths, with an old-school Beverly Hills feel, perfect for any A-lister to fly under the radar.
In addition to prime steaks and chops, other menu standouts include Chef Eddie’s Potatoes, which is like a potato lasagne with caramelized onions, and the crispy shrimp in Thai chili sauce. The wagyu beef tartare with deviled egg mousse is excellent.
Fanny’s at The Academy Museum of Motion Pictures: The museum is full of buzz and events this time of year as celebrities and museum visitors merge. At the heart of it all is Fanny’s, named after legendary entertainer Fanny Bryce. Every year there’s an Oscar-themed lineup of cocktails. Conceived by bar program director Marisa Mercado, these drinks will be available till the end of March:
All Quiet On The Western Front – Blanco tequila, Cointreau, cardamon, coffee foam
Avatar: The Way of The Water – Gin Sochu, ginger, sesame, lLime
Elvis – Peanut bourbon, banana oleo, Montenegro
Everything Everywhere All At Once – Gin, campari, Acqua di Cedro, Grand Marnier, lemon oil
Tár – Vodka, Pastis, cucumber, celery, black pepper, garlic, extra virgin olive oil
The Banshees of Inisherin – Irish Whiskey, mango brandy, grapefruit IPA
The Fabelmans – Simms, strawberry, orange, ginger, Fernet
Top Gun: Maverick – Aged rum, maple verjus, lime, bitters
Triangle of Sadness – Rum blend, pineapple, coconut, cinnamon, Campfire
Women Talking – Mezcal, byrrh, vermouth, lemon, egg white
The Academy Team is hosting Oscar Night at the Museum on Sunday, March 12 that will stream this year’s Academy Awards for the second year in a row. The event will feature Wolfgang Puck Catering throughout the entire event, in addition to Shake Shack who will spotlight its new White Truffle Menu at the after party.
Olivetta: Arguably the most beautiful dining room in Los Angeles, don’t be surprised if you look over at the next booth to find canoodling couple Ben Affleck and wife Jennifer Lopez. Marissa and Matt Hermer’s sumptuous 150-seat bungalow in West Hollywood featuring Mediterranean fare is an A-List draw. There’s plenty of pasta to break the fast, like radiatori with all day lamb bolognese or rigatoni with arugula cashew pesto, perfectly paired with a shaved fennel salad with lemon and parmesan. The caviar chips and dip with a glass of champagne are an award-winning splurge.
Best Brunch: Ardor at The West Hollywood Edition: Plenty of star sightings are to be had at Michelin-Starred Chef John Fraser’s laid-back vegetable-forward, hyper-local focused Ardor. The generous prix fixe $85 menu includes the selection of a house-made pastry basket, signature milk bread, carrot gravlax tartine, vegetables with bean dips, seafood platter and crispy shortbread croquettes for the table. Main course choices include a waffle board, salmon benedict, a mind-blowing waffle fried chicken breast on the bone, omelets and steak frites.
What really sends this brunch over the top is the custom dessert buffet that includes 15 different items and varieties including chocolate cherry mousse cake, white and dark chocolate lollipops, raspberry ganache and vanilla macarons, cheesecake with blueberries, vanilla crème brulee, popcorn mousse, raspberry and mango tarts, and vanilla-strawberry shooters.
“As a California native, my appreciation for a plant-forward diet stands at the forefront of Ardor’s menu,” Fraser tells L.A. Weekly. “With Southern California’s favorable climate and abundance of farmer’s markets, we have access to a plethora of fresh produce. We take advantage of these top-notch ingredients to create elevated versions of classic dishes, such as our Raw Cauliflower Cacio E Pepe and Carrot “Gravlax” Tartine.”
If brunch is a little too early for you, Sunset at Edition is the hotel’s super hip dance and nightclub with a bar program that will leave you starstruck.
Casa Madera at The Mondrian: One of the newest additions to the Sunset Strip, the Mayan Riviera-inspired Casa Madera is a multi-sensory spiritual experience, where Hollywood goes to get its chakras in order. Hints of incense float through the 8,000-square-foot indoor/outdoor oasis, as dancers sashay through the dining area at the subtle drumbeats of strolling musicians.
The ultimate in dining under the stars, Casa Madera’s large centralized bar separates al fresco tables and booths from two indoor dining rooms and a private dining room. Converting from day to night, outdoor spaces are entirely covered by a retractable awning for year-round dining.
The dramatic cocktail program is aligned with the earth’s four elements: earth, fire, air and water, like a flaming solstice made with el tsoro blanco, passion fruit, tri-pepper juice, lemon and Mandarine Napoleon cognac. There’s an extensive raw bar menu that includes a refreshing ceviche blanco artfully composed with white fish, red onion, habanero, lime and citrus supremes which can also be ordered in a vegan version.
Other highlights of the immersive dining experience include surf-and-turf options like striped bass and pollo asado.
Mezzanine Sushi: Hidden upstairs at Palihouse West Hollywood, Mezzanine Sushi is an intimate and comfy sushi bar that offers one of L.A.’s best sake selections, Japanese finger foods and exquisite pressed sushi. A cozy and dimly lit hideaway, selections range from bacon-wrapped shimeji mushrooms or asparagus and a seafood pancake to plenty of rolls and nigiri and udon with clams and garlic and a chicken katsu sandwich. The downstairs bar and lobby lounge are charming and inviting, a comfortable spot for breakfast, happy hour or a night cap.
Grandmaster Recorders: David Combes and Grant Smillie’s three-year journey of transforming the historic Grandmaster Recorders studio in Hollywood’s vinyl district has resulted in one of tinseltown’s celebrity hotspots. The Aussie team behind E.P. & L.P. and the Strings of Life cafe, alongside head chef Blake Shailes have turned the famous recording studio into a rock ‘n’ roll-inspired 15,000-square-foot multi-level venue in the heart of Hollywood.
On the ground level, in what used to be the studio where Gwen Stefani recorded The Sweet Escape and Weezer put the final touches on Make Believe, Studio 71 is a cocktail bar, lounge and live music venue. A massive functioning disco ball, salvaged from Dancing With The Stars, looms above. The rooftop bar offers vistas of Hollywood and its iconic sign, which turns 100 this year.
Italian and California influences with a touch of Aussie flair co-mingle on the menu. For starters, the insalata di pesce is a stunning mosaic of Baja tuna, pickled persimmons, radish, caviar and crunchy schmalz sourdough croutons. The burrata with truffle and burnt honey is highlighted by a version of the glorious S.O.L. crunchy chili sauce. For a winning score, top the evening off with a nod to the studio and crack open the Weiss Ebene chocolate tiramisu single.
The Nice Guy: The intimate, reservations-only restaurant and lounge drips of old Hollywood mafiosi charm. Somewhere between a restaurant and private club you’d find in GoodFellas, The Nice Guy is as famous for its celebrity sightings as its Molinari meatballs in a spicy tomato sauce. Other highlights include Lew’s chicken piccata, chicken and eggplant parm.
Honorable Mention – Mother Wolf: Evan Funke’s latest restaurant in the stunningly redesigned Citizen News Building is the hottest ticket in town. If you want to rub elbows with the Obamas and pretty much every A-lister in Hollywood over exalted Roman pizzas and pastas, this is the place. Reservations are nearly impossible to wrangle, but worth it if you can wait a few months to get a table before 9:30 p.m. However, a current battle over the restaurant may even put those reservations in jeopardy.
For Fabelman Fans: If you haven’t seen the film yet or want to re-enjoy it in the theater, take in a fun afternoon devoted to The Fabelmans, Steven Spielberg’s auto-biographical film that has garnered seven Academy Award nominations including best picture. Catch an early showing at the AMC Century City (or stream at home) and have a brunch of potato latke and eggs or an early edamame falafel burger dinner at Leah Adler’s Milky Way in nearby Pico-Robertson.
Portrayed by Michelle Williams in the film as Spielberg’s mother, Adler’s paintings grace the walls, her own classical piano music that was taped years ago plays throughout the restaurant, and original Spielberg family films of camping trips reflected in the film and cooking in the kitchen are displayed in LeeLee’s corner of the kosher restaurant. You’ll leave feeling like a real mensch.
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