Favorite Restaurants Reviews
Update: The Palm in West Hollywood is closing its doors on September 30 2014! In a city where restaurants vie for celebrity patronage and flashy presentations sometimes precede flavor, The Palm Steakhouse in West Hollywood remains the unpretentious favorite of locals and celebrities alike. Since its opening in 1975, The Palm has been garnering a crowd of devoted followers with its simple, stunning presentations of high quality meat, seafood, and favorite Italian classics, like Veal Scallopine and Linguini with Clam Sauce. Its lively atmosphere, generous portions, and highly attentive service make The Palm an ideal destination for a special occasion dinner, even as the relaxed bar scene invites old friends to re-connect over a great glass of wine.
La Bohème rhapsodizes with a quintuplet of dazzling crystal chandeliers looming majestically overhead in a large, yet intimate two-tiered dining space. The semi-private booths downstairs and the rock star booths upstairs, along with the opulent ruby-red décor glimmering softly under the glow of two huge open fireplaces make this seductive bistro one of the a romantic destinations in L.A. Guests are also welcome to dine on the Garden Patio, Café La Boheme’s own al fresco paradise, where they can bask in the warmth of a beautiful fireplace framed by roses and greenery. For more casual diners, the bar lounge offers a separate menu of tasty treats like the crispy fried calamari with Serrano aioli. This longtime retreat from the bustle of Santa Monica Boulevard boasts moderate prices and a globe-trotting menu that sweeps culinary terrain from comfort food to exquisitely sophisticated dishes. Executive Chef Christine Banta enhances her Californian Mediterranean cuisine with European and Asian flare, creating favorites like savory Japanese Pumpkin Ravioli and Ahi Tataki, while specialties like the Red Caviar Spaghetti, the Lobster Saffron Risotto, and the Berkshire Pork Chop offer a fine balance of familiarity in flavor and innovation in vision. Come to Café La Boheme, where patrons will receive a warm welcome, excellent service, and unrivaled cuisine. Be prepared to stimulate all of your senses at this prime establishment.
Rogelio and Janet Huidobro opened the first Café Sevilla in 1987, honoring their homeland with a Spanish restaurant in San Diego’s Gaslamp Quarter. After finding additional success in Riverside, they launched in downtown Long Beach in 2006. Mid week, the old-world setting draws business types. Weekends attract a younger crowd for upstairs dancing and dinner shows. Café Sevilla specializes in pans of paella and traditional Spanish tapas. The reasonably priced wine list is especially strong on full-bodied Spanish reds like Tempranillo and Torre Oria.
The Downtown Los Angeles location of the esteemed Palm empire of restaurants offers fine steaks, seafood, and Italian specialties in a posh setting. Located at 1100 Flower Street in an enormous space, formerly a Packard car dealership, the Palm Downtown is the largest in the country. Since 2002 The Palm Downtown has managed to execute the same stellar food that original owners Pio Bozzi and John Ganzi started serving three generations ago in New York City. Today, The Palm Restaurants are still a family business run by the original owners’ great-great-grandsons.
In May of 1999, Bill Chait, Danilo Terribili and chef Jeff Sladicka partnered to open this Studio City restaurant specializing in mesquite-grilled meat and seafood. The second floor hosts a sleek black lounge and a dining room framed by wine racks, but the real action is downstairs, in a boisterous dining room with views of the exhibition kitchen. At lunch, expect to find entertainment execs. During the week, Spark draws locals, and on weekends, it’s a dater’s playground. Signature dishes include Roman-style pizzas, grilled Atlantic salmon, and steaks. No matter what you order, save room for the house-baked apple walnut cobbler.
If your idea of a great meal is garlic, garlic, and more garlic, head to Restaurant Row on La Cienega and visit The Stinking Rose. Executive Chef and owner Andrea Froncillo has created a garlic lover’s paradise, featuring great food in a wildly fun, garlic-themed atmosphere. Fantastic for large parties, the restaurant boasts a varied menu with specialties including roasted crab, prime rib, pastas, and giant tureens of steamed clams, all bathed in garlic. Don’t forget to visit "Dracula’s Grotto," one of many ornately decorated rooms, and to try Gilroy’s Famous Garlic Ice Cream.
Nested in the center Newport’s ritzy Fashion Island, Roy’s offers a high-end dining experience which combines the freshest Pacific ingredients with European culinary techniques and Asian spices. While the service is not always spectacular, the food speaks for itself, from perfect lobster potstickers to perfect scallops to a dangerously palatable Hawaiian-style cosmopolitan. The atmosphere is dressy, yet comfortable, with a hipster musical playlist, older women wearing Chanel and pearls, and young girls in trendy boutique dresses. This is less of a place to be seen or treated like royalty, and more of a place to enjoy quality cuisine.
Adelmo Zarif’s restaurant has occupied a dazzling Art Deco space in downtown’s historic core since moving from West Hollywood in May 1997. Cicada fills the bottom two stories of the Oviatt Building, featuring towering mahogany pillars, plenty of gold, and pristine white tablecloths. Cicada is a fine-dining establishment that’s especially popular for birthdays, weddings and the occasional marriage proposal. Tokyo native Suzay Cha prepares northern Italian cuisine with Asian accents. The menu changes twice a year, but typically includes Ahi Tuna Tartar with Avocado, Piquillo Peppers and Wasabi Caviar and Pappardelle with Filet Mignon Bolognese Sauce.
In Mid-City West LA on 3rd Avenue and S Croft Avenue, patrons enter the rock-clad building of Sushi Roku to experience innovative Japanese preparations that utilize ingredients unusual for a sushi restaurant. Sushi Roku’s menu features traditional nigiri and sushi rolls, but selections like the Salmon Carpaccio in truffle soy vinaigrette will excite guests’ palates with generous flakes of shaved black truffle. Edamane Hummus and the Albacore Tacos are bite-sized tributes to the clash of cultures found in LA. For those adventurous guests, the Sushi chefs are always happy to prepare untraditional dishes like halibut with kumquats, or toasted scallops with parmesan cheese and mushrooms. Dessert must not be skipped, especially with choices like the Zen Smores, featuring racked graham cracker sand made to look like a Zen garden, with a flame in the center so guests can toast the surrounding condiments. At Sushi Roku, the fish is fresh, the food is artistic, and the service genuinely so friendly that customers are sure to leave full and happy.
Sandwiched between a temple and a clothing store on West 3rd Street, A.O.C. Wine Bar doesn't look like much from the outside. Inside, however, there is a great deal to dazzle the wine and food lovers of Los Angeles. Born of the collaboration between Chef Suzanne Goin and Sommelier Caroline Styne, both of Lucques fame, A.O.C. offers a unique dining experience. With the aid of the distinctive cruvinet wine storage system, Styne can offer over fifty wines by the glass, half glass, and carafe. Diners can sample from this list while trying some of Goin's small plates, which vary from traditional wine bar accompaniments, like pate, to the more playful fried chicken.