Love or hate Beverly Hills, the reality of existing in LA (whether you live here or you’re just visiting), is that at some point you will end up in the 90210. For one, all the doctors offices in the city are here, and also sometimes you just need to make a Rodeo Drive pilgrimage after watching Pretty Woman for the 75th time. Which means that eating in Beverly Hills is something we all have to face.
The thing is, eating in Beverly Hills isn’t cheap. There are spots where a sandwich won’t cost you $20 (check out our Affordable Beverly Hills Guide for those) - but you’re more likely to be coming here for classic LA restaurants that lean towards the fancier side of things. Beverly Hills might occasionally feel like the worst, but eating here doesn’t have to be.
Nate N Al is an all-out classic, and one of the few places in this part of town that actually feels authentic. Is this the best deli in LA? No. But come here a little hungover on a Saturday morning, order the bagel and lox and stuffed cabbage, gaze upon the most eclectic crowd in the neighborhood, and you’ll want to camp out here for the day.
Heard of Nobu? Matsuhisa, in a plain-looking building in the middle of La Cienega’s Restaurant Row, is where the whole yellowtail with jalapeño empire began. The menu is huge, with everything from a big tempura section, to sushi, to all those signature Nobu dishes, but it’s all served in a setting that has none of the scene or pretension that you often find in Malibu. If you’re feeling rich, do the sushi or dinner (which includes hot dishes as well as sushi) omakase for a greatest hits parade.
Just like most parts of Los Angeles, Beverly Hills has a Sugarfish. But because this is Beverly Hills, this Sugarfish one-ups the rest with Nozawa Bar out the back of the restaurant. Once you’ve walked past everyone eating their Trust Me’s, you’ll find a separate omakase-only spot with only two ten-person seatings a night, where you’ll be served 22 courses of sushi (they run the gamut from expected to adventurous). Don’t be late or ask for any changes to the menu - TRIVIA FACT: the original Nozawa inspired Seinfeld’s Soup Nazi - or you’ll probably be asked to leave.
Maude is one of those ticketed, $140 per person pre-fixe situations (alcohol not included). The menu is centered around one ingredient (usually a fruit or vegetable) and changes every month. Sounds like a pretentious mess, right? Here’s the thing - it’s actually pretty fun. While the experimental food can range from mind-blowingly delicious to they-probably-shouldn’t-have-put-those-ingredients-together, its welcoming atmosphere and really friendly staff come together to make it worth the hefty price.
So much about Spago should make you hate it - it feels like a hotel restaurant, is insanely expensive, and has a crowd that’s a mix of visiting businessmen, important Hollywood people, and people who’ve lived in Beverly Hills since 1958. And yet, going to Spago is still one of the ultimate LA eating experiences. Although there is a printed menu that’s somehow half Italian, half Asian fusion, there’s a whole bunch of off-menu items you need to know to ask for - namely the pizza and the spicy tuna hand rolls. The service also makes you feel like the king of the world, which you might actually have to be in order to pick up the check.
It’s slightly insane that Si Laa is still relatively unknown outside of the local crowd, because this small family-run spot on S. Robertson is one of the better Thai restaurants in Los Angeles. The atmosphere inside is calm and somewhat romantic - your 3am pad thai throwdown spot this is not. But if you’re looking for excellent (and authentic) Thai food in a slightly upscale environment, Si Laa is your spot.
Madeo might technically be in the city of West Hollywood, but it’s a Beverly Hills restaurant at heart. In a dimly lit basement on Beverly Boulevard, it wins the award for Restaurant Where You’re Most Likely To See A Celebrity Pretending They’re Not A Celebrity. There are white tablecloths, a pretty classic Italian menu (get the caprese and the linguine vongole), and pretend that you haven’t even noticed Gwyneth Paltrow sitting right next to you.
You’ve probably eaten a lot of tempura in your life, but unless you’ve been to Japan, you’ve probably never had it like at Tempura Endo. This tiny restaurant (there are only eight seats around a bar) involves an omakase menu of perfectly fried, but also somehow light, bites passed directly to you by the chef. A meal here starts at $150, so you’re going to need some sort of excuse to visit, but once you’ve managed that, you won’t regret it.
If you’re really into grilling but live in an apartment, Yazawa is for you. The only North American location of a global chain, Yazawa is yet another Beverly Hills Japanese restaurant, this time specializing in yakiniku, which means you’ll be cooking a whole lot of beef at your dinner table. You’ll probably be pressured into doing their set omakase option, but feel free to go rogue and order a la carte to get the cuts you actually want to eat.
Serious wine people love Wally’s for the huge wine store out back. Serious food people love Wally’s for the cheese counter inside. Beverly Hills people love Wally’s for the scene. Wally’s is a great wine shop/restaurant for after-work drinks - have multiple glasses of wine on the front patio and a carbonara pizzetta (which is really just a pizza) to go with it.
A Beverly Hills location of a famous San Gabriel Valley Chinese restaurant, Newport Seafood is a little odd: the interior design directive seems to have been “SHINY,” and the lighting is so bright you’ll be able to see the plastic surgery scars on the people at the table across the room. But the food - especially the lobster, beef lo lac, salt and pepper squid - is good (though more expensive than in the SGV), and the scene is more local than touristy.
Mr Chow might have been at its coke-sniffing party peak in the 90s, but even though things aren’t as wild these days, the food is still really good. Your go-to orders should be the chicken satay, Mr Chow noodles, and green prawns, and if things are really serious, you’ll need to get a Beijing duck. The scene now is less cool kids, more tourists and BH locals celebrating some sort of occasion - probably a graduation.
Mulberry is an under-the-radar Beverly Hills classic. If you grew up in LA, you definitely came here with your soccer team after you won the championship to order a whole bunch of garlic knots and NY-style pizzas that were four times the size of your head. When you’re over the high-end restaurants that will cost you half a paycheck, Mulberry is a good bet for a solo slice at the bar, or spread out at a table for the soccer team reunion.
Even if you haven’t actually been here, you’ve probably seen the inside of The Fountain Room - the fern wallpaper is all over Instagram. But it’s worth visiting this place in real life, too. It’s an old-school coffee shop inside the Beverly Hills Hotel with a diner feel. The big counter wraps around a bar, Hollywood types are taking a meeting in the corner, and you’re ordering pancakes.
If The Godfather had been filmed in Beverly Hills, there would definitely have been a scene set in La Scala. This is a classic Italian spot, full of red booths, Shahs of Sunset, and quite possibly Larry King. And they’re all ordering one thing: Leon’s Chopped Salad, with as many additions (pepperoncini are mandatory) as possible. This is a classic BH lunch spot if there ever was one.
There is no denying that Lawry’s Prime Rib is a major chain. But the 70-year-old steakhouse is a Beverly Hills original and dining at its La Cienega location is almost a right-a-passage in this town. Though the menu has expanded over the years, the move is still the standing prime rib and that famous spinning salad (yes, they actually spin it while they make it). If your parents are in town and you want to show them how far you’ve come in life, Lawry’s is your move. Save room for the Yorkshire pudding.