Where To Take Someone Who Just Wants To See A Celebrity

15 places where they’ll definitely see someone they recognize.
Where To Take Someone Who Just Wants To See A Celebrity image

photo credit: Jakob Layman

Your family and friends are liars. They’ll visit LA and act excited as you walk them around the Griffith Observatory. They’ll feign interest when you show them the taco spot with the best barbacoa in town. But at the end of the day, all they really want to see is a celebrity. And it’s your job to make that happen.

Contrary to what their hotel brochures say, no famous person will ever be spotted walking down Hollywood Blvd. or waving to you from their front yard while you’re on one of those celebrity-home bus tours. They do, however, occasionally need to eat—so you will find them in restaurants. These restaurants, in particular. Plus, a grocery store.


photo credit: Jakob Layman


West Hollywood

$$$$Perfect For:Celebrity SightingsWasting Your Time and Money


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When it comes to the sheer statistical probability of actually seeing someone famous, Craig’s has the highest odds of any restaurant in the city. The bread may be the best thing at this West Hollywood spot, but when the only thing that matters is making sure your mom locks eyes with someone she can brag about to her Zumba class, put Craig’s near the top of the list. Call far in advance for reservations, they fill up fast.

The most surprising aspect of this classic Italian restaurant in the Palisades is not that you’ll probably spot Rihanna dining in a see-through kaftan—it’s that the food is actually good. They serve a fantastic plate of burrata and their famous sweet corn agnolotti is the kind of thing you’ll wake up in the middle of the night thinking about. That and Rihanna’s kaftan.

Lucky’s is an upscale steakhouse in Malibu that originated in SoCal’s other A-Lister commune, Montecito. Though this location offers less Oprah and Meghan Markle sightings, the crowd milling around is certainly going to be recognizable. Expect Real Housewives sipping martinis and intentionally placing their hands so everyone can see their jewelry, and surfers who have two Oscars at home strutting around in board shorts. That said, Lucky’s is more than just a people-watching sideshow—the food is good, too. Do your best to not fill up on their excellent table rolls, start with the shrimp and prosciutto-filled chopped salad, and splurge on whatever big piece of meat catches your eye.

You aren’t going to see a Kardashian or a Real Housewife here: this is where Aubrey Plaza goes to drink natural wine and John C. Reilly wears wide-brimmed hats with confidence. If your Portland friend has been obsessing over some up-and-coming comedian who finally landed a Netflix special, it’s a solid bet they’re at All Time right now, eating burrata-doused foccacia and a Good Ass Salad.

Wolfgang Puck’s flagship Beverly Hills restaurant is one of those places that seems like it couldn’t possibly still be good, but it is. And it’s also still packed with famous people. Want to fit in? Order the salmon pizza, spicy tuna cones, and wiener schnitzel from the bar bites menu. Your cousin might just poke at the smoked-fish pizza, but she’ll get over it once she spots Rachel Brosnahan drinking wine at a corner table.

There are celebrity restaurants, and then there’s Dan Tana’s—the iconic Italian spot in West Hollywood where the only rule is that there are no rules. Come any night of the week and you’ll probably do a shot of premium tequila with the maître d’, and Ron Jeremy might spill his martini on your chicken parm. A night at Dan Tana’s is an essential LA dining experience, one where the celebrities aren’t just distant entities you stare at, they’re people you get down and party with.

You don’t come to Tower Bar to eat, you come to suck down dirty martinis and watch celebrities yell into their phones. Located in the heart of The Strip, Tower Bar is an iconic LA establishment where celebutants still want to hang out and pretend to eat tuna tartare. The poolside patio is a certifiable scene, so bring your best pair of sunglasses and sharpen up that side-eye. And please be on the lookout for flying phones.

Though the crowd at this gigantic Italian restaurant in Hollywood is less star-studded than it once was, there’s still a high probability you’re going to see someone you recognize from that one  Super Bowl commercial. The party at Mother Wolf starts the second you enter the ballroom-esque dining room: Ornate chandeliers hang from the ceiling and a negroni-fueled bar area makes Sunset Tower look like afternoon tea. It feels part Las Vegas, part Carbone, and part Roman banquet hall—all crammed inside the Madonna Inn. For food, concentrate mainly on pasta, namely the cacio e pepe and all’amatriciana. 

Your old college roommate wants to drive up the Malibu coast, see a celebrity, and eat on the water while the sun sets. And she’s here for one night. Go to Nobu Malibu and knock out all three at once. The flagship restaurant of the Nobu empire is one of the most recognizable restaurants in LA, and despite the exorbitant prices and swarms of paparazzi literally sitting outside, it’s a place that’s always worth the hassle of getting in. Classic dishes like the sashimi tacos, yellowtail sashimi with jalapeno, and black cod miso are still fantastic, and as long as they keep packing their patio with A-list celebrities, there’ll never be a dull moment.

In a town full of high-profile patios, Chateau Marmont’s is arguably the most famous. It feels like a movie set, is full of people who never take their sunglasses off, and even though we should hate it, we definitely don’t. There’s almost always an Olsen twin or someone from The OC present and the food is much better than it needs to be at a place where no one goes to actually eat. Just don’t try stealing a quick photo op with a celebrity - you’ll be asked to leave faster than that time Led Zeppelin’s drummer drove a motorcycle through the lobby.

The first thing you need to know about the Polo Lounge is that absolutely no one comes here to eat. They come here to take meetings, scream at their publicists, chug white wine, and order a $44 iceberg salad simply for optics.  But if you’re able to get past how unfathomably bad the food is here, this poolside restaurant inside the Beverly Hills Hotel has its upsides. In particular, the people-watching. On any given day, there are so many famous people here (several of whom live at the hotel), it’s the normal people that stick out. So grab a glass of wine and your biggest pair of sunglasses and do your best to play it cool.

No matter what Nobu Malibu means to you, Sushi Park is the antithesis. This easy-to-miss, unassuming strip mall spot is also known for serving good sushi, often eaten by Oscar-winning actors and who come in during lunch wearing flip-flops. Their omakase will set you back a few hundred dollars, but that’s the price you pay for the off-chance that Beyoncé walks in with Blue Ivy after school gets out.

Brentwood Country Mart image

Brentwood Country Mart


It’s no secret that celebrities tend to congregate in certain neighborhoods, and Brentwood is one of them. While you aren’t going to spot Reese Witherspoon walking out of Wahoo’s on Wilshire any time soon, the Brentwood Country Mart is ground zero for celebrities shopping for luxury stationery and filling up on Goop merchandise—so keep your eyes peeled. Once you snag that blurry picture of Jennifer Garner walking to her car, head to Reddi-Chick for some solid rotisserie chicken and malt shakes.

Gelson's Market on Franklin

Gelson's Market on Franklin image

Gelson's Market on Franklin


You can spend years sitting in every restaurant from Malibu to Beverly Hills, but your best shot at actually seeing a famous person in LA might be at a grocery store in Franklin Village. It’s here where locking eyes with Alison Brie at the deli counter or reaching for almond milk at the same time as Jon Hamm aren’t just outtakes from your bedtime fantasies, they’re real things that happen regularly. Prepare your sister from Dallas accordingly.

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