Los Angeles | Where to Stay

THE BEVERLY HILLS HOTEL
9641 Sunset Boulevard, Beverly Hills
+1 310 276 2251

The “Pink Palace” has been around for over 100 years, and while it’s been renovated, it still remains faithful to the old Hollywood Glam it’s so famous for. Yes, it’s located on Sunset Boulevard, in the heart of Beverly Hills, but it’s also surrounded by 12 acres of lush gardens, making it a true haven.

CHATEAU MARMONT
8221 Sunset Boulevard, Hollywood
+ 1 323 656 1010

Another old school, Hollywood institution, this one by Hotelier extraordinaire Andre Balzac. It’s on the smaller side with only 63 rooms, (well, rooms, cottages and bungalows) but almost all of them are tricked out with full kitchens, living rooms and balconies or terraces, making them feel super homey. Oh, and it’s quiet – the Chateau was built as the first earthquake-proof building in LA, so each room has soundproof walls.

FAIRMONT MIRAMAR HOTEL AND BUNGALOWS
101 Wilshire Boulevard, Santa Monica
+ 1 310 576 7777

From the location (across the street from the Pacific and walking distance to all Santa Monica has to offer) to the rooms (clean and comfortable), to the Bungalows (perfect LA glam) to the service (gracious and friendly), this just might be one of my favorite places.

THE LINE
3515 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles
+1 213 381 7411

The Line is new on the LA hotel scene and can only be described as uber-hip and very cool.  Built by the same group responsible for The Nomad in NYC and Freehand Miami, everywhere you turn loos like a Pinterest post.  The interiors are by Sean Knibb (all handmade in his Venice Beach studio), the food by LA darling Roy Choi, and the hotel shop by Poketo. It is truly boutique hotel heaven.

THE LONDON WEST HOLLYWOOD AT BEVERLY HILLS
1020 N. San Vicente Boulevard, West Hollywood
+ 1 866 282 4560

It’s all about space here: The rooms are all suites, and the smallest clocks in at 725 square feet – that’s almost double the size of most standard hotel rooms. It’s also in a fantastic location and the concierge service can’t be beat.

THE PENINSULA BEVERLY HILLS
9882 South Santa Monica Boulevard, Beverly Hills
+1 310 551 2888

Yes, you can walk to Rodeo Drive from here. And to Century City. But really, it’s all about the rooftop pool, which has the most incredible views of the city skyline. The Peninsula is also home to The Living Room, famed for its afternoon tea service.

REGENCY BEVERLY WILSHIRE
9500 Wilshire Boulevard, Beverly Hills
+1 310 275 5200

The Reg Bev Wil as we like to call it, has been catering to the Glitterati since 1928. Such luminaries as Elvis Presley, John Lennon, Warren Beatty the Dalai Lama have all stayed at this Four Seasons hotel. And while it’s everything you’d expect from the chain, the hotel might be best known for being the place where Richard Gere and Julia Roberts played house in Pretty Woman.

SHUTTERS ON THE BEACH
1 Pico Boulevard, Santa Monica
+1 310 458 0030

The most famous of the Santa Monica beachfront hotels, Shutters on the Beach is a quintessential beach resort. The rooms are on the smaller side here, but they aren’t the reason you book – you stay here for the views, the location and the beautiful pool with direct beach access.

 

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Los Angeles | Where to Eat

By now it's pretty clear that much of my travels are planned based solely on restaurants I love or am dying to try. Los Angeles is no exception: there is so much great food happening there now, and it's such a great break from the New York dining scene. Here, some of my most recent favorites.


BESTIA
2121 7th Place, Los Angeles
+1 213 514 5724

The space feels more NYC than LA with raw, industrial finishes a raw copper bar top. The food, though, by LA-born, Israeli-raised Ore Menashe is multi-regional rustic Italian. Standouts are the Slow Roasted Lamb Neck with Arugula, Hazelnuts, Pickled Fennel, Dill, Salsa Verde and Pomegranate and the Cavatelli alla Norcina: ricotta dumplings with house-made pork sausage, black truffles and Grana Padano. And if you’re into sweets, they come courtesy of Menashe’s wife, partner and pastry chef Genevieve Gergis and they are spectacular.
 

BLUE PLATE OYSTERETTE
1355 Ocean Avenue, Santa Monica
+ 1 310 576 3474

Oysters, oysters and more oysters. And steamers. And lobster tacos. And bouillabaisse. You get the idea – it’s the perfect lunch spot: across the street from the beach in Santa Monica, plenty of outdoor tables and plenty of rose.
*NOTE: The same group also owns Blue Plate (1415 Montana Avenue) and Blue Plate Taco (1515 Ocean Avenue). Equally as good comfort food and tacos, respectively.
 

CAPO
1810 Ocean Avenue, Santa Monica
+ 1 310 394 5550

Capo is definitely on the fancier end of the dining spectrum, especially for Santa Monica, but the food - modern Italian - is as delicious as any I’ve had in Italy. Favorites are anything grilled in the fireplace and the pastas are perfection. The space, in a stand-alone house near the beach, is rustic yet elegant and the perfect place for a cozy dinner for two.
*NOTE: Dinner only

CASSIA
1314 7th Street,  Santa Monica
+ 1 310 393 6699

Part French Brasserie, part Asian eatery, Cassia has been getting RAVE reviews across the board and for good reason. The  menu is an eclectic mix of both countries: Chopped Escargot with Lemongrass Butter and Black Cod in Anchovy Broth, Chinese Romaine, Lychee Relish and Herb Salad are great examples of the perfect marriage of flavors and ideas.
 

CECCONIS WEST HOLLYWOOD
8764 Melrose Avenue, Los Angeles
+ 1 310 432 2000

We ended up here because some members of our group who shall remain nameless refused to go to Sur, and this stand by is just across the street. Having been to the Miami outpost, we knew the Italian menu would be solid (go for the pizzas and the spicy whole chicken for two), but what I didn’t know was that the room would be so beautiful. Glowy, luxe and perfectly LA.
 

CHARCOAL VENICE
425 Washington Boulevard, Venice
+ 1 310 751 6794

We ate here on our first night in LA, and I have to say it set the bar REALLY high.  A neighborhood restaurant, but so much more. The Chef, Josiah Citrin has two Michelin stars at his other restaurant Melisse, but at Charcoal the white tablecloths have been replaced with communal seating and family-style dining. The menu, which changes daily, is cooked almost exclusively over live fire, wood burning ovens, over charcoal, in the coals or in a Big Green Egg (get it? Charcoal). We ate the entire menu, literally, and while choosing favorites seems cruel and unusual, I would beg you to have the Cabbage Baked in the Embers, Yogurt, Sumac and Lemon Zest; the Smoked and Grilled Bone in Short Rib; the Beef Heart, Pickled Mustard Seed, Charred Celery, and Chives and the Aged Lamb Leg.
 

CHATEAU MARMONT
8221 Sunset Boulevard, Hollywood
+ 323 848 5908

It’s not the food that’s memorable here. Yes, it’s fine, but the real deal is the patio at lunch with incredible views of LA, and more often than not, some of Hollywood’s heaviest hitters.

FARMER'S MARKET AT THE GROVE
6333 W 3rd Street, Los Angeles
There are stalls upon stalls upon stalls of food vendors at The Farmer’s Market serving everything from pizza to kebabs. The two standouts for me, though, are these:

LOTERIA GRILL
Stall 322
+ 1 323 930 2211

The fare here is genuine Mexican, but it’s far from typical. The entire menu is unique, but the stars of the show are the tacos, specifically the new-style chicharron en salsa verde:  Pork Rinds stewed in a Spicy Tomatillo Sauce. Onion and Cilantro, Queso Fresco.

SHORTCAKE LA
Stall 316
+ 1 323 761 7976

After you stuff yourself with tacos, you need something sweet to wash it all down, so walk over to Short Cake and order any of their sweets (I’m partial to the brownies). And their coffee is extraordinarily delicious.

GJELINA
1429 Abbot Kinney Boulevard, Venice
+ 1 310 450 1429

Dark, moody, delicious and oh so hip, Gjelina serves the kind of food you want to go back for time and time again. For starters, the menu is huge (it’s also printed in the smallest font on the planet, so bring your readers), and incredibly varied. There's an entire section devoted to vegetables (all of which are elevated to be more than just vegetables), a large selection of charcuterie and cheeses, amazing wood fired pizzas and a great mix of small and large plates. The food tends towards New American with great combos (think Santa Barbara Uni with Horseradish, Chive, Lemon and Sea Salt or Heirloom Bean & Herb Stew with Freekah, Crispy Shallot & Tomatillo Salsa). Lines are long and tables hard to come by, so make sure to make a res beforehand or prepare to be relegated to standing against the back wall until you can grab a seat.

GJUSTA
320 Sunset Avenue, Venice
+ 1 310 314 0320

Gjelina’s little sister, this counter-service only café / bakery / deli has some of the best and most inventive food I’ve ever had. Top of the list goes to the Bialy Egg Sandwich with breakfast sausage, fried egg, cheddar and harissa ketchup; followed by the Porchetta Melt, a porchetta laden baguette with rapini, onions and fontina; and the Banh Mi Americano, with paté, testa, pickled daikon-carrot-cucumber, cilantro, chili dressing and garlic aioli. Breakfast is served all day.

HINOKI & THE BIRD
10 Century Drive, Los Angeles
+ 1 310 552 1200

One of the things I love most about LA is the fact that some of the greatest restaurants are in the most unassuming places. Hinoki & the Bird is just that place: a fantastic travel-inspired eatery buried in the basement of a residential building in Century City.  But don’t be fooled: the indoor/outdoor space will transport you, as will the food, which is Asian-inspired, super flavorful and light. The Hinoki scented Black Cod with Dashi and Shishito is a signature dish and shouldn’t be missed.

HOTS KITCHEN
844 Hermosa Avenue, Hermosa Beach
+ 1 310 318 2939

We made the drive to Hermosa Beach simply because the Chef  is the person responsible for ending the foie gras ban in the State of California, and anyone who has the balls to fight for foie gets our vote. What we found was surprising: a sort of sports bar meets fish shack on a non-descript stretch of Hermosa Avenue (although there’s a great tattoo parlor just next door). But the food – WOW. It’s all about the tacos (after the foie gras, of course) and what tacos they are! The menu includes over 50 choices, with plenty of standards mixed in with the much more adventurous such as The Hanukkah Taco (chicken, noodles, matzo balls and matzo), Fried Chicken (mashed potato, cornbread nuggets and gravy) or the Thai Pesto Cauliflower (roasted cauliflower, Thai basil pesto, peanuts and fresno chilis). It's well worth the drive and after lunch you can walk it off on th ebeach where you'll also see some killer beach volleyball.
 

HUCKLEBERRY CAFÉ
1014 Wilshire Boulevard, Santa Monica
+1 310 451 2311

Huckleberry Bakery & Café is owned by the same people behind Cassia and the food, while totally different, is just as good. This is the perfect spot for breakfast, although with limited seating and long lines, I’d advise getting there early. You can’t get much more California than the menu here, and it’s all clean, healthy and delicious without hitting you over the head with virtue. We had Green Eggs & Ham with prosciutto, pesto and arugula on a housemade english muffin, Brisket Hash with two sunny side up eggs and arugula, Poached Eggs over farmers’ market vegetables with pesto, and Quinoa with Farmers’ Market vegetables with two sunny side up eggs.
 

THE PENTHOUSE AT THE HUNTLEY HOTEL
1111 2nd Street, Santa Monica
+1 310 394 5454

I have no idea how the Huntley is as a hotel, but what I do know is that The Penthouse, the restaurant on the roof, is an excellent place for brunch. The food is good with all of the standard fare, but it’s the view that’s staggering. The hotel is probably the closest thing to a high rise Santa Monica has, and the dining room has views for days. Call ahead and ask for a booth overlooking the Pacific. I also hear it’s a fantastic spot for a sunset drink.
 

THE IVY
113 N. Robertson Boulevard, Los Angeles
+1 (310) 274-8303

IVY AT THE SHORE
1535 Ocean Avenue, Santa Monica
+1 310 393 3113

The Ivy is an LA institution. Long before I ever visited this city, I knew about The Ivy and it doesn’t disappoint. With a menu that runs the gamut from raw bar to my favorite grilled vegetable salad to ribs; from fish tacos to artichokes and pasta, it’s a little all over the place but the food is solid. It’s also THE place to see and be seen, especially on the terrace at lunch, which overlooks  N. Robertson with all of its incredible shopping and people watching.
*NOTE: Don’t miss the outpost, Ivy at the Shore in Santa Monica, with the same menu, floral-clad waiters and old school clientele.
 

JINKY'S CAFÉ
1447 2nd Street, Santa Monica, 
+1 310 747 6533

There are five locations around the city, but the one we ate at almost daily on our trip was in Santa Monica. Basically a Mexican-inspired diner, the menu is humongous and replete with every breakfast item you could EVER want (yes, they even offer s'mores pancakes). I’m partial to eggs in the morning and the huevos con pollo (with grilled chicken breast and salsa verde), is my idea of heaven. My other idea of heaven is having tater tots on the side.
 

LITTLE DOOR
246 26th Street, Santa Monica
+1 310 310 8064

8164 West 3rd Street, West Hollywood
+1 323 951 1210

Fantastic French Moroccan with two locations, and  if you like a good Couscous Royale (with lamb, chicken and morgues), then you’ll love Little Door.

MALIBU FARM
pier café: + 1 310 456 1112
restaurant: +1 310 456 8850

When you think about Malibu, this is probably what you picture: a perfectly laid back, casual, super healthy café perched on a pier in the Pacific Ocean. Malibu Farm is really just everything you want it to be. There’s the café with counter service only (burgers, salads) and a new restaurant that is far from formal, but has an expanded menu and table service.

NOBU MALIBU
22706 Pacific Coast Highway, Malibu
+1 310 317 9140

It’s Nobu so there’s no need to talk about the food, which while I love it, is still stuck in the 90s. What I do need to talk about is the location, which is maybe the most perfect I have ever seen. Super sleek and modern and literally on top of the ocean, it’s the perfect place to spend an afternoon. I’ve heard it’s great for dinner, too, but my money is on lunch when you can sit in the sun, drink rosé and eat sushi until you burst.

POT
The LINE Hotel
3515 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles
+ 1 213 368 3030

Roy Choi is one of the LA cool kids, and all of his restaurants have an interesting edge to them. Pot, his newest in The Line Hotel, is yummy Korean, and based on – you guessed it – pots. They’re all great but my fave would have to be the Old School - marinated rib eye bulgogi, noodles, kimchi and scallion.

REPUBLIQUE
624 S La Brea Avenue, Los Angeles
+1 310 362 6115

All I can say about this place is pan drippings. Seriously – you can order bread and the pan drippings from their incredible roast chicken. Please, just do it. And when you’re done, eat the chicken, too.

SUGAR FISH
With 10 locations across the city, you’ll never have to go without the freshest sushi around. It’s Nowzawa-style, which means the preparation is based on a commitment to a number of principles:

• Quality starts with the best fish every morning.
• Simplicity and balance should be used to accent the flavor and texture of the fish. Sushi should not be stringy, chewy, tough, or fishy.
• Rice should be warm and loosely packed so it melts in the mouth

I kind of think ALL sushi restaurants should abide by these laws. Don’t you?

SUR
606 N Robertson Boulevard,  West Hollywoo
+ 1 310 289 2824

As I mentioned earlier, we didn’t eat here. But I wish we had for obvious reasons.

Los Angeles | What to Do

THE BROAD
221 S Grand Avenue
Downtown Los Angeles
+1 213 232 6200

The Broad (pronounced road with a b) is the newest contemporary art museum on the scene in LA, and it was everything I hoped it would be: a collection as impressive as the building itself (by Diller Scofidio + Renfro in collaboration with Gensler) small enough to get through without feeling overwhelmed (the building is 120,000 square feet, but only houses two floors of gallery space), and has renewed the public’s interest in contemporary art (in LA at least, where the lines to get in still snake around the block). Admission is free and you can get tickets ahead of time online, but as far as I can tell, those tickets are “sold out” months in advance. So here is a SUPER important Select 7 tip: if you go to the gift shop and spend $75, you get two same-day tickets. So yes, it takes away the “free” admisision, but if you’re only in town for a quick visit and don’t want to wait or the day is sold out, this is a good option that they don’t promote.

THE GETTY
1200 Getty Center Drive, Los Angeles
+1 310 440 7300

I can’t tell you anything about the art housed here because I never went inside – it’s mostly pre-20th-century European paintings, drawings, illuminated manuscripts, sculpture and decorative arts  – which just isn’t really my thing. But it doesn’t matter because a visit here is MUCH more about the the gardens, the buildings (by Richard Meier) and the staggering views of LA . We opted out of the trolley ride from the main entrance area up to the museum, and walked through the sculpture gardens up the hill (it’s about a ¾ mile walk) to the museum instead, where we spent countless hours wandering through the exterior, looking at the view and just enjoying the day. The trolley is a fun ride, though, so we took it back down.  Next time I vow to go inside to see some of the art, but either way this is really a don’t miss

THE GROVE
189 The Grove Drive, Los Angeles
+1 323 900 8080

The Grove is something of an enigma to me: it’s basically a giant outdoor mall that looks like the Disney Land of shopping (35 stores, 10 restaurants, 8 snack shops and a movie theater). But people in LA LOVE The Grove! And I have to admit, that while I may not understand it, I loved it, too. The movie theater is the most glamorous I’ve ever seen with plush carpeting and vintage sconces and chandeliers, and while the shopping is pretty mainstream, it’s still shopping, so there’s that. And The Farmer’s Market, which is attached (less of a Farmer’s Market, more of an outdoor food hall) has some great options for terrific food, too.

HIKING IN LA
You can’t go to LA and NOT take at least one hike. A city built between mountains and the ocean, you’ll want to get some height so you can see what this place is really all about. You can google "hikes in LA" and get a ton of answers, but some of the most popular are Runyon CanyonTemescal CanyonLos Liones Trail  (there’s a great bench midway to the top with some breathtaking views) and the Beachwood Canyon Secret Stairs  that will take you as close to the Hollywood Sign as you can get.

LOS ANGELES COUNTY MUSEUM OF ART (LACMA)
5905 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles
+1 323 857 6000

The exterior of this museum might be more beautiful than the interior, although there are some pretty spectacular views from insIde the galleries as well.

MALIBU PIER
23000 Pacific Coast Highway, Malibu
+1 888 310 PIER

This pier doesn’t have the amusement park appeal of the Santa Monica Pier, which for many is actually a blessIng. This one is all laid back Malibu, with the delicious and perfectly curated Malibu Farm, a fantastic shop at the end, and plenty of people fishing off the pier, which makes for great conversation with Malibu locals. The pier also offers Whale Watching and Coastal Tours.

PETERSEN AUTOMOTIVE MUSEUM
6060 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles
+1 323 930 CARS

This museum just underwent a huge renovation and whether or not you’re into cars is besides the point. It’s incredible: cars from every era, including a room dedicated to only silver models, which you can imagine makes for quite a beautiful spectacle. There’s also a room devoted to “famous” cars: Walter White’s Pontiac Aztec lives there and of all the things to see, I think this might top the list.

SANTA MONICA PIER
200 Santa Monica Pier, Santa Monica
+1 310 394 8042

Like Coney Island but considerably smaller, the Santa Monica Pier was built in 1909 (in fact its original purpose was to run treated sewage into the ocean via a pipeline underneath the pier). Since then its undergone many collapses, rebuilds and renovations, and is now home to dozens of vendors hawking tourist-y goods, a few food stalls and restaurants, and a full amusement park. It’s pretty cool, and the view of it from anywhere along the beach is iconic.

 

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Los Angeles | What to Buy

Clearly I can’t actually cover all of the shopping to be had in Los Angeles, but what  I can do is just point you in the direction of a few of my favorite spots.

ABBOT KINNEY BOULEVARD, Venice
Named for the man who built the Venice Canals, Abbot Kinney is a mecca of cool bars, hip restaurants and super chic shops. My favorites:

AVIATOR NATION
1227 Abbot Kinney
+1 310 396 9100

'70s-inspired California lifestyle sweats and t’s that are super soft and fairly priced. But they are so of the place that to go back to real life without something from this throwback shop would be a total shame.

BURRO
1409 Abbot Kinney
+ 1 310 450 6288

You’ll find it all here – from cute stud earrings and other inexpensive jewelry to cozy sweats, knick-knacks, beautiful coffee table books and housewares.

CAYANA
1140 Abbot Kinney
+ 1 844 326 6005

Best lightweight cashmere scarves and leather totes.

CURRENT / ELLIOT
1132 Abbot Kinney
+ 1 424 291 3300

Great jeans and other denim stuff. Their boyfriend jeans are slim enough so you don’t look huge.

ILLESTEVA
1329 Abbot Kinney
+ 1 310 581 0800

Best. Sunglasses. Ever.

MARINE LAYER
1144 Abbot Kinney
+ 1 310 314 4041

Super soft shirts.

SUNDRY
1415 Abbot Kinney
+ 1 310 310 3593

More cozy clothes. See the theme here?

THE THIRD STREET PROMENADE, Santa Monica
No cars allowed, great (but more mainstream,) shops and a real Farmer’s Market on Sundays and Wednesdays.

THE GROVE
189 The Grove Drive, Los Angeles
Nothing too surprising at this Disney-like open-air shopping mall. But the kids love it, and it’s fun to walk around.

MALIBU COUNTRY MART
Malibu strikes again with the coolest “mall” ever. Restaurants include Mr. Chow and shops such as LA faves Ron Herman and Madison have outposts here. It’s totally worth a stop.

VIOLET GREY
8452 Melrose Place,  Los Angeles
+1 323 782 9700

I fell in love with the Violet Grey website (a curated site of “the industry’s best beauty edit) so was even more excited to stop into their only brick and mortar store. I wasn’t disappointed. On the high end Melrose Place, the shop is luxurious and hip and chock full of every amazing beauty product you could ever want.

 

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