Another game day weekend, this one in Los Angeles. People always ask me about places in Los Angeles because I am there so often. Like any place else, there are the favored regulars I visit while I’m there. But no matter what the current habit, my favorite restaurant in the world has not been dethroned. After twelve years in business, Bottega Louie shows no signs of wear, despite the deluge of people that pass through there daily. It is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, with a retail section open for take out.
The cavernous space has three sections to it: the retail, which you see upon entering, and a small cafe which includes a bar. This is grab-a-table-that-opens style, so hovering is sometimes required here. This area also includes an open kitchen where salads are prepared. This is interesting to watch. Because everything coming out of Louie is artful as well as delicious.
Before entering into the main dining room, you must first arrive at a hostess station, where there is always someone to give you bad news. There is always a wait at this restaurant, but the retail section can entertain you.
The main dining room serves wonderful pizzas, which you can also see being prepared in the back of the room by the enormous pizza oven. There are excellent pastas on the menu, as well as sandwiches and salads. Fresh-cut fries, of course. Desserts are in the retail case, which you can select ahead and tell the waiter, who will fetch it for you. All of this is not expensive. We have some sort of magical check number here of $78, which we hit no matter what we order, and that is for four or five people. Pizzas average $22 per, but they are worth it. They are delicious and large. Pastas are not served till after three on weekends. Special brunch menu, but pizza is always on.
Another favorite here is the JG Rooftop Bar (Tom pictured here) at the Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills. JG stands for Jean-Georges Vongerichten, so fair warning, it is pricey. As is his restaurant downstairs, but both are worth it.
We love Spago. We love Wolfgang. We even love his $25 hamburger. We’d go here just for the bread basket. Not the celeb scene it was in the Eighties, but it’s still there and still full for a reason.
The mall at Century City is no ordinary mall. It’s condensed Beverly Hills shopping. Here you will find the west coast outpost of Eataly, and a Michelin-starred dumpling house called Din Tai Fung. Always an hour wait on that, but the mall will keep you busy. So will the dumpling makers, who are stuffed into a tiny glass room feverishly crafting these delights.
These are the favorites, but a few others are:
Malibu - Nobu, Malibu Farm
Santa Monica - Water Grill
Venice - Gjelina
Pasadena - Royce Steakhouse