Luca Giorgetti, the owner of Luca on Sunset, is committed to making his casual Italian eatery the best it can possibly be. The menu beautifully fuses the comfort foods of Italy with the fresh produce harvests of California, and regulars rave about the meals here. When you step in, you’ll be immediately charmed by the minimal but welcoming decor. The entire restaurant was built using eco-friendly materials, and growing plants all around the dining room give it a verdant vibe.
Start your meal with the kale salad with almonds and parmesan cheese, or go for the excellent bruschetta. The pizzas are made fresh and expertly topped, and gluten-free dough is available for those with dietary restrictions. Don't skip the smoothies, which are widely regarded to be some of the best in town. Luca on Sunset also brews kombucha in-house; this fizzy fermented drink has quite a following among health buffs, and on weekends it can cause a line to form out the door!
Ben Canter and his brothers had been manning the counter of their deli in Jersey City, New Jersey, for five years—familiarizing faces of regulars and catching their culinary stride—when the stock market plummeted in 1929. Like many, they were forced to scrape together the little they had retained, a mere $500, and head west. Los Angeles in 1931 wasn't a delicatessen owner's dream location, but they opened Canter's Deli nonetheless.
Throughout the next 83 years, three generations of Canters would do their parts to help the displaced deli fit into its Hollywood setting. They moved to their current location at the old Esquire Theatre, added a cocktail lounge named the Kibitz Room, opened a new store in the "O" of the Hollywood sign, and watched their doors open to a who's who of celebrities, including Marilyn Monroe, Jack Benny, Elizabeth Taylor, Wilt Chamberlain, Prince, and the band members from Guns N' Roses.
The Canters overhauled their menu in 2012 to reflect the changing times and West Coast tastes. Among the newcomers are panini-style deli melts (all less than $10) and updated burgers such as the Black and Blue, which comes loaded with thick-cut bacon. The best East Coast staples remain, of course. A good example is the hot corned-beef Reuben served on rye bread that's double-baked in-house and grilled to perfection. Available 24 hours a day, the expansive selection of deli fare and baked goods has garnered an equally expansive amount of press, including the monte cristo’s designation as one of Esquire's Best Sandwiches in America.
As a microcosm of the deli's convenience and culture, the staff validates parking for up to 90 minutes in its parking lot, where muralist Art Mortimer's seven-panel collage-style mural depicts Jewish history in Los Angeles.
Fresh seafood, meats, and fresh produce local to southern California take center stage at The Hungry Cat. The cool, modern decor includes a big raw bar, and the outdoor seating will make you forget you’re in the city.
Here, meats and seafoods are smoked in-house, and wines and local beers rotate regularly. For lunch or dinner, there’s nothing tastier than the oysters on the half shell, and the classic “Pug Burger” always gets big raves with regulars. Another popular time to come is for the weekend brunch.
The Hungry Cat is open Mondays through Fridays for lunch, and every day for dinner.
The Hungry Cat
1535 Vine Street
Hollywood, CA 90028
There are tons of places in West Hollywood to see and be seen, but one that locals unanimously recommend is Craig’s on Melrose. Owner Craig Susser was the long-time manager of Dan Tana’s, one of Tinseltown’s most notorious celebrity hangouts. When that place was sold, he set out on his own in 2011 and the end result is Craig’s.
Here, the menu is upscale American comfort food that uses clever ingredients to produce large, tasty plates. Some of the most popular appetizers include the fried calamari and oysters on the half shell, but just about everything is good. For entrees, the baby back ribs with crisp shoestring fries win raves, as does the Big Al’s cheeseburger on a Portugese bun with spicy mayo, cheddar, bacon and pickles. The signature dish is probably the Meldman’s honey truffle chicken, fried to perfection and served with mashed potatoes and sautéed spinach.
Prices are a little high, but the glitterati that frequent the place don’t care.
A French restaurant that opened in September 2012, Gorge is owned by two chefs with serious pedigrees. Elia Aboumrad was a finalist on Top Chef and worked under Joel Robuchon in Paris, becoming the first woman to ever advance to the position of sous chef. Uyen Nguyen studied pastry in France and worked with Guy Savoy among other top-rated chefs.
The chef's collaboration for Gorge is spectacular, with a focus on high-end charcuterie. The head cheese here will make you rethink everything you know about the cut, made with pork heads simmered in broth for six hours and then set and spread across a fresh baguette. The smoked oyster mousse is also great, as are the poached endives in vanilla bean sauce. Don’t miss the autumn pear St. Honore dessert.
Off Vine is a hidden gem that captures the charm of old Hollywood near Park La Brea. Housed in a turn-of-the-century craftsman-style bungalow, this Los Angeles restaurant invites you to escape the hustle and bustle of the city and seek refuge for your taste buds. Off Vine’s outdoor dining area provides a retreat with lush greens and flowers in a vine-wrapped garden equipped with heat lamps to keep things cozy when the weather is cool. Follow your nose to the ballroom-like staircase inside, and you’ll find a romantic fireplace and the succulent scents of California-inspired comfort food.
In its a simple elegance, Off Vine serves lunch, dinner, and weekend brunch. With bottomless mimosas, banana or pumpkin bread, and awesome egg and griddle options (among others), it’s no wonder Off Vine’s a popular brunch spot. For dinner, regulars recommend the chicken pot pie and the Maple Leaf Farm duck breast, a tender and tasty cut enhanced by a bing cherry Grand Marnier sauce. The menu also features grilled meats, pasta, seafood, and even vegan options.
Visit Off Vine's website to learn more!
Public Domain/Public Domain
There are all kinds of Thai restaurants in Los Angeles, from authentic strip mall dives to high-end fusion spots. West Hollywood’s Night + Market leans more toward the second side of that spectrum, but don’t be fooled; the food here can go toe-to-toe with the best. Chef Kris Yenbamroong has built the restaurant from the ground up to deliver a stylish, delicious sample of Bangkok street food. Since opening the restaurant, he’s won raves from the press and the public alike.
Start your meal here with the incredible nuoc mam chicken wings with spicy rooster sauce or the grilled fatty hog collar with chili dip, made in the Northern style. For entrees, some favorites include the rich, delicious slow-braised pork hock and the salt-crusted whole fish, stuffed with herbs and grilled. The kitchen’s a bit small so service can be a little slow, but it’s well worth the wait for food this good.
Night + Market
9041 W. Sunset Boulevard
West Hollywood, CA 90069
Cruzer Pizza and Pasta serves fine vegan Italian fare. Even though Cruzer Pizza uses no animal products in its menu, substitute toppings include a variety options that taste just like the real thing. Cruzer’s uses dairy free Daiya cheese in all its items, a staple in vegan cooking for its likeness to real cheese products. Expect all the pizza shop favorites, with starter items like potato skins, vegetarian meatballs, and cheese topped breadsticks. Sausages include vegan selections of classic items like cheese steak, sausage, and meatball. You can customize your pizza with Cruzer’s great selection of animal free toppings. Imitation sausage and pepperoni go great with crisp veggies and gooey vegan cheese. Even the most ardent meat lover can agree that Cruzer’s offers the best meat and dairy free pizza in town.
Cruzer Pizza and Pasta
4449 Prospect Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90027
Fast food is also good food at Tender Greens, a "farm-to-plate" concept restaurant in Hollywood. Here, most of the produce used is picked fresh every day from a local farm in Oxnard, but Tender Greens also partners with other farms and suppliers in the area.
You'll appreciate the modern ambiance, which is decorated with many recycled materials. The menu items are called “slow food, done fast.” You'll always encounter delicious house-made soups, big salads, sandwiches, and entrees. The Backyard Steak is a good bet, as is the Salt and Pepper Chicken.
Open seven days a week, from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m., Tender Greens lets you eat healthy without feeling hungry.