Who do we really trust when thinking where to eat? Celebrities, bold faced names, people with more money than good sense, of course. With that in mind, here’s a LA restaurant listicle, with tips on where eat and gawk at the same time!
1. Ryan Gosling, Jitlada (Hollywood)
Catch Toronto’s hottest export (and he cares about important things, too) at Thai Town cult favorite Jitlada. It’s not new or fabulous, at all. No reservations needed. Frankly it’s a bit of a dump…and in an underwhelming mini-mall (like so many of the truly awesome restaurants in LA) — but it’s delicious. And if you’re not Thai and you ask for spicy, be prepared for a serious sweat lodge feeling. As for Gosling spottings, he’s not there all the time, but he’s been there more than a few times. Once with his mother. I know, makes him even a bit sexier and maybe a touch gay.
Best dish: Crying Tiger Beef and the Crispy Papaya Salad
2. Neil Patrick Harris & David Burtka, Tasting Kitchen (Venice)
Pretty much every celebrity living on the Westside of LA frequents this long standing favorite helmed by chef Casey Lane. The food is a mix of French, Californian, Italian with a soupcon of Sushi. GQ’s Alan Richman called it one of the best restaurants of 2011. Look at Richman go oooon:
The food: creamy, complex, and compelling. The wines: exquisitely matched. That waiter: suddenly transformed into a mastermind, particularly with whites. You might not have had a Listán Blanco from the Canary Islands. (Before this meal, neither had I.) Lane sent out mussels with fennel pollen in broth as rich as cream soup, tagliatelle with plum-marinated pork, butter-and-vermouth-braised halibut with chanterelles. The only break from richness was two different salads, the lettuces piled high, accented with beautifully biting vinaigrettes. The desserts, decadence from three countries: English trifle, Italian brown-sugar budino, French plum galette. This meal at the Tasting Kitchen was a tour de force. It’s too decadent for the Beverly Hills crowd but ideal for Venice, where anything amazing is allowed.
In case you’re wondering, the best table is #64 in the corner upstairs. From there you can see all the action in the A-list dining room AND — more importantly, perhaps — be seen.
Best Dish: Boeuf Bourguignon
3. Brad Pitt, Eddie Murphy and the Beckhams at Mastro’s Steakhouse(Beverly Hills)
Not for the Vegans out there, this is an old skool steakhouse that’s a favorite watering hole for MANY folks you’ll probably recognize (or kinda recognize…some of them have had a lot of work done). Two things though: It’s not cheap (average check is $135), and unless you’re mad for steak, you won’t like the food. It’s very good, just… you know… extremely steakhouse-ish. Book a table in the Beverly Hills Penthouse for the best sightings, along with the open air feel & view.
Best Dish: Porterhouse steak
4. Francis Ford Coppola, Jessica Alba, Elijah Wood, Anthony Bourdain and Food Critic Superstar (Pulitzer winner) Jonathan Gold all at Kris Yenbamroong’s Night + Market (West Hollywood)
This hot sh*t chef’s Thai Market-themed restaurant has been the darling of the foodies of LA for some time now, so much so that it now enjoys plenty of repeat visits from all sorts of celebrities. Not that Kris really notices — except if you’re in a band he likes, Jessica Alba or Richard Simmons. Last year he was shortlisted for a James Beard Award, and this year things have continued to go so well for the Sunset Blvd chef, he now plans to open a second restaurant called Song in Silver Lake very soon.
Best Dishes: Grilled fatty pork collar (“pork toro”), fermented sausages with chile-spiked relishes, khao soi and catfish “tamale” (catfish and pork fat baked in banana leaf)
5. Ginnifer Goodwin and Ellen DeGeneres & Portia de Rossi at Tal Ronnen’s Crossroads (West Hollywood)
There are probably more vegans in LA than anywhere else (or does it just feel that way), so you’d think there would be a ton of high-end restaurants for the loaded ones to frequent. Not the case! Which is why this new one from the chef who catered Ellen & Portia’s wedding is making quite a splash among the SHINY RICH VEGANS. They glow, right? That’s what I’ve been led to believe.
Best Dishes: Artichoke “oysters” with artichoke purée, and herb risotto-stuffed banana peppers with basil lime beurre blanc
Related: Gay to the Max’s West Hollywood, the NewNowNext Nine Point Guide