One of my favorite questions I’ve recently started to ask friends is:
“If you could have a standing reservation at 5 restaurants (regardless of cost) where would you be eating?”
Now trimming my list down to 5 is like asking me asking me if I want sushi or pasta or a donut. It’s probably all three, just not at the same time. Depends on my mood!
So in no certain order, here are my favorite places to eat:
- Tasting Kitchen: their gnocco fritto + salumi (aka warm fried dough w/ cured meat) gives me LIFE. Oh, and ADD THE burrata. Do it.
- Little Dom’s: since the OG in West Hollywood is gone, this location fills my need for blueberry ricotta pancakes, meatballs, grilled artichokes and the NUTELLA HOT FUDGE SUNDAE. Open breakfast-dinner so you’ll always find something.
- The Hollywood Bowl: Ok so technically not a restaurant, but last year their restaurants got a little face lift with the help of the women running the Lucques Group, Suzanne Goin and Caroline Styne. Spanish fried chicken, bacon wrapped dates and an A+ wine list? PLUS MUSIC?! It’s the summer power move.
- Jon and Vinny’s: I get serious cravings for their food. So serious that I think about it for days and then find myself at 3PM on a Tuesday eating the very dish I was picturing. Probably their spicy fusilli pasta, little nat’s pizza or meatballs. Obviously their softserve too. If they have their peaches and burrata salad get that too!
- Son of a Gun: While I’m at it, might as well add this to the list. Also by the J&V team, their seafood is next level. Love the shrimp toast, peel and eat shrimp, hamachi crudo, lobster roll and fried chicken sandwich.
- Animal: Two words: BONER BURGER. I also still think about their chicken liver toast and yellowtail collar with jerk spices.
- Fishing with Dynamite: I mean the name itself deserves an award. Don’t miss their raw Peruvian scallops, roasted butternut squash and key lime pie. Literally my mom asked for the squash recipe for Thanksgiving. They obliged.
- Republique: First off the space. It’s stunning AF. Their pastries and cured meats are all done in house and their wine director has set baller of a list. Get the burrata crostini (burrata is the queen of the cheeses), escargot and any of their pastas. At breakfast/lunch snag anything in the pastry case, Walter’s favorite, shakshouka or kale salad.
- Sqirl: PESTO RICE BOWL and RICOTTA TOAST. On repeat. I love this place sooo much, and two tips: don’t go on a weekend (the line will be massive) and you can get TWO KINDS OF JAM on your ricotta toast, just ask them to split it.
- Free Range: These guys are my people. I had my first honey sriracha chicken biscuit one hungover morning when I first arrived in LA and was Sold (with a capital S)! Their OG fried chicken sandwich is ace too, and 9/10 times I’ll add their honey sriracha to it. Oh and it’s a food truck, so follow them on insta to see where they are!
- Gusto: If I could live off their steak tartar I would (I quietly cry every time it’s not on the menu). This little hole in the wall is the perfect spot that isn’t a scene whatsoever. Just great food + wine. Get the bucatini carbonara and agnolotti.
- In-N-Out: Doesn’t need much explanation. My go-to order is double-double animal style with well-done fries. You’re welcome.
- Cofax Coffee: Breakfast burritos, honey sea salt donuts and iced almond milk lattes. It’s on heavy rotation for me; their donuts are fantastic.
- Sidecar Doughnuts: I will drive for donuts, and even though I’m “far” from their Santa Monica location, getting a fresh out of the oven doughnut is always worth it. Go for the cinnamon crumb, butter & salt, or any of their seasonal flavors.
- Baroo: Honestly, I’ve only eaten here once, but I still remember how f*$@!&#g flavorful everything was. Super casual order at the counter style, but damn Daniel, the ragu style pasta, celeriac pasta and kimchi fried rice are next level.
- Gjusta: Another restaurant I’d happily move into, the patio space is rustic and the place I’d take all my meals. Namely their build your own fish plate, any of their breakfast or lunch sandwiches or their house smoked and rotisserie meats. Which is basically their menu. So I’ll have their entire menu.