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Intercontinental 

Spago 

Wolfgang Puck’s world-famous restaurant in Beverly Hills.  They aren’t the newest craze, but they’re still so popular because they do everything right from the tuna cone at the beginning to the beautiful pastas to the exquisite A5 wagyu to dessert. OH! They also have my most favorite non-alcoholic drink ever – the Cracklin’ Rosie, made with lychee and rosewater. Luna and Miles are practically made of this drink.
spago.com
176 North Canon Drive, Beverly Hills, CA 90210

Vespertine 

This isn’t a meal. It’s a multi-room, multi-level gastronomical experience.  Plan to be there a few hours. Plan to be amazed. Plan to be treated like royalty.  
@vespertine.la
3599 Hayden Avenue, Culver City, CA, 90232

Providence 

This a seafood-centered elite restaurant with a great tasting menu.
providencela.com
5955 Melrose Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90038

Wolfgang Puck at Hotel Bel Air 

We actually lived at this hotel for a while when we were waiting for our house to be renovated.  Luna’s first month was there, and her parents ate everything on the menu. The Japanese BBQ Salmon Salad is our favorite, but they make everything so well.  Luna loves the chicken tenders and fries. And she’s right. They may be the best chicken tenders we’ve ever had.
wolfgangpuckatbelair.com
701 Stone Canyon Road, Los Angeles, CA 90077

Polo Lounge 

A legendary restaurant at the Beverly Hills Hotel.  Luna’s favorite place for daddy-daughter dates. She usually gets the pizza.  Daddy usually gets the Tortilla Soup and the Lobster Nicoise.
pololounge.com
The Beverly Hills Hotel, 9641 Sunset Boulevard

Italian

Giorgio Baldi

I am in love with the agnolotti pasta at this popular spot on the Pacific Coast Highway. It’s a homemade ravioli filled with sweet white corn in a white truffle sauce, and oh my god, it’s perfect. We also love the grilled langoustines (a sort of giant crayfish that looks and eats like a lobster) and John loves the Aragosta Saltata, a whole Maine lobster sauteéed with tomatoes, basil, lemon, and chili.
giorgiobaldi.com
114 West Channel Road, Santa Monica Canyon, CA 90402 

Via Veneto

This has been one of our favorite date-night spots over the years.  It’s chill, romantic, and delicious. The pastas and risottos are perfection, and they make a mean Florentine steak, too.
@viavenetosantamonica
3009 Main St, Santa Monica, CA 90405-5317

Madeo Ristorante

One of the best Italian places in LA.  I love the classic spaghetti bolognese and John is in love with the Osso Buco over cheesy risotto.  The Scampi Alla Griglia (grilled prawns) are great too!
362 N Camden Drive, Beverly Hills, CA 90210

Pace

This is an iconic Laurel Canyon spot.  They make great pastas and pizzas plus some great meat entrees that you might not expect at an Italian place, like Uncle Wilfred’s Baby Back Ribs.
@pacerestaurant
2100 Laurel Canyon Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90046

Jon & Vinny’s

This relatively new place has become so popular for a reason. Think Michelin-star-level pastas with a chill vibe.   So tasty! We love the caprese salad, the marinara braised meatballs with ricotta and garlic bread, and the bolognese pasta–but our absolute favorite is the chicken cutlet. Oh, and make sure to make room for the pizza! You honestly can’t go wrong with any of them. They’re baked in these stone hearth ovens (powered by gas and wood fire), which makes for that amazing crispy char – they have seating right in front if you ever want front-row seats to all the pizza making magic. Aside from their mains, they do really good desserts. We usually get the soft-serves (chocolate, vanilla, or twist!)- they’re smooth and creamy, but not too sweet.  Go try at any one of their two locations (Melrose or at their new spot in Brentwood), and make a date night out of it with your significant other or just go with your friends… or Postmates it (my preferred choice). 
@jonandvinnydelivery
412 North Fairfax Avenue, Los Angeles, CA

Il Pastaio

This is a popular spot in the Beverly Hills shopping district.  We go there for lunch a lot. We love the pastas. If you can get them with truffles, do that!
@ilpastaio_bh
400 N Canon Dr, Beverly Hills, CA 90210

Gjelina

Abbot Kinney in Venice is one of the coolest streets in the Los Angeles Area.  We don’t live very close so we don’t get there very often. But Gjelina is so good!  They do a wide variety of things really well, from salads to pizza to pasta to meat to really creative veggie side dishes and apps.  Everything’s hearty, flavorful, and fun.
@gjelinarestaurant
1427 Abbot Kinney Blvd, Venice, CA 90291

Sushi

n/naka

Chef Niki Nakayama created this beautiful tasting experience.  Every time we’ve been there has been unique and perfect. They pay such attention to detail, even making note of what they serve you each time so they can switch it up the next time you come.  
n/naka.com
3455 S. Overland Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90034

Nobu Malibu

Have I ever told you about the time I casually told Robert DeNiro that NOBU was a little overrated…before realizing that he founded NOBU?  Yeah, I also told him movies are stupid. Anyway, enough about me embarrassing myself in front of one of the greatest actors of all time. NOBU is actually very good.  And we love the Malibu location. It’s right on the water and the food and drinks are fun and delicious. Don’t miss their weekend brunch!
@noburestaurant.us
22706 CA-1, Malibu, CA 90265

Katsu-ya Studio City

So much great sushi and sashimi, and we also love the lobster & mushroom dynamite and the miso marinated black cod.
@katsuyagroup
11680 Ventura Blvd, Studio City, CA 91604

Asian

Absolutely Pho-Bulous

John and I have been going here since before we even had a place together in L.A..  John would stay at the Sofitel around the corner, and I was still rooming with a friend in West Hollywood.  The Blockbuster next door was still in business! It was a long time ago, guys. Anyway, It’s not fancy. You don’t want pho from a fancy place.  If it has an A rating from the health department and the bathroom is too clean and spacious, the pho ain’t worth having.
350 N La Cienega Blvd, West Hollywood, California 90048

Night + Market 

The first thing I’ll order at any Thai restaurant is the papaya salad as a sort of edible litmus test. If this is good, everything else will be good, too; if this is bad, you can almost guarantee everything else will be worse.  
Night+Market obviously passed the test and has become our favorite Thai place in L.A.  It’s got an element of Thai street food, and it’s super authentic and friendly.  They make their own organic wines. The Pad See Ew ( a noodle dish made with chicken) is saucy and sweet… and they do it with duck!  They usually have like three different types of whole fried fish available, and it’s awesome. And we love the crispy rice. If you need to ease into Asian foods, try the fried chicken sandwich (one of their signature dishes), crab and cream cheese filled wontons, and sweet and salty chicken wings.
They now have multiple locations but, if you can, try the West Hollywood (original) spot. If you’re still iffy, trust in the tastes of the late, great Jonathan Gold and Noma’s world-renowned chef, Rene Redzepi, both who have heaped praise on this incredible little restaurant on Sunset.
@ntmrkt
9043 Sunset Blvd, West Hollywood, CA 90069

Hoy Kha

Wise Thai diners know to go to The Original Hoy Kha, not the other Hoy Ka. Their drunken noodles may very well be the inspiration for mine in Cravings 1, and the whole place just feels like you’re eating with family. 
5908 Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90028

Hot & Juicy

Any place where your seafood is steamed in a plastic bag and where you need to wear disposable gloves (sorry, environment) to protect your hands from the spice is my kind of place. You order your seafood by weight here, and Mom and I can sneak in and put down a good pound or two of  crawfish, king crab legs, or peel-and-eat shrimp in one sitting. You get to choose from five levels of heat, from Baby Spice to Extra Spicy, and five seasonings: Louisiana, Juicy Cajun, Garlic Butter, Lemon Pepper, or Hot n Juicy. You can’t go wrong!
7100 Santa Monica Blvd #150, West Hollywood, CA

Joy – Taiwanese

Taiwanese-style street food in a cute modern setting. Try the peanutty Dan Dan Noodles, or the killer Thousand Layer Pancake, a flaky pastry folded burrito style. Get it with egg, cheese, and chili sauce. Trivia fact: The restaurant rents its space from the former owners of Elsa’s Bakery, so to honor the place’s history they still bake Mexican wedding cookies daily! 
@joyonyork
 5100 York Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90042

Park’s Korean BBQ 

Like all the best Korean BBQ joints, this one is in a strip mall. What I love is that you can go full platinum-card level with American Wagyu short ribs or tartar (YUMMMM), or be more budget-friendly with the equally amazing beef brisket, skirt steak, or bulgogi. Come as hungry as you can because no matter how hard you pre-game deprive yourself, between all the amazing banchan (little salads and openers) and the meats, you’re going home on a stretcher.
@parksbbq
955 S Vermont Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90006

Quarters Korean BBQ

As someone who has bought eight different at-home BBQ grills and has korean BBQ nights a couple times a month at the house, you might say I’m a big fan. I love that you’re allowed to order a variety of meat, grill it yourself, and eat it with all the different side dishes they provide. 

It’s called “Quarters” because they give you a quarter pound of meat for each serving, so I’ll usually order four to five types of meat. They have everything from marinated beef short rib to rib-eye to pork belly to seafood, so no one can really complain…unless you’re vegetarian, in which case there is soup (kimchi jjigae, which is a spicy kimchi soup). They also have this radish and green onion salad mixed with a spicy gochujang (fermented Korean chili paste) sauce that I almost love more than the actual meat. It’s free and they will give you as many refills of it as you need, so go crazy.  Dip the meat into one of the three sauces they provide, wrap it with the salad, and welcome to paradise. For cheese lovers, you can order a small side of cheese which they will melt on top of the grill for you to dip the meat in. Oh, that meat and cheese combo… Oh, if you have friends who are so impatient and complain every five seconds waiting in line to eat, this restaurant has a bar. A FULL BAR. Just tell them to have a glass of wine (or one of their crazy margaritas) and to chiiiiilll. 
@quarterskbbq
3465 W 6th Street, Los Angeles CA 90020

Jin-Ya Ramen

Did you know noodles could be aged for maximum flavor? Neither did I, until I went to Jin-Ya. They let theirs sit around for three days, which deepens the flavor and the perfect chew that complements the ten-hour pork broth. My pick is the spicy tonkatsu ramen – it’s rich and tingly but not crazy-hot; the fire builds slowly with every slurp. Round out your meal with their buns, crispy chicken, and gyoza – if your kids don’t want ramen, they’ll destroy all of these and ask for seconds. 
@jinyaramenbar
700 Wilshire Blvd Suite B, Los Angeles, CA 90017

Mexican

Escuela Taqueria

No-frills, all-flavor tacos we love. I mean, who doesn’t love a place where you can get a hard-shell taco with ground beef, dill pickles and cheddar cheese??? Also great: the chicken tinga tostada, the pork belly, and the delicious guac and chips. 
escuelataqueria.com
7615 Beverly Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90036

Cactus Taqueria on Vine

Worth any amount of wait or line! The fish tacos are considered some of the best in L.A. for a reason, and the burritos are just so damn good. Wash it all down with horchata (a cinnamony almond drink that’s much more delicious than it sounds), jamaica (hibiscus juice), or a Jarritos soda. 
@cactus_tacos
950 Vine St, Los Angeles, CA 90038

Taco Truck – Tacos y Birria La Unica

I loooooove this taco truck. I have had them come to my house so many times, and they never fail me. I even had them cater the wrap party for our Legendary Christmas special and everyone was dying over how good it was. 

First of all, they make the tortillas right in front of you. I always get the crunchy tacos with cheese, so these bad boys come out crunchy with oozy cheese and IT. IS. HEAVEN. They have onions, cilantro and radishes on the side with variety of different level hot sauces. Their Birria de Chivo (braised goat, it’s delicious and you wouldn’t know it was goat meat) is their most popular, but all their meat is gooood. Oh, and don’t skimp out on their consomé – it’s this rich, rich broth that warms all your insides as soon as you drink it. I’m obsessed with this – I once asked them to give me a huge tupperware of it so I could sip on it later. 

Aside from the amazing food, the people that work at this truck are the nicest people EVER. They are always so kind, and just want to serve you the best food. I’m a little scared to put this place on here, since they’ll get even busier, and then never be avail to come to my house, but I love you guys and them so please go enjoy their food as much as I have. 
@tacosybirrialaunica
 2840 E Olympic Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90023

Meat

Craig’s

I hate when restaurants are labeled as “celeb magnets.” I think I’m  going to start a support group called, “famous people can have good taste in restaurants, too, you know…” So that’s Craig’s. We go for the food, not the scene or to be seen. Yes, the paps are there, but the peeps (like me and John) are there for the meat: The 18-ounce ribeye with compound butter (butter, yet better with herbs and spices)! The cheeseburger with spicy mayo and sautéed onions! The friggin’ MEATLOAF! So when you see people like me hiding under a coat when exiting a place like Craig’s, i may just be hiding my overly full belly. Stars…they’re just like you. 
@craigsla
8826 Melrose Ave, West Hollywood, CA 90069

BBQ

Uncle Andre’s

It is just true-blue, authentic soul food. Our usual faves are the baby back pork ribs, BBQ baked beans, collard greens (John’s favorite) and mac n’ cheese. Oh man, when we get this delivered, everyone is happy. The ribs are coated with their tangy, sweet sauce (the sauce alone makes it worth eating with your hands and licking your fingers), and the meat just falls off the bones. When your mouth is full of ribs, shove in a spoon of baked beans (literally candy) or the macaroni and cheese (crispy on the edges, but soft and cheesy on the inside). Don’t be afraid to be messy when eating Uncle Andre’s – it is the level of respect that they deserve.  
uncleandres.com
11715 Moorpark St, Studio City, CA 91604


Cheesesteak

Boo’s

The fact that the best cheesesteaks in the West are made by a family of Korean immigrants makes me want to aim a giant can of spray cheese in the direction of The Orange President Who Shall Not Be Named and chant, “How you like me now???” The Original–juicy, salty, oniony meat which MUST be made with processed cheese spread only and nestled into a perfect bun–is the gold standard, but they also have these crazy loaded fries, killer turkey hoagie sandwiches–wow. Just wow. 
@boosphilly
Silverlake, 4501 Fountain Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90029
3377 Wilshire Blvd #103, Los Angeles, CA 90010

Hot Chicken

Howlin’ Rays

Whenever someone I knew traveled to Nashville I asked that they return back with Hattie B’s hot fried chicken (this is not a joke, I repeat, not a joke). Seems excessive, but I had to fulfill my cravings. The gods of LA saw my desperation and finally answered my prayers by giving me Howlin’ Rays. 

The fried chicken is so juicy and moist (I know a lot of people hate that word, but oh well), and they go from no heat to it’s-so-hot-the-chicken-is-black HOT HOT. Mom has trained me to handle spice and even I cry when eating the spiciest level. But it’s a rite of passage. No matter how much you are dying, you see your fingers reach out for another piece – just make sure not to touch anything else with those fingers.

My go-to is always the sandwich. The coleslaw, pickles and sauce tone down the spiciness (in a good way), so everything is much more manageable. Eat that with a side of their Hot Shake crinkle-cut fries and a Dr. Pepper and you will be in hot chicken bliss. 

There apparently is a “secret” menu (why am I just finding this out??), which is now no longer a secret thanks to Eater and me. You’re welcome. 
@howlinrays
727 N Broadway #128, Los Angeles, CA 90012

Breakfast

Griddle Cafe

Legends don’t just happen: they’re built off the backs of hard-working people like Jo Kimberley, owner of Griddle Cafe, the craziest breakfast joint that ever was. The portions are bonkers here, but everyone should still order their own so you can try as many things on the menu as possible. A few favorites: the Scotch On The Rocks pancakes, made with coconut, oats, pecans, and butterscotch chips and piled high with whipped cream; and the Some Like it Hot scrambled eggs made with tequila-spiked sausages and ranchero sauce. Bonkers, in a good way. 
@thegriddlecafe
7916 Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90046

Blue Star Donuts

Blue Star got its start in Portland, OR. Luckily, they’ve got three locations in L.A. now  (Silver Lake, Venice, and Manhattan Beach) for you to consume the killerest of killer donuts that happen to also be the most Instagrammable. Line up flavors like Passion Fruit, Raspberry Rosemaru Butttermilk and Mexican Hot Chocolate and I dare you  NOT to a take a photo. There’s even a donut that comes with its own syringe: The crispy-shelled Cointreau Crème Brûlée, which you get to inject with a tiny pipette of orange liqueur-tinged syrup. 
@bluestardonuts
3438 Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90026
1142 Abbot Kinney Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90291
451 Manhattan Beach Blvd, Suite D-118

Roscoe’s Chicken & Waffles

Let’s pay respect where respect is due. Before everyone started claiming they had the best chicken and waffles, Roscoe’s was one of the FIRST chicken and waffles–especially on the West Coast. An institution more than a trend, this is the original L.A. place to get a crisp-beyond-crisp waffle baby topped with John-approved fried chicken (and he’s a tough critic) and topped crucially with butter and maple syrup. Salty. Sweet. Crispy. Crunchy. Perfect.
@roscoesofficial

Dessert

Milk Bar 

Milk Bar is a relatively new addition to LA, so before it opened here, I decided to recreate their famous birthday cake right at home. 
Yes, my cake turned out beautiful.  Yes, I was so proud of it, I drove it around Beverly Hills for a photoshoot (it was a full shoot, photos below!). Yes, it then went promptly to my fridge and no one was able to eat it. 

I don’t have time to do this after every cake, so thank god Milk Bar came to LA and now I can leave all the masterful baking to Christina Tosi (pastry chef/owner) and her team. They use ingredients so familiar from our childhood, but in creative ways – it’s the perfect mix of old and new, and I think that’s why even I (a more savory-than-sweets person) enjoy it. The Milk Bar pie (formerly known as Crack Pie), the cereal milk yogurt with cornflake topping (one of Lu and Miles’ first ice creams ever!), the corn flake cookies, the compost cookies, the bagel bombs (seriously BOMB), the shakes… I’m just listing the entire menu at this point… are all so addictingly delicious. I truly don’t know how she thinks up this stuff, but I will gladly continue to eat all her creations!

P.S. Milk Bar, please let me know if you need taste testers – I will work for free.
@milkbarstore
7150 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90046