Beverly Hills and Beyond Dining Options

As you travel from Century City to Beverly Hills and beyond, here are some casual to formal dining suggestions based on recent visits. 

Avra Beverly Hills is the gorgeous Beverly Hills outpost of Avra Madison Estiatorio, in Manhattan. The seafood market-style presentation of raw bar items and whole fish, many imported fresh from the Mediterranean, hints that grilled whole fish is the specialty. My favorite item is called: Avra Chips; it’s the crispiest-ever tower of freshly fried, stacked zucchini and eggplant, served with tzatziki, the garlic, cucumber and mint enriched Greek yogurt. (The daily prix fixe lunch is a great value.) 

For a California-style Brasserie, The Belvedere at The Peninsula in Beverly Hills has a certain magic with its airy, recently renewed décor that accentuates the artwork and its adjacent, picture-perfect courtyard. Since 1995, The Belvedere has been Los Angeles’ only AAA Five-Diamond restaurant for a good reason; it’s simply a divine place to dine among Hollywood elites who meet, greet and celebrate their personal events, there. These often conclude with a Gran Marnier soufflé!

Walk to Eataly, the Italian marketplace in Westfield Century City; inside, you’ll be tempted by house-baked breads, Italian wines and local produce (all worth bringing back to your room) before reaching the host at La Pizza & La Pasta. We savored freshly made Tagliatelle alla Bolognese, Polpette, huge pork and beef meatballs, and Tiramisu. A circular staircase connects Terra, the roof deck restaurant with its centerpiece wood-burning grill and outdoor terrace.

JAR, a chophouse on Beverly Blvd lures diners for its comfort-food specials, such as The Signature Pot Roast, served with caramelized carrots and onions, and prime cuts — rib eye, filet and Kansas City — offered with a choice of sauces: Béarnaise, green peppercorn, spicy mustard, or thyme-butter. The menu features: Char Siu Pork Chop, Lemongrass Chicken, wild and sustainable fish and eclectic side dishes: Grilled Asparagus, Roasted Beets with Burrata to French fries, Purple Yams and Duck Fried Rice.  

Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s two restaurants at the Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills delight for different reasons. The Rooftop by JG is the casual outdoor venue with a view and, for gastronomy, Jean Georges Beverly Hills. Highlights of my paired Tasting Menu included: a trio of Osetra creations, the signature JG lemongrass and coconut milk lobster dish (Chassagne Montrachet 2014), a Roasted Wagyu Beef Tenderloin and a warm chocolate cake with a soft center and vanilla ice cream, with a 30-year-old Jerez, a Spanish sherry. My vegetarian colleague indulged on JG’s signature truffle and fontina cheese pizza, a steamed artichoke, mushroom and arugula salad with corn, avocado and radishes. 

Wolfgang Puck’s newest venue, Merois, is within The Pendry, on Sunset Blvd, in West Hollywood. The over-the-top décor mixes colorful stripes, patterns and polka dots all under a tented ceiling; window walls extend the panoramic views from the rooftop terrace, indoors. It’s a fun place to try classic, Wolfgang Puck dishes, including his Chinese Chicken Salad, Asian inspired seafoods and steak, vegetable sushi and artfully presented desserts. 

For 40 years, The Palm, with its caricature-covered West Hollywood walls, was a casual, celebrity-studded, haunt. The jean-clad diners in booths are still movers and shakers at its newer, grander location in Beverly Hills. And, though few caricatures remain, the popular menu does: filet to Tomahawk ribeyes, chops, two-pound lobsters, surf and turf, Italian classics and oversized sides: from hashbrowns to truffled gnocchi.

Pura Vita in West Hollywood was the most impressive of the trio of plant-based restaurants in which I recently ate. The menu reads “Italian,” though a closer look reveals creative ingredients: macadamia parmagiano and romano cream and cashew mozzarella, ricotta and aioli. The Polpettine meatballs contain mushrooms and lentils and the cutlet Parmigiano is made with breaded cauliflower and chickpeas. The vegans were thrilled; and, I enjoyed olives and Pasta Pomodoro.

Si Laa is a family-owned and operated Thai restaurant in Beverly Hills. Our “Hidden Treasures” arrived in a round dish under seven silver-topped circles hiding mini-spicy shrimp, with blue crab meat in a Thai basil coconut sauce. Even gluten-free and vegan diners were pleased with Asian eggplant, garlic ginger rice and spicy papaya salad. This carnivore enjoyed Sa-Tay (filet skewers with curry) and Pad Thai. 

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