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A Foodie’s Guide to Hollywood

There are seemingly hundreds of Hollywood restaurants. These are the best. From new hotspots like Gwen and Kali to longtime stalwarts like Jitlada and Musso and Frank’s to tourist destinations like Pink’s Hotdogs and Roscoe’s Chicken & Waffles, here’s a foodie’s take on where to eat in Hollywood.

Courtesy Kali.

Courtesy Birch Los Angeles.

Birch
1634 N Cahuenga Blvd., (323) 960-3369, birchlosangeles.com.
Birch is great for dinner any night of the week (Except Mondays, when it’s closed!) Chef  Brendan Collins are at their best during Happy Hour and on Sundays during their now-famous Sunday Roast. The rustic eatery’s Happy Hour prices are swoon-worthy. Get one (or two) of everything and share: mixed olives for $4, za’atar bread, Egyptian hummus for $7, chicken liver toast and pickles for $9, albacore poke and potato chips for $10, butter chicken crispy rice ball for $8, fish and chips for $10. A perfect pre-Pantages or pre-Arclight dinner for two! Plus house beers are $5 and glasses of wine are $6. Birch’s Sunday Roast is also the perfect alternative to our usual brunch routine. Options include  roast beef and yorkies, gravy, and horseradish cream for $27, roast half chicken, sage, and onion stuffing for $26, roast vegetables, onion compote, and horseradish cream for $18.

Blu Jam Cafe
7371 Melrose Ave., (323) 951-9191, blujamcafe.com.
Could this be Hollywood’s best brunch? Packed on Saturdays and Sundays, and for good reason, Blu Jam is not what you may think of when you think of brunch in La La Land. It’s hearty and delicious comfort food at an affordable price. Yet they will also make gluten free and vegan substitutions happily. Yes, at Blu Jam, substitutions are encouraged. Whatever you want, Blu Jam will do its best to accommodate you. As Blu Jam’s executive chef and owner Kamil Majer puts it, “We eat with our eyes first.” And it’s true. All of Blu Jam’s brunch dishes, but especially their eggs benedicts looks perfect. I’m partial to their refreshing smoked salmon platter and their large fruit bowl.

The Bowery
6268 Sunset Blvd., (323) 465-3400, theboweryhollywood.com.
All of us have our own favorite pre-Arclight place for a quick bite or drink to grab before a screening. Some will say Tender Greens, which is great, others might say Wood & Vine. I think it might be The Bowery, a small bar with an excellent kitchen. The Bowery offers a cozy and dark atmosphere plus serious cocktails. While their burger is self-proclaimed “still the best in L.A.” everyone I know who’s had it loves it. They also offer a Vegan Burger with farro, kale, black bean, and roasted beet patty. One of LA’s best veggie burgers. They also boast a classy yet affordable wine list. And you may as well get the shoe string fries for the table. Why not?

Courtesy Delancey.

Delancey Pizzeria and Bar
5936 Sunset Blvd., (323) 469-2100, delanceyhollywood.com.
From the same team who brought us The Bowery, Delancey is also a New York-style restaurant, this time specializing in pizza. The brick walls and dark cherry colored wood harken back to the old days of the classic pizzerias and Italian restaurants of New York. You can’t go wrong with any of their thin-slice pies, but my favorite is the STANTON: Mozzarella, Burrata, Olive Oil, Oregano & Olives for $17 combined with their amazing chopped salad. As a bonus, they have a well curated and lengthy on tap beer list, so this is the spot for the beer and pizza lovers in your life.

Courtesy Greenblatt’s Deli.

Greenblatt’s Deli
8017 Sunset Blvd. (323) 656-0606, greenblattsdeli.com.
You may have been going to Greenblatt’s Deli for years without ever knowing its signature Hollywood history. Greenblatt’s has always catered to the entertainment industry and been “The Place To Go” in Hollywood for Deli, Wines, and Spirits. Almost everybody who has been anybody in Hollywood over the last 80 Years has shopped at Greenblatt’s. Marilyn Monroe, Joe DiMaggio, Groucho Marx, Errol Flynn, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Janis Joplin, Bing Crosby, Peter Lawford, Boris Karloff, Bobby Darin, Rita Hayworth, Kirk Douglas, Bella Lugosi, Marlon Brando, Peter Lorre, Lenny Bruce, Shelly Winters, John Belushi, Danny Kaye & Billie Holiday were a few of the many regulars. Of course, get the corned beef and pastrami sandwich with Russian dressing. Is it better than Langer’s or Canter’s? Maybe! Plus, the attached wine shop is one of the best in town for a unique vintage red.

Gwen
6600 Sunset Blvd. (323) 946-7512, gwenla.com.
Gwen serves a five course meat-centric menu, seasonal craft cocktails, and, if you can snag a sought after table, excellent people watching. Named after their grandmother Gwen, Gwen will set you back a minimum $185 for two for a ten course meal. But recently Gwen announced they’d be changing up the concept just a bit: they will now offer a new $55 three-course meal for folks looking to dine at a healthier price point. I love their cocktail list, which features eight drinks and each is done to perfection. The Cup Styled – berries, pear brandy, vodka, lemon, & spiked wine – and the Negroni Reflection – cucumber genepi, genever & dry wine – were every bit as seasonal as the menu in the dining room. The menu changes frequently, but be sure that with chef Curtis Stone you will be in good hands.

Courtesy The Hungry Cat.

The Hungry Cat
1535 N Vine St., (323) 462-2155, thehungrycat.com.
The Hungry Cat has now been open since 2005! That makes it something of a Los Angeles institution at this point. If you’re like me and love seafood, The Hungry Cat is a a classy yet casual lunch and dinner destination. The Hungry Cat produces its own in-house smoked meats and seafood, curing and pickling, as well as featuring a unique farmers market driven cocktail program, esoteric wine list and rotating local beers. Plus that raw bar is often visually stunning! Start with the clam chowder, perhaps the best in the city this side of Fairfax. Follow that up with XO Mussells for the table. It’s braised mussels with XO sauce, jasmine rice, and charred bok choy. Next up, you’ll love the  Grilled Whole Striped Bass served with sunchoke puree, maitake mushroom, bitter greens, and salsa verde.

Courtesy Jitlada.

Jitlada
5233 W Sunset Blvd., (323) 667-9809, jitladala.com.
Jitlada may be Hollywood’s favorite thai restaurant. It’s technically more in Little Armenia/East Hollywood but I’m including it here because it’s that good. Jitlada is often on Jonathan Gold’s list of the best Los Angeles restaurants and for good reason. It’s authentic Southern-style Thai and fresh. Start with the spring rolls and follow that up with the delicious green curry with eggplant and a refreshing mango salad. If you and your group are feeling carnivorous, get the morning glory salad and the panang beef or the oxtail curry.

Courtesy Kali.

Kali
5722 Melrose Ave., (323) 871-4160, kalirestaurant.com.
Kali was perhaps the buzziest restaurant opening in LA last year. So for that reason alone it’s worth a try. One of the most charming aspects of Kali is that if you are seated at just the right table, you can see Chef Kevin Meehan in his kitchen in action. And Drew Langley, an expert sommelier, goes from table to table recommending wine pairings for each dish. Start with the asparagus tips with duck egg, tarragon, and cracklin. When mixed altogether along with the crispy duck skin it will be a really nice and refreshing start to your meal. The wheat berry “risotto” with black garlic and burnt cheese has been perhaps the most discussed dish from Chef Meehan. Love it or hate it, like the chicken liver crostone at Alimento in Silver Lake, it’s a dish you simply have to try at least once. The Cavatelli Pasta comes surrounded by a bed of crispy charred arugula. This was a really excellent touch because it made the cavatelli feel at once both decadent and light and airy.

Courtesy Musso and Frank.

Musso and Frank
6667 Hollywood Blvd. (323) 467-7788, mussoandfrank.com.
The legendary Musso and Frank is an old school Hollywood hotspot. It is, in fact, Hollywood’s oldest eatery. It’s popularity and reputation as a hangout for actors is probably due to its comfy red booths, the dim lighting, and, of course, the martinis. One too many and you may forget the food. I like going on Friday nights when you can order the Bouillabaisse Marseillaise with Shrimp, Lobster, Mussels, Clams and Cod for $36. It’s perfect for sharing.

Courtesy Odys + Penelope.

Odys + Penelope
127 S La Brea Ave. (323) 939-1033, odysandpenelope.com.
Odys + Penelope is a wonderful new restaurant from the husband and wife team behind The Sycamore Kitchen. At the heart of Odys + Penelope are its open grill, wood-fired smoker, and Brazilian churrasco. The sprawling and rustic space is perfect for both brunch and dinner. be sure to get The Farmer’s Dozen Salad, made with 12 seasonal raw and roasted veggies, herbs, pepita “butter” and lime vinaigrette plus a to die for Skillet Focaccia served with dandelion greens and parmesans. The Grilled Line Caught Swordfish with barely, mushrooms, cherry balsamic, and salsa verde is a delicious entree that will keep you coming back. Odys + Penelope also offers craft beer and wine and delectable handcrafted cocktails.

Courtesy of The Oinkster.

 

The Oinkster Hollywood
776 Vine St. (323) 536-9248, theoinkster.com.
In N Out has always been all the rage on the West coast, and deservedly so. Lately, many are flocking to the newly opened Shake Shack, but dare I say The Oinkster might offer the best fast casual dining experience of the three. And also there is plenty on the menu besides burgers, including wine and beer.

Courtesy Osteria Mozza.

Osteria Mozza
6602 Melrose Ave., (323) 297-0100, osteriamozza.com.
If you saw the recent Chef’s Table episode on Netflix featuring chef Nancy Silverton chances are you’ve probably already booked a table at Osteria Mozza. What more can I say that hasn’t already been said? You will love it. Go and go soon.

Courtesy Paley.

Paley
6115 Sunset Blvd. (323) 544-
9430, paleyhollywood.com.
Paley offers modern California cuisine focusing on local ingredients, a bar menu that includes craft cocktails, a happy hour with insane 50% discounts, and a glorious ’50s Hollywood heyday mid-century design concept. I love a long happy hour, and on that front Paley doesn’t fail to deliver. From 2:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the bar only, and includes 50% half-off drafts, wine, and craft cocktails, which usually run in the range of $12 – $14. Get the Martini Mussels, Okinawa Potato Ravioli, and the Sea Bass.

 

Courtesy Pink’s Hollywood.

Pink’s Hotdogs
709 N La Brea Ave. (323) 931-4223, pinkshollywood.com.
Let’s just say if you’re new to town, you have to brave the line and try Pink’s Hotdogs at least once. Maybe twice.

Courtesy Providence.

Providence
5955 Melrose Ave., Hollywood. (323) 460-4170, providencela.com.
Everybody raves about Providence. Chef Michael Cimarusti’s fine-dining destination delivers innovative seafood in a tranquil setting. The accolades for Providence include multiple James Beard Award nominations; “Top 50 Restaurants in the United States” by Gourmet magazine; “Best Seafood Restaurant” by Los Angeles magazine; the #1 ranking in “Jonathan Gold’s 101 Best Restaurants” in the Los Angeles Times; and two highly coveted Michelin stars. As you can expect, it is pricey but for seafood lovers you’ll never taste anything like it.

Courtesy Roscoe’s.

Roscoe’s Chicken and Waffles
1514 North Gower St.,(323) 466-7453, roscoeschickenandwaffles.com.
Roscoe’s is a late night favorite for many in Hollywood. It’s every bit as decadent as you’ve heard. But nowhere does chicken and waffles better than Roscoe’s.

Courtesy Salt’s Cure.

Salt’s Cure
1155 N. Highland Ave., Hollywood.  (323) 465-7258, saltscure.com.
You’ll love Salt’s Cure most at lunch. The sleek and modern spot serves inventive California-sourced dishes. Go with friends and sample all of their toasts. That will only set the table back about $25. Which, of course, will leave more room in your budget for cocktails! You’ll flip over the refreshing mimosa, with your choice of freshly squeezed orange or grapefruit. The wine spritzers are particularly enjoyable on a hot summer day. The white apricot, cucumber, and mint is a personal favorite.

 

Happy dining! Have I left out your favorite Hollywood restaurant? If so let me know! There’s still so many I’d love to try!


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