Los Angeles, the world epicenter of the entertainment industry and rife with glitterati, gets glitterier as out-of-town celebrities descend upon the City of Angels for Awards Season. Thus, Hollywood’s favorite dining rooms become crowded with industry flacks mixing business with pleasure. Here are the top places to spot a favorite actor or musician, or simply sample the (delicious) lifestyles of the rich and famous. By Katie McCarthy
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Lucky you, because the best place to spot a celebrity may be at the restaurant of your very own hotel. L.A.’s luxury lodgings are packed to the brim with famous faces this time of year, and certain hotel dining rooms, mostly in Beverly Hills, are great places to get a glimpse on the schmoozing that happens after the red carpet has been rolled up.
The Polo Lounge at the Beverly Hills Hotel and Bungalows has long been a top spot for Hollywood power dining, hosting Will Rogers and Charlie Chaplin in Hollywood’s Golden Age and stars such as Gwen Stefani more recently. Sitting at its handsome wood bar, reminiscent of a bygone era and framed by black-and-white photographs of polo players, might inspire you to revive the tradition of the three-martini lunch. Studio executives would probably riot if the McCarthy salad (served since 1948) is ever dropped from the menu. Also at the hotel is The Fountain Coffee Room, whose soda fountain counter is an ideal place to enjoy a more casual repast.
Entertainment types love a good steakhouse, perhaps none more than Cut at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel, enjoyed by stars such as Sofia Vergara. An entree of the superfine Wagyu beef at Wolfgang Puck’s sleek eatery may be one of L.A.’s most decadent—and most expensive—plates, but the unbelievably tender meat is a dish to remember. Nonbeef options include big eye tuna tartare atop togarashi crisps.
Puck’s newest hotel dining room in L.A. is at the renovated Hotel Bel-Air, one of the celebrity set’s favorite hideaways in the ultraposh neighborhood northwest of Beverly Hills. At Wolfgang Puck at Hotel Bel-Air, the father of California cuisine dabbles in Asian and Mediterranean flavors and salutes his Austrian heritage in dishes such as crispy veal wiener schnitzel. Cocktails at the bar are tops, including Monroe’s Passion, named for former hotel guest Marilyn and with a fiery-sweet combo of passion fruit rum, ginger juice and chili syrup.
In Beverly Hills’ chichi Golden Triangle, the Montage Beverly Hills is an industry favorite, particularly since a chapter of of Scott Conant’s Scarpetta opened there. Fans such as Rihanna enjoy the chef’s famous tomato-basil spaghetti and soft polenta with truffled mushrooms.
However, the Chateau Marmont might be the ultimate celebrity hotel hang; stars such as Lindsay Lohan have made homes there, and Sofia Coppola used it as the setting of her film Somewhere. Gossip mags have been known to send their reporters to stake out the hotel’s dining room and bar, and chef Carolynn Spence makes them linger with comfort dishes such as lamb shepherd’s pie and poached lobster with potato leek ravioli.