Lucky you if you’re a LA Local: “Exotic” Beverly Hills’ is just a drive away!
I love to vacation in exotic places. But who says “exotic” has to be far faraway? I’ve been living in Beverly Hills for more than twenty years. I’ve owned restaurants here, raised a family, made all kinds of friends, and I’ve learned so many things. Like anywhere else though I suppose, it’s easy to take your own backyard for granted.
But I don’t like to take anything for granted. I’m constantly looking for places in my own neighborhood to eat and be entertained. So, I’ve taken it upon myself to do more exploring locally – even to places that are very well known to me and my friends. I’ve mapped out of a few favorite places around Beverly Hills that are so fun, I think they definitely qualify as part of the “local exotic” scene.
Let’s start at The Palm Beverly Hills. A fabulous landmark restaurant located on Canon Drive’s well-known “restaurant row.” This is the ‘rebuilt’ Palm – the old one was in West Hollywood for more than 40 years and had to move after their lease ran out. But what a rebuild – it’s beautiful! I go with a girlfriend when either one of us gets the “urge” for lobster! Because I like my clams served without a lot of stuff to blur their sweet taste, I always call ahead to ask them to set aside at least a dozen to serve simply steamed with drawn butter to start. If I’m feeling a bit healthy we share a classic wedge salad with lettuce, crisp bacon, ranch dressing and the blue cheese on the side (blue cheese isn’t my favorite). Then we get down to my favorite part of the meal – the”Broiled Jumbo Nova Scotia Lobster.” Always order a 4-pound female lobster to share. Female lobster tails are larger than the male’s, and really, isn’t the tail the best part? Be sure to order the best creamed spinach you’ve ever tasted to enjoy with your lobster and you have the perfect meal! They’re open for lunch and dinner and I always suggest reservations.
How about brunch on Saturday or Sunday? I highly recommend The Blvd restaurant at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Beverly Hills for their unlimited Champagne Bar. They serve Perrier-Jouët Champagne – which is a really great bottle of bubbles – and also offer orange juice (for Mimosas) or peach (for Bellinis). But I always say – why mess with a good thing- if the bubbles are that good you should enjoy them all by themselves. And, the great thing is that you really can’t go wrong with anything on the brunch menu. The dining room is a beautiful backdrop for a lazy afternoon – or request a table outside and do some serious people watching while enjoying your champagne. Definitely make reservations if you want to go.
Want casual dining but with a flair for the refined? South Beverly Grill on South Beverly Drive fits the bill. It’s one of those places where you can really feel at home for lunch or dinner. The food and service is consistently good! They have one of the best cheeseburgers around, definitely order it with fries. If you’re over 21 sit at the bar and try to be in George’s section, I think he’s one of the best bartender in Beverly Hills. No reservations for the bar, but if you want a table, I recommend reservations, especially for dinner.
Hopefully there’s a concert you want to see while on your vacation, and there’s no better venue than the world-famous Hollywood Bowl. My favorite thing to do during the summer is to make a plan with friends, get a box, bring a picnic for “al fresco” dining and listen to my favorite music. They have something for everyone – special themed nights like “sing-a-longs” (this season one night was The Sound of Music) or the Los Angeles Philharmonic – Harry Potter and The Chamber of Secrets, classical music, jazz and so much more. It’s absolutely magical – food, music, a warm summer night and the stars. Not sure it gets any better.
And now you know some of my personal favorites!