The h.wood Group—the popular hospitality brand behind Hollywood hot spots such as The Nice Guy and Bootsy Bellows—has opened its first restaurant on the Westside. Located in Santa Monica Canyon directly next to SHOREbar (another h.wood establishment) and down the street from star-studded Italian eatery Giorgio Baldi, Mason is a 14-table jewel box designed to feel like a private supper club. The interiors by L.A.-based John Sofio of Built, Inc. are sleek and sexy with dark wood-paneled walls, black tufted banquettes and a back-lit art deco-style bar. The cuisine is overseen by chef David Johns, formerly of The Rose in Venice, and includes steakhouse staples like beef tartare and a 25-ounce dry-aged ribeye, alongside dishes such as lobster spinach cavatelli and decadent Dover sole.
Chef Adam Perry Lang’s barbecue pop-ups at the Jimmy Kimmel backlot drew a cult following, and his full-fledged temple to the carnivorous crafts at Hollywood’s historic Taft Building is now doing the same. His reverent approach to protein carries through to every last detail, including forging his own Damascus knives. (Which, by the way, will cost you a cool $950 if they just happen to go “missing” from your table.) Tearing into his behemoth pork chop, first brined and then smoked, is nothing short of a transcendental experience. And did we mention the hedonistically creamy mashed potatoes that give Joël Robuchon a run for his money? APL also recently launched a brand-new hyperlocal, seasonal menu based on California produce that complements the signature beef offerings beautifully.
Whether it’s the Malibu or Beverly Hills location, a trip to this L.A. staple is always a treat. For nearly two decades, Mastro’s has been offering totally over the top seafood towers and perfectly prepared bone-in ribeye steaks. And even in this casual era of dining in Los Angeles, they still hold a strict dress code. (No shorts or T-shirts, please.) But that’s not to say you can’t have a more relaxed experience at their newly remodeled rooftop Penthouse. Whatever you do, save room for the butter cake, with its totally crave-worthy molten center that’ll keep you daydreaming until your next visit.
Rose Avenue is set to get its own steakhouse this fall courtesy of restaurant vets Paul Hibler, Jeff Goodman and Bruce Horwitz. The indoor-outdoor dining area—housed inside the historic location of the former Ranch Market—includes a horseshoe-shaped bar that opens onto Rose, perfect for enjoying a craft cocktail or a vino from the 200-plus wine list. Local produce, fresh seafood and mindfully sourced meats will be served along with decadent sides, many of which are cooked over an almond-wood fire.
Wolfgang Puck said he was going to reinvent the steakhouse, and he has. With the help of acclaimed designer-architect Richard Meier, Puck has created a bright, airy and casual steakhouse with a glorious exhibition kitchen. The steaks are, hands down, the best on the West Coast, and possibly the world.
Beverly Wilshire, Beverly Hills (A Four Seasons Hotel), Beverly Hills
THE GRILL ON THE ALLEY
Easily mistaken for the William Morris Endeavor Entertainment’s lunchroom, The Grill is crawling with Hollywood agents and their clients. Classic chophouse fare is the draw, including a legendary Cobb salad, big steaks, fat burgers, grilled fish and chicken potpie.
THE TOWER BAR
The Old Hollywood style dining room at this low-key celebrity hangout tucked inside the Sunset Tower Hotel (it’s Bugsy Siegel’s former apartment) is the place to be, where seemingly everyone is ordering the salads (iceberg wedges), juicy namesake burgers or classic skirt steak. Remember to follow the rules listed at the bottom of the menu: “No cellphones. No photographs.”
Vinny Dotolo and Jon Shook have built a national following at this modest little restaurant that serves outstanding, farmers market-driven, American fare. Expect chicken liver toast and sirloin carpaccio alongside foie gras and tuna carpaccio.
JON & VINNY’S
The moment you step into Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo’s Scandinavian-style shrine to East Coast Italian fare, you’re immediately embraced as part of the family. Wood-grilled veggies, perfectly charred pizzas (try the fresh burrata and tomato L.A. Woman), housemade pastas and flavorful meatballs with Gjusta garlic bread are just some of the highlights. Spring for a bottle of wine from the in-shop wine store and make sure to leave room for dessert: a jam-filled bomboli or a refreshing swirl of soft serve from Strauss Family Creamery.
Brentwood and Fairfax District
The Mozza complex keeps expanding and the newest member of the club is all about carnivores. Housed in the former Scuola di Pizza space, Chad Colby dishes out an array of meat-centric options, from the massive 42-ounce bistecca fiorentina to an entire line of handcrafted, Colby-cured pork products. Even the Little Gem salad comes with a vinaigrette made with bacon.
The upscale osteria from celebrity chefs Nancy Silverton and Mario Batali is justifiably one of the toughest reservations in town and is the creamy epicenter of L.A.’s infatuation with burrata cheese. The Italian wine program, headed by co-owner Joseph Bastianich and David Rosoff, ranks among the country’s finest.
Walter and Margarita Manzke produce stunning French fare in the former Campanile space. Buttery escargot is topped with pastry puff pouffes and housemade terrines, pates and charcuterie come with the best baguettes in town. Wines are expertly chosen, and cocktails well-crafted to round things out.
624 S. La Brea Ave.
L’ANTICA PIZZERIA DA MICHELE
Famed Naples pizzeria has opened its first U.S. location, right in the heart of Hollywood. Hidden off the main drag in the former Café des Artistes space, the indoor-outdoor restaurant has a festive, romantic vibe that’s perfect for couples, families or large groups of friends. Book a table on the magical back patio and dig into head chef Antonio Giordano’s less obvious dishes, like the gnocco fritto (fried bread topped with burrata and prosciutto di carpegna) or any of the housemade pastas.
This dark little cavern epitomizes the casual style and flair of the Hollywood Hills. The pizzas are crispy and chewy, and the pastas are terrific. If you’re a tabletop Picasso, your doodles just might make it onto the wall.
This diminutive French bistro is the sophomore effort from dream team Ludo Lefebvre, Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo (who also own and operate Trois Mec next door). The James Beard-nominated eatery is lauded for its perfectly simple, straightforward French fare, like garlicky escargot, steak frites and a to-die-for omelet
Co-owners Chris Phelps and Zak Walters proudly source ingredients grown and raised in California. The duo’s philosophy: Seek out great meat; season it right; and cook it perfectly. That being said, proteins like Stemple Creek grass-fed steaks and homemade sausages are not to be missed. For breakfast, try the magnificent griddle cakes and thank us later. Hollywood, 323.465.7258, saltscure.com
NIGHT + MARKET SONG
Hot pink and orange walls and electric artwork (think vintage portraits of Cindy Crawford) provide a vivid backdrop to Chef Kris Yenbamroong’s authentic Thai street food. Dishes like the moo sadoong (grilled pork with basil, lemon grass, fish sauce and chile) and the extra-spicy crispy rice salad will have you coming back for more.
Ori Menashe takes the Middle East’s fresh flavor profiles to soaring new heights at this downtown hot spot. The eggplant escabeche is a vegetarian’s dream, with a combo of sweet, smoke and acid from vinegar, pomegranate molasses, burnt eggplant puree and mint. There are sweet succulent prawns done in a similar stye to the Creole version, but, here, are marinated in harissa and served alongside an eggplant tzatziki. No matter what: order the hummus!
Chef Ori Menashe seemingly hits every trend at once with seasonal, farm-to-table Italian cooking inside a converted former factory. With inventive housemade pastas (pistachio, spinach, saffron) and salumi cured on-site, it’s no wonder a decent reservation is difficult to score.
Designed with Studio Unltd and House of Honey, chef Timothy Hollingsworth’s resto features an earthy-meets-sleek aesthetic with geometric tile floors and a wall of windows overlooking the verdant park and DTLA skyline. Not to be outdone by the decor, his cuisine takes center stage with inventive dishes like polenta with shaved black truffles and a funnel cake topped with silky foie gras mousse.
Dave Beran’s intimate 18-seat restaurant, led by the James Beard Award-winning chef—who hails from Chicago’s Alinea and Next—is market-driven, focusing on the produce of Southern California. But this is far from the family-style roasted market veg you’ll find at nearby restaurants. Dishes are eye-poppingly plated, thoughtfully composed and almost painfully beautiful.
MASTRO’S OCEAN CLUB
This elegant steakhouse is quintessential Malibu dining with magnificent vistas pouring through the window-lined dining room. Start with drinks on the sun porch before sinking into the plush dining room chairs for a perfectly cooked filet with truly divine creamy lobster mashed potatoes.
Like a true Angeleno, chef Nobu Matsuhisa scored a second home in Malibu. The indoor-outdoor space abuts the Pacific, and signature dishes abound, with the yellowtail sashimi and chocolate bento box making perfect bookends to a thrilling dinner.
Expect comfort food with an emphasis on seasonal, local ingredients at this cozy West Side go-to. Although the menu changes daily, you can’t go wrong with one of the beautifully executed vegetable dishes and, of course, the craveable bread and butter.
Evan Funke’s perpetually-packed restaurant on Abbot Kinney is still one of the toughest tables to snag in town. Tucking into his handmade tagliatelle Bolognese, made with the method taught to him at Italy’s La Vecchia Scuola, transports generations of culinary knowledge to your lips.
Chef Travis Lett serves uncomplicated rustic American fare, including thin-crust pizzas from a wood-burning oven. Ask for a table on the patio, where you can hear yourself think.