Some of my Favorite Places to Eat in LA

The crazy amount of social gatherings this past week allowed me to experience some new restaurants in Los Angeles, and to visit some of my tried and true favorites. Here they are along with a mini review:

Dolce on Melrose (Weho/Beverly Hills) — Ashton Kutcher’s trendy West Hollywood eatery is a great bargain when the excellent menu is half price on Monday. Celebrities, amazing food, and a hot atmosphere make it one of the best deals in LA. But you have to ask for the half price deal or they will charge you the regular price. Calamari for $4. Veal saltimboco for $10. Filet mignon for $14. And that’s just the beginning.

Ketchup (Weho/Sunset Strip) — This is the newest restaurant in the Dolce group of eateries. The restaurant pays homage to American food with its own tasty take on favorites such as mac ‘n cheese, ribs, burgers, hot dogs and steak. It sounds simple, but the food really is creative, excellent and served in large portions. The atmosphere is among the most unusual and trendy in LA with its hot red interior and its — I just have to be honest — very attractive waiters and waitresses. However, I am not sure that it is worth the price on a regular night. But Sundays are half price night, and that price point is just perfect for food and atmosphere that is above average and entertaining. Again, you have to ask for the discount on Sunday — you heard it here on Meat and Three!For ten dollars each, Kevin and I shared ribs, mac n cheese, and some onion rings. Sure, McDonald’s is cheaper. But McDonald’s doesn’t have atmosphere, a wait staff that is easy on the eyes, cool music, and a Sunset Strip address.

AOC (Weho/Beverly Hills) — Hands down, probably the best dining experience I have had in Los Angeles. The restaurant always makes the top lists for LA, but I had yet to try it until now. The wine list, the selections of small plates, and the service are impeccable. The staff is willing to allow you to sample wine options before purchasing, and the accompanying food menu was to die for. Billy and I had a three cheese plate of some of the best cheeses I’ve ever tasted with fresh bread and sun dried tomato spread, then some dates stuffed with goat cheese and wrapped in bacon. And that was just the beginning. Then there were lamb skewers, rabbit ragout, and sweet potatoes with bacon and spinach. Hungry yet? The restaurant is in the Nappa style, and it is a must for anyone who appreciates gourmet food and a knowledgeable staff.

I visited some of my old standbys this week:

Joey’s Cafe (Weho) — This cafe is “the” only place where Tara, Tony and I have our “Sex in the City” /after church brunch (some of you will get that — don’t worry otherwise). The food is as attractive as the crowd. My favorite: the breakfast burrito and the chicken fingers are the best in town.

Paradise Cove Cafe (Malibu) — One of my all time favorite places owned by my friends, the Gersons. This casual cafe has great food, splittable portions, reasonable prices, and a beautiful beach location on the premises of “The Rockford Files” set. My favorite: the calamari. It’s worth the subsequent heart attack.

Bella Cucina (Downtown) — This small family owned Italian restaurant near Staples Center serves up some of the best Italian in Los Angeles, and at great prices. You know it’s going to be good when the menu is only in Italian. The spinach and ricotta ravioili — worth the drive. If you’re going to a concert or game at Staples, don’t miss this one. Guilty pleasure: the homemade cheesecake.

Casa Escobar (Malibu) — This new Mexican restaurant has the best mole I’ve had in Los Angeles, excellent salsas, a nice atmosphere.

I will stop there — I’m getting hungry. If you’re in LA, I hope you enjoy!


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