(Beverly Hills, Melrose Place and Hollywood, croftalley.com)
What started as a tiny cafe on a Melrose Place alley has grown into a small empire. Due to the prime location and standouts like coconut risotto and a to-die-for tuna melt, the new Beverly Hills outpost of this ingredient-led breakfast and lunch spot is always packed. insider’s tip No matter how full you may be post-meal, order the melt-in-your-mouth chocolate cookies for the road.
The Santa Barbara spot prawns with spring vegetables at Providence
(Hancock Park, providencela.com)
This two-Michelin-starred fine dining spot run by Michael Cimarusti—recently crowned Best Chef: West by the James Beard Foundation— seamlessly incorporates sustainability into its daily-changing menus. insider’s tip An upscale lunch menu, with signatures such as the wild king salmon, A5 wagyu and salt-roasted Santa Barbara spot prawns, is available on Fridays.
The indoor-outdoor dining space at Auburn
(Hancock Park, auburnla.com)
Eric Bost’s inventive tasting menu is what you make of it—literally. Guests are given the freedom to opt for four, six or nine courses and also choose the individual dishes, all made from market-driven ingredients constructed in visually stunning compositions. insider’s tip The bespoke furniture pieces—made for the minimalist restaurant by Maša and Jon Kleinhample of Klein Agency—are now available for sale as part of the latest collection of Klein Home.
Consisting of a world-class butcher shop and a full-service restaurant, Curtis and Luke Stone’s carnivore temple highlights fire-based cooking techniques that bring out the flavor of dishes like Creekstone hangar steak and a half roast chicken with chile rojo. insider’s tip A new seated lunch experience debuted this fall, with seasonally inspired plates such as burrata toast with grapes, walnuts and nasturtium. As well, there’s a beautiful private dining room upstairs that seats up to 30 guests.
Newly bestowed with two Michelin stars, chef-owners Niki Nakayama and Carole Iida-Nakayama continue to serve up their modern interpretation of Japanese kaiseki—a traditional multicourse dining experience—using ingredients at peak freshness. The menu changes daily, and a curated nonalcoholic cocktail pairing was recently introduced. insider’s tip Don’t rush out when you’re finished eating: The chefs greet every diner at meal’s end to offer their gratitude.
(Culver City, dearjohnsbar.com)
Take a step back in time at this L.A. classic, which originally opened in 1962. Famously financed by Frank Sinatra for his friend, actor Johnny Harlowe, the lively spot was recently brought back to life by Hans and Patti Röckenwagner and Josiah Citrin. All menu items are hits, especially classic American fare such as the shrimp cocktail, table-side Caesar and ribeye steak. insider’s tip Ask for the off-menu Sinatra Select Jack Daniel’s whiskey served Frank’s way: three ice cubes, two fingers of whiskey and one splash of water.
Plant Food & Wine
Sit on the magical back patio at this Abbot Kinney vegan paradise for flavor-packed—and nutritious—plant-based food that’s presented in an elegant and artful manner. insider’s tip The kimchi dumplings and coconut cream pie are must-order items.
The Macallan whiskey flight at £10
(Beverly Hills, montagehotels.com)
Cloaked in dark wood and fine art, the discreetly tucked-away bar at the Montage Beverly Hills is the only official U.S. outpost of The Macallan, the globally celebrated distiller based in Speyside, Scotland. Rare pours—some aged as long as 72 years—and handcrafted cocktails by lead bartender Cash Black are served in Lalique crystal glassware, and guests can order whatever food they’d like. insider’s tip The bar is reservation-only. The quickest way to score a spot is via text message, at 310.860.5808.
Photography by: whiskey flight photo courtesy of Montage Beverly Hills; Providence photo by Jakob layman; Auburn photo by Nicole Franzen