I had some wonderful meals on my last two trips to LA. Here are my recommendations:
Ray’s and Stark Bar: Located at LACMA, this is the perfect place for lunch. There is great outdoor seating overlooking the museum courtyard. Esquire Magazine ranked it as one of the best new restaurants of 2011. The decor is sleek and contemporary.
Katsuya: For sushi don’t miss the sleek Katsuya, located at 6300 Hollywood Blvd. The food is great and the decor, designed by Philippe Starck, is attractive and a big draw to the young crowd.
Chateau Marmont Hotel and Bungalows: Located at 8221 Sunset Blvd. in Hollywood, this is old Hollywood at its best. From the 1920’s, it was modeled after an elegant Loire Valley chateau in France. You can stay in one of the rooms or bungalows or simply enjoy lunch, coffee or tea in the wonderful outdoor restaurant on the garden terrace.
Shutters on the Beach: Located right on the beach in Santa Monica, this is a wonderful luxury boutique hotel. I recommend Coast, which is their casual beachfront cafe and bar. It is the perfect place for a great lunch on the beach and people watching at its finest. The hotel is at One Pico Blvd. After lunch walk along the beach to the famed Santa Monica Pier from 1909. There are rides, a carousel, arcades, food and shopping.
Empress Pavilion: Located in LA’s Chinatown, on the second floor at 988 Hill Street in Bamboo Plaza, this is a good spot for dim sum for lunch.
Little Tokyo is a colorful area of downtown with a number of bars, restaurants, museums and stores. Loved my lunch at the sushi bar at Oomasa Sushi at 100 Japanese Village Plaza, near 1st St. and Central Ave.
Another notable restaurant is Hosteria Mozza on Melrose Avenue, owned by the team including Nancy Silverton and Joe Bastianich.
The Original Farmers Market: At 6333 W. 3rd St., this is the original farmers market with restaurants, gourmet food items, groceries and stores selling other merchandise.