This has been a much anticipated post but I just wasn’t that motivated to put it together since I haven’t been out and about as much recently. I used to frequent these spots once a week for either blogger events, happy hours with girlfriends, or date nights with Paul, but since getting pregnant I’m just not feeling like being out. Probably a combination of not being able to enjoy the cocktail menus and the fact that I need to be in bed by 9PM LOL. But regardless, this is a list of my favorite Los Angeles restaurants that I personally love. Some are classics that have been around for years, some are trendy hotspots, and some are just on the list because I love the vibe. I break it all down for you in the list, but know that there are TONS of places always popping up around LA, so if nothing on this list suits you I guarantee there are at least 20 other options for you.
LA SPOTS I LOVE:
-Surfrider Malibu. It’s a hotel with the cutest rooftop bar / lounge (pictured above). They say it’s not open to the public, only hotel guests but apparently that’s a scare tactic to keep it from flooding with people since it is a very small spot. It’s very quaint, well decorated, and picturesque. They also serve delicious food and cocktails. I recommend snagging a spot on the rooftop bar around sunset.
-Elephante. This is Santa Monica’s hottest new restaurant. It is owned by the same group of people who opened Scorpios in Mykonos (SUPER CUTE!) and a few other poppin places that I can’t currently remember. There is a very European vibe happening between the decor, indoor / outdoor setting, and incredible menu. I typically find that places THIS popular (great music, beautiful people, hot waiters, stunning decor) don’t serve the best food, but let me tell you…the food was OUTSTANDING. And from what I read on the cocktail menu, the drinks are top notch, too. Highly recommend trying this place for a really fun vibe out with friends.
-Commissary. Located in Koreatown at The Line Hotel on the roof. It is set up to look like a greenhouse with glass windows all over and tons of lush greenery. Super Instagrammable and the menu is great. Lighting can be tough so maybe go during golden hour if you want pictures. Also, the valet at this hotel is absurdly expensive so try to find some street parking.
-Cleo. I LOVE the food at this restaurant. It is Mediterranean and just mouth-watering good. They also serve a super yummy spicy pepper cocktail that I cannot wait to have again soon.
-Nobu. Great sushi. Great views. It’s Malibu’s trendiest spot but can’t ever go wrong with Nobu. Since it’s on the beach, I love going at sunset time to get the full experience.
-Beauty & Essex. There’s always tons of people eating in here, making it a pretty fun vibe. The decor is funky and the layout makes it feel like there’s stuff to see around every corner. I also happen to love the food here. It’s unique and mini so you can try a little of everything.
-Beverly Hills Hotel Pool. The restaurant by the pool is a classic LA landmark. Pink and green stripes everywhere, and the booths are tucked into the cutest little semi-circle configuration that is beyond Instagrammable. I dream about the blueberry yogurt pancakes here…INSANE! You’ll probably feel a little out of place arriving at the hotel, as most LA hotels tend to make you feel a bit like a peasant, but just ignore them all & strut proudly down to the pool and get those pancakes!
-Ysabel. This restaurant can be hard to spot, as it’s located in a strange little alleyway on Fairfax. It has a very romantic ambiance at night with all the candles and indoor lit-up trees. I’d say this restaurant is very sexy.
-Malibu Farm. Casual and fun brunch spot. It’s right off the Malibu pier so you can make a day of it. Walk down the pier, shop at the little California Dreaming pink shop, take a picture under the pink umbrellas, and then eat some yummy cauliflower pizza and sip on boozy slushies. You’ve 100% seen this place on IG. I didn’t find the menu to be THAT phenomenal but it’s very cute.
-The Butcher’s Daughter. Another pretty brunch spot. This one is in Venice so it’s not an easy location to get to (or park at) for me, coming from The Valley. BUT, it’s worth making a day of it. Walk / shop on Abbot Kinney then have a really delicious brunch. It’s nearly impossible to get the gold cracked marble table (unless you’re “somebody”) but it’s worth asking.
-Catch. Super trendy but actually really yummy if you love fish / sushi. I thought it was all hype but then I ate a full on dinner there and was converted. The decor is very cute and I love the indoor / outdoor vibe.
-Mr Chow. The Beverly Hills location is better than the Malibu one in my opinion. It’s a classic LA restaurant and the food is some of the best. Some things I ALWAYS order are: chicken sautee, chow noodles, drunken fish, lettuce wraps, dumplings, seaweed salad, & chow rice. There’s a ton more great stuff on the menu but those are my personal favorites.
-Toca Madera. This is like fancy Mexican food & I love it. Stuff like guacamole with pomegranate seeds served with plantain chips. They also happen to have the best spicy margaritas in town. It’s pretty small but they always have a fun vibe and good music. When I can’t think of anywhere exciting and new to go I usually end up here.
Popular LA Spots I Don’t Love:
I’ve eaten at these places, they are good, but not my favorite. Either too crowded, didn’t like the vibe, or wasn’t into the food. I’ll keep my opinions to myself because they do deserve a chance and you might love it!
-EP & LP
If you’re looking for places to eat in The Valley you can check out my guide here.