Headed to the City of Angels? You’d be a fool not to enjoy some classic Hollywood make-believe. To start, why not rent a car in LA, and make the most of the city’s famous valet services as you hand off the keys to your convertible to your friendly local resting actor? Then take your pick from these iconic Los Angeles foodie experiences.
Steak at Musso’s
The Musso & Frank Grill – aka Musso’s – is Hollywood’s oldest restaurant. Established in 1919, at the height of the silent movie era, it’s an LA icon: some of its original patrons rode in on horseback. Bogart, Chaplin, Mary Pickford, Johnny Depp and more have graced the red leather booths, which are pretty much unchanged in the last century. The food is defiantly unreconstructed – enormous portions from an era long before paleo. Steaks and Martinis are the way to go here – although two will floor you.
6667 Hollywood Boulevard, Hollywood, CA 90028
Dinner at Spago
When it opened on the Sunset Strip in 1982, this place made Wolfgang Puck’s name, spawned a global empire, birthed the notion of California cuisine and scored two Michelin stars during the guide’s brief residence in LA. Over thirty years on, the second incarnation of the original, in Beverly Hills, is still going strong. Go for dinner, and opt for a tasting menu in the slick modern dining room: at $95 for six courses, it’s excellent value.
176 North Canon Drive Beverly Hills, CA 90210
Sushi at Matsuhisa
Nobu Matsuhisa, like Wolfgang Puck, is a global superstar now. But when he opened his first place in 1987, he was just a Japanese chef with an enthusiasm for Peru – and still grieving the loss of his Alaska restaurant, which burned down the year before. His contemporary sushi and fresh take on Japanese cuisine set Hollywood on fire – at one stage, the 38-seater space was so solidly booked that Tom Cruise couldn’t get a table.
129 N La Cienega Blvd Beverly Hills, CA 90211
Tea at the Polo Lounge
Another icon of Old Hollywood, the Beverly Hills Hotel dates all the way back to 1912, and became a mecca for stars during the 1930s, when folk like Dorothy Parker stayed at the Garden of Allah, and icons dodged Prohibition. Spectacularly chintzy, it’s overcome a boycott against its new owner – the homophobic Sultan of Brunei – to remain a mecca for power players, and the Polo Lounge, established in 1941, is the place to go. Lunch and cocktails are both good here, but afternoon tea is both delectable and suitably retro.
The Beverly Hills Hotel, 9641 Sunset Boulevard, Beverly Hills, CA 90210
Cocktails at Tiki-Ti
The Tiki (cod-Polynesian) style of drinks and décor is a California original, invented by Don the Beachcomber and Trader Vic during the 1930s. Trader Vic Beverly Hills is no more, but the Tiki-Ti, established in 1961 by Beachcomber veteran Ray Buhen, is still family owned, and remains an absolute classic of the genre. Opt for an in-house creation like the Pain Killer or Tiki classics such as the Zombie: handle with extreme caution.
4427 Sunset Boulevard, Hollywood, CA 90027