Exactly a year ago I published a blog post about the LA basics: a stylish girl’s guide for where to eat, drink, stay and shop. They’re still great suggestions – so if you’re planning a trip and looking for the 411, start there first.
Recently though, I’ve been receiving messages asking if I have any NEW favorite restaurants and bars to add – and I do! A lot has opened in the past year. I thought I’d update my original list with my current haunts – most of these are restaurants (because, priorities) but I threw in a couple shops here and there as well. A few aren’t new – just doing a deeper dive than what I had on the original list. So, without further adieu:
Margot – This restaurant just opened at Platform in Culver City, which is a very chic shopping/dining center (the antithesis of a “mall” – a grey concrete, minimalist architectural outdoor space with artsy concept stores and eateries). Go up the elevator and walk into Margot – a large space with high ceilings and glass windows. Every corner is Instagrammable. The indoor dining area is lofty and open, and the outdoor rooftop has a city view. Food is “coastal,” brunch is the move.
Atrium – Speaking of open spaces, this restaurant (also new) has a beautiful interior with wooden beams, velvet booths and an indoor tree – it’s actually an atrium. It’s in Los Feliz, which for me is a bit of a trek from the Westside, but I hardly ever make it over there otherwise and it’s nice to venture out. All your friends will find something on this menu as it’s pretty diverse: uni cacio e pepe, hamachi crudo and roasted squash agnolotti just to name a few. Atrium was opened by the same owners as Kettle Black in Silverlake, another great restaurant worth visting (Italian).
Ruby’s – I’m glad this opened on Ocean Ave because to be honest, I was getting a little tired of the options in Santa Monica proper. Ocean Ave is so picturesque (and a great place for a run or outdoor workout) but the crowds of tourists and the traffic make it difficult to want to walk around there (sorry to sound like such a snob. Promise I’m not. But as a local, try finding a meter or crossing the street by the pier in a crowd of 300 people on a summer day). Between 3rd street promenade, the pier, and Ocean Ave, there’s just a LOT happening in this area. Ruby’s adds something fresh to the mix and the menu has all your favorites like chicken avocado salad, burgers and all day breakfast.
Felix – I’ve mentioned Felix on IG Stories a bunch recently because it’s just that good – authentic Italian (the menu is also in Italian). Angelenos have been coming to Venice from all over LA to eat here, hence why it’s near-impossible to get a 7pm reservation without booking a month early. The trick is to arrive at 5:15pm sharp when they open. Walk in, no rezzie, and grab a table for an early dinner. You’ll be glad it’s early because you’ll overeat on pasta and pizza (or their insane foccacia bread) and want to lay on the couch after. And it will have been worth it. I’d say this is more of a romantic date night spot than a pre-going out spot, mostly for the cozy art-deco interior and since the food is on the heavier side.
Elephanté – I’d say this is LA’s current “it” spot, or definitely the “it” spot on the Westside. I feel it either replaced Catch, or stole a lot of its thunder. It has a decidedly laid-back vibe, lots of wood, straw and beachy accents and a Mykonos vibe. Menus at trendy spots can be hit or miss, but the food here is actually great (love the flat bread pizzas). Lunch, cocktails, dinner or late night are all winners here. I do find the sidewalk bouncer/desk check-in a little off-putting, but the restaurant is located on the second level of a Santa Monica building so I suppose without the outdoor sidewalk bouncer it’d be too hard to find. Plus, that makes it easy to ask if there’s a walk-in table without having to trek up the elevator. And now that I think about it, every time I’ve been to Elephanté the people outside have been exceptionally friendly (which isn’t always the case. If you want proof, try Chateau Marmont).
Blue Ribbon Sushi – Christophe and I just had dinner this week at Blue Ribbon and loved it. You may have been to the New York location already, but it’s new for us Angelenos and I’m appreciating having a new Westside sushi option when I get tired of Sugarfish. It’s located in the brand new Palisades Village, which is also worth an afternoon stroll.
Sushi Park – This is a rec that you’d most likely only hear about from a local, as it’s in a literal strip mall and offers no aesthetic pull from the outside. In fact, I never knew it existed until a few years ago and I can’t find their website. I’m not sure who blew up this place, but it somehow became the hole in the wall everyone loves for Omakase sushi and the last time I was there Ryan Seacrest was eating at the bar. Go figure. It’s on Sunset Strip, so a great option if you’re planning to go out after.
Cha Cha Matcha – Another East Coast transplant, but the interior is SO cute that it’s worth adding here. We’ll see if this has staying power, but as of now it’s winning, with the palm tree decor, bright interior and pink tiling. I’m biased as I drink matcha daily, so for me this spot is very relevant.
Harriet’s – A new rooftop restaurant and bar in West Hollywood (located at the Jeremy), and we’re in dire need of more rooftops around here. The views alone make this worth visiting, and the cozy booths and cocktail menu make it a solid option for dates or girlfriends.
Rooftop by JG – This is located at the Waldorf Astoria that opened in the heart of Beverly Hills. Another place for a pre-dinner drink while looking at gorgeous birds-eye views.
Ysabel – Not new, but I’m adding it as I’ve recently rediscovered how charming and romantic the patio is. Two bars make it an ideal spot for drinks and the string lights and courtyard are picturesque around 5pm. Ysabel has had staying power as it’s still as busy and popular as when it opened several years ago.
The Piece Collective – The chicest little boutique on Abbot Kinney in Venice, with everything from fragrance and fedoras to linens and interior items. I love stores like this that carry a well-curated and edited mix.
Palisades Village – The brand new shopping development in Pacific Palisades by the same developer as the Grove. The Village did an excellent job curating the shops because every single one nails it – Zimmermann, Cuyana, Rachel Zoe, Fleur du Mal, A.L.C., Anine Bing, to name a bunch. There are also several concept boutiques like The Little Market (Lauren Conrad’s marketplace of handcrafted decor) and Botanica Bazaar, a wellness shop full of nontoxic wellness products.
Olive & June – The best place for a mani/pedi in LA. Before Olive & June, I felt like getting my nails done was somewhat of a chore, and yes I realize how ridiculous that sounds. But when you go to a crowded nail shop with florescent lighting and sketchy foot tubs, you tend to want to get in and out of there. O&J is the opposite; a relaxing place that makes for the perfect girls date.
The RealReal – I consign a lot of my clothes with The RealReal and they recently opened their brick and mortar location in the heart of Melrose. It’s the perfect place to stroll into as there’s a coffee shop inside. The store is beautifully done and you can score some major designer discounts.
Hotel Figueroa – Not really an activity, but if you’re in DTLA, stop by this hotel for a drink or meal. The lobby is absolutely gorgeous. I shot some photos here before the Emmys and kept wondering why I’d never been before.
Well, that was WAY longer than I anticipated – if you have more questions, comment below!