No trip to Los Angeles is complete without a visit to West Hollywood’s iconic mile-and-a-half stretch of Sunset Boulevard, famously known as the Sunset Strip.
The Strip’s sultry music venues put it on the map as early as the 1920s and ’30s, drawing top acts such as Nat King Cole, though it really hit its stride in the ’60s and ’70s, showcasing performers such as Jimi Hendrix, The Doors and Led Zeppelin. Music still thrives on the Sunset Strip, as do some of the country’s best comedy clubs, such as the Laugh Factory and The Comedy Store.
Today, visitors will find a cutting-edge nexus of boutiques, nightlife, pizza-by-the-slice or haute cuisine. With plenty of options to choose from, here are the Strip’s top five dining destinations.
The neighborhood spot, fashioned from an orchard house built in 1923, isn’t just a destination on Sunset Boulevard — with its farm-to-table menu, meticulously crafted cocktails and sprawling front and back patios — it’s a must-try restaurant for all of Los Angeles. The menu changes frequently depending on what’s in season, and everything’s always made in-house. The hand-cut tagliatelle with spring garlic, tomato, broccoli, zucchini and spinach is always a winner, along with a trio of ceviche (halibut, albacore, yellowtail) and any of the generous steak or pork selections.
The L.A. outpost of former Top Chef Season 3 contestant Brian Malarkey’s fish-meets-field mash-up is located in the hip Mondrian Los Angeles, conveniently tucked in next to glamorous poolside hotspot Skybar. The Thomas Schoos-designed space is decked out with nautical elements and arcing Cypress trees, but the menu is hardly overshadowed by the ambience. Start your meal with a whole fish served ceviche style, or a one-of-a kind tartare mix of lamb and smoked salmon. Seared diver scallops are perfectly accompanied by crispy sweetbreads, and the restaurant’s signature carne asada fries “SD in LA” are a perfect guilty pleasure piled high with tender short ribs, avocado, cream, pico de gallo and cheddar cheese.
Dim sum isn’t easy to come by in central Los Angeles, but The Church Key puts its own spin on the roving Cantonese cart tradition by supplementing its regular menu with mobile cart selections such as pig ear “Cheetos” with guacamole mousse, or Dungeness crab sushi rolls. Other menu must-haves are the chicken liver parfait with blackberry port “Jell-O” served with toasted brioche; hand-rolled cavatelli with truffled English pea Alfredo; and Jidori chicken tikka masala. The concept — like the cuisine — redefines the “continental” dining experience, and it’s all situated in an airy ambience of subway-tiled walls and rustic wooden tables.
Stepping into RivaBella feels like being transported to a luxurious Tuscan grotto. The 2,800-square-foot, indoor-outdoor space overlooking Sunset Boulevard boasts a breezy patio where you can lounge in stylish banquettes and gaze up at the stars through the open ceiling. The housemade pastas shine here, and though many change with the season, currently you can savor offerings such as pistachio pappardelle with lamb and peach ragu, and bucatini carbonara with a 63-degree egg and prosciutto and pecorino. For more excitement, opt for tableside preparations of porcini risotto cooked inside a 24-month aged wheel of Parmigiano-Reggiano, or the liquid nitrogen vanilla ice cream for dessert.
The stunner of a steakhouse has been drawing an A-list crowd for years. Its location on the border between West Hollywood and Beverly Hills makes it the perfect stop for a power lunch or luxurious dinner. Find ample selections from land and sea to satisfy any appetite. Indulge in meaty choices such as the 40-day dry-aged New York strip, or premium Japanese wagyu; or surf selections such as a seafood platter built for as many as five people, whole Maine lobster or Chilean sea bass.
Photos Courtesy of HerringboneLA, Eveleigh and BOA