In no particular order at all, here are some of the places that I dined at and thoroughly enjoyed during my short, last minute trip over to L.A.
Ivy At the Shore
Address: 1535 Ocean Ave, Santa Monica, CA 90401, United States
Phone Number: +1 310-393-3113
Reservation: Not required
Dress Code: Casual
I had the Oven Roasted Sea Bass with lemon, capers, and a side of mashed potatoes (approximately $31 USD). First couple bites felt a bit overdone, but this was the thinner part on the edge. When I got to more of the middle section, the sea bass really did just melt away into perfection in my mouth. And those capers? I have the biggest weak spot for them. The mashed potatoes were on point as well. The only downside with this dish was that the whole thing was basically bathing in a pool of butter. It was delicious and surprisingly not heavy because of the lemon juice pairing, but just the thought of consuming a gallon of fat made me feel extremely guilty that I needed to run laps after or else my arteries would clog.
Address: 448 S Hill St, Los Angeles, CA 90013, United States
Phone Number: +1 213-802-1770
Dress Code: Dressy casual
Fromage + Charcuterie Plate
My friend and I shared the Fromage + Charcuterie Plate ($20 USD) to start. It was a selection of chef’s choice of two cheeses and two cured meats in addition to nuts, fruit, sour cherry mustard, and raisin-walnut crostini. For the main course, I enjoyed a medium rare Steak Frites ($26), which was a flat iron steak paired with maitre d’butter, bordelaise, and truffle cheese fries. We also had a glass or two of reds and whites, which I obviously cannot remember now because everything the waiter says usually just goes in one ear and comes out the other for me. I get too distracted by the food and drink themselves to actually pay attention sometimes.
The food here was, without a doubt, absolutely delicious. The rooftop view was stunning as well. Great food, great atmosphere, great place for a romantic date or a trendy get-together with friends.
Address: 11311 Mississippi Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90025, United States
Phone Number: +1 310-445-8725
No fancy DSLR shots for this, but the green tea shaved ice here is the bomb. Made from 100% Japanese matcha powder topped with mochi balls, red bean, and condensed milk. Mm-mmm! The shaved ice was light and airy, smooth and creamy and the mochi balls were soft and chewy. Whenever I get mochi as topping, they tend to be hard (probably because the ice hardens them a little), but these bad boys just bounced right off my teeth. And do I even need to comment on the red bean because green tea and red bean go hand in hand and nothing ever goes wrong with this combination. The condensed milk was also just a nice cherry on top. We came here late at night and the place was still packed. There’s definitely a reason for that.
Address: They’re everywhere.
Phone Number: Nah, you won’t need it.
Website: http://www.in-n-out.com (I’ll leave the link here, but pretty sure you won’t click on it anyways because it’s a fast food chain. Who goes browsing a burger site unless they are bored out of their minds?)
All about that Snapchat geotag.
Okay, let’s be real… Does this even need to be on this list because this is pretty much a given. If you are ever in California, you have to go try In-N-Out. I don’t care if you think it’s overhyped. That’s how I felt going in, but that burger man, that was some good burger. I had a plain old cheeseburger and we shared the Animal Fries, which is from their not so secret, “secret” menu. I ain’t gonna describe to you how good this meal was ’cause you’re gonna get out there and find out for yourself. (Although I’ll tell you that I wasn’t too crazy on the fries. Not sure because they got cold by the time I touched them or what, but I’ve had better.)
The drive-through lines look pretty bad no matter the location or time. But when we went, we parked, physically went inside the little building, and ordered to-go. The whole process took no more than 15-20 minutes. So it’s really not that bad compared to what the lines may tell you.
Ice Cream Lab
Address: 9461 S Santa Monica Blvd, Beverly Hills, CA 90210, United States
Phone Number: +1 310-795-6505
Ever heard of nitrogen ice cream? Yeah, it’s a thing. And it’s trending. It’s a style of preparation which uses liquid nitrogen to instantly freeze natural ingredients into ice cream. And because of this special process, liquid nitrogen ice creams are generally more flavorful than your typical store-bought choices.
I tried the Salt Lick Crunch – vanilla ice cream mixed with pretzels and caramel, topped with sea salt. Uh-mazing. Probably my favorite ice cream so far right up there with Ernest Ice Cream. I liked the different layers and textures. The softness from the ice cream contrasted with crunchy pretzels finished off with a touch of caramel lingering in your mouth. It was sweet, it was salty, it was the best of both worlds. Divine is exactly the right word to describe this ice cream frenzy.
Blue Ribbon Sushi Bar & Grill
Address: 189 The Grove Dr, Los Angeles, CA, United States
Phone Number: +1 323-352-9300
Dress Code: Dressy casual
Crispy Rice Spicy Tuna
Thank goodness for a small stomach because eating here cost me an arm and a leg. I normally wouldn’t have minded, except for the fact that if you haven’t noticed, most of the restaurants I’ve mentioned so far are upscale, fancy schmancy. I ordered the cheapest sushi combo and if I recall correctly, that was around $30 or so. For the price, it was mediocre. The quality was something I could get elsewhere for cheaper. We actually sat at the sushi bar too, even more so reason to order à la carte. But our visit was completely spontaneous and Miss Freelance Blogger here couldn’t take another hit to her wallet. The crispy rice spicy tuna, however, was to die for. The outside was crunchy and the inside was chewy then you get that kick from the spicy tuna. I would for sure come back again and try something else on their menu if I had a thing called a job and income. Service was fantastic by the way. The sushi chefs were hilarious and they saw that I liked taking photos so took me to the back alley of their koi mural.
We also talked to the manager as well and got to know him a bit. He turned out to be an actor and I caught glimpse of someone who looked like Victoria Park – and it was! If you don’t know her, she’s in Grey’s Anatomy and also played a few roles in Wong Fu shorts. Oh and she’s also drop dead gorgeous.
Address: 2123 Sawtelle Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90025, United States
Phone Number: +1 310-684-2889
Reservation: Gets very busy and they do not take reservations
Dress Code: Casual
After a night of failed clubbing, my friend and I decided to turn up at the ramen shop instead. We found ourselves at Tatsu Ramen and this place was packed even late at night. We had to wait at least 20-30 minutes, but it was totally worth it. I had the Bold Ramen and a side order of sweet corn. Hands down best ramen I’ve ever had. The broth was amazing. If you’ve been following my blog, you know that I complained a lot about the ramens that I had in Japan for being too salty. This was still on the salty side for me, but it was so good it didn’t even bother me. Not sure if it was the wait that made me extra hungry or what, but forget those ramen restaurants on Denman Street here in Van because nothing compares to what they have here. The portion was huge too! I was struggling to finish.
Because we came in after an attempt to go clubbing, we were way dressed up compared to everyone else at the restaurant. The fact that I was wearing a backless black mini dress with side boobs showing didn’t make the situation any better. The waiter pulled out my chair for me and we had two waiters serving us and checking up on us the whole time. Not gonna brag, but talk about special privileges. They were super busy too so we obviously weren’t the only customers they had to tend to. If you want that good service, come here in the tightest dress you own. Nah, I’m just kidding. Their ramens are good though.
Mastro’s Ocean Club
Address: 18412 Pacific Coast Hwy, Malibu, CA 90265, United States
Phone Number: +1 310-454-4357
Dress Code: Dressy casual
By far my favorite restaurant of the nine. We came for Saturday brunch and I had crab cakes to start and a clam chowder as main. Food here was phenomenal. If I lived in California, I could easily see myself dropping by fairly often for special occasions, Sunday brunches, what have you. I’d come so often the waiters would know my name and I’d know theirs. That is again, if I had a paying job. The waiter specifically heard me ordering the crab cakes as an appetizer (he asked to confirm) but on my bill, instead of being charged for the appetizer price, I was charged around $30 for the entré price. This was for two pieces of crab cakes by the way. But it was so good I didn’t bother asking about the mix up. Or perhaps there were no mix ups because it did taste like some high quality, fresh king crab. The chowder was $20-30? I say it’s worth it. Not only was the food exceptional, the view was incredible. The restaurant is literally right by the shore and everything about it was simply sensational.
WP24 by Wolfgang Puck
Address: 900 W Olympic Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90015, United States
Phone Number: +1 213-743-8824
Dress Code: Business casual
WP24 features Wolfgang’s award-winning modern Chinese cuisine. Wolfgang Puck is an Austrian-born American celebrity chef. He’s obviously not Chinese and this is solely my personal opinion, but no one does Chinese food better than the Chinese themselves. That said, I’m a bit on the fence about the food here. I had Maine Lobster Spring Rolls to start and I went for a Crystal Chive Dumpling which had Alaskan King crab, shrimp, and Kurobuta pork. The spring rolls were perfect. Majestic in fact. Felt like a king eating such fancy spring rolls. The crystal dumplings… Meh. The skin was way too thick and it tasted floury. The fillings were good, but the pungent taste of raw flour overpowered the entire dish. As for prices, I believe both dishes were under and/or close to $20.
Food aside, stationed 24 floors above the Los Angeles Skyline, this restaurant encompasses spectacular panoramic views of the city. Very suitable venue for a romantic dinner date. I’m not quick to dismiss restaurants hence if I had the chance, I’d come back and try the other items on the menu. Plus I’m all about that gorgeous view. Dining isn’t just about the food. It’s about the atmosphere as well and I just can’t say no to city views.
I did try more than nine restaurants, but these are the top ones that I recommend. Tatsu Ramen and Mastro’s are a must-go. Great food, great experience. Check out what else I was up to in L.A. in my California vlog. See you next time!