Brentwood is a neighborhood that lives up to its stereotypes. There are indeed a lot of rich people here, and somehow even more Teslas. Also, UCLA grads who don’t leave the Westside, people who wear athleisure as a profession, and many not-good Italian restaurants.
All of which is to say, there isn’t much in the way of cool places to eat. But “isn’t much” isn’t the same thing as “zero” - there are a select group of quality restaurants in the area, and we’ve tracked them down so you don’t have to. And yes, a few of them are Italian.
Sushi is an essential food group in Brentwood, and while there are plenty of mediocre places that have been around since the ’80s and near-constant lines at the local Sugarfish, we go to Sasabune instead. This small spot on Wilshire is an LA classic where you absolutely should be getting a seat at the sushi bar and doing the omakase. You can expect plenty of standards - tuna sashimi with ponzu, many pieces of nigiri, and a crab hand roll to finish - but there will also be oysters, incredible cooked butterfish, and uni if you’re in the mood. The $90 price tag isn’t cheap, but this is an extremely high-quality sushi meal for the money.
In some ways, Belle Vie does not belong in Brentwood. It’s a fun and cool restaurant in an area of town not known for being anything close to fun or cool. But when you think about it, Belle Vie is also perfect for Brentwood. This neighborhood is full of people who’d prefer not to have to drive to Silver Lake to eat somewhere great, plus other people just out of UCLA who would like to pretend they’re on the French vacation they can’t afford to take. Belle Vie is a fantastic French restaurant, run by actual French people, and it’s quickly become a neighborhood staple.
Your aunt lives on the fancy side of Sunset, lives her life solely between Barrington Ave. and 26th St., and only eats at Italian restaurants (even though a carb has not passed her lips since the ’70s). So when she’s buying you dinner, you’re going to her and you’re picking Vincenti. It’s far and away the best Italian restaurant of the many in Brentwood, and Aunt Lillian can order the off-menu rotisserie duck (hold the potatoes).
Pizzana is as much of a crowd-pleaser as (Brentwood resident) Reese Witherspoon. Alongside the very solid pizzas, they serve antipasti like meatballs and burrata, salads, and great desserts, all in a slick space that feels like it belongs in West Hollywood, not on San Vicente. The only not-pleasing thing about the place is that you’ll probably have to wait - they take a limited number of reservations and people have caught onto this place. Put your name down and cross the street to Baltaire (a steakhouse) for martinis while you wait.
Farmshop is Brentwood’s clubhouse. This all-day place in the Brentwood Country Mart will have Gwyneth and her stylist discussing Oscar outfits in one corner, movie executives pitching in another, and many, many people having lunches of leisure. And while all of that might lead you to believe that the food here is an afterthought, that’s actually not the case. The Poached Chicken Salad is on every table, not because everyone is doing Whole30, but because it’s actually delicious. They also have a big market where you can pick up supplies for a very fancy picnic.
Reddi Chick is in the Country Mart, but it’s almost the complete opposite of Farmshop. There’s not a salad in sight - just rotisserie chicken and deep fried things to go with it. This is a Brentwood classic, where people who only left the neighborhood to go to college and have their one “wild” year living off Melrose bring their kids. You’ve probably had better chicken, and you’ve definitely had cheaper chicken, but for the neighborhood, this is a great, casual place.
There’s nothing about India’s Oven that’s going to melt your mind, but this place nails all the classics - as long as you’re OK with eating on the second floor of an office building on Wilshire. Which, when you’re paying $10.95 for the lunchtime buffet, you probably won’t mind at all.
Apart from the frat kids taking a break from Westwood and having a night at Q’s, Pizzicotto is about as rowdy as things get around here. This is another Italian place, also on San Vicente, but instead of couples eating in silence, there are people celebrating birthdays and going big by ordering a second bottle of wine. The pizzas are ultra-thin and very crunchy, but we tend to just order something off the very long list of pasta and entree specials.
It’s truly surprising that Brentwood didn’t have a steakhouse until fairly recently. Where did producers pitch questionable pre-prequels and bankers celebrate whatever it is bankers do? Who knows, but now they have Baltaire. This is a place where the cheapest steak is $49, so you’re probably using your corporate card, but at least you know you’ll get a quality meal. Which really helps when your law partners discuss the 10-year bond term while you calculate how many more dinners you have to get through until you’ve paid off your student loans and can walk out channelling Peggy from Mad Men.
Belwood is a small bakery on Barrington that’s almost always full of families, teenagers skipping class, and their teachers pretending they haven’t noticed them sitting in the corner. There’s really only one order here: the turkey sandwich on ciabatta, always with extra sauce, and a blueberry muffin for dessert.