HollywoodWest Hollywood

$$$$Perfect For:Celebrity SightingsDinner with the ParentsPeople WatchingSee And Be Seen
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Like some other restaurants nearby that make a mean martini, Horses is a place where you might feel compelled to use Hollywood as an adjective. But Horses has a special niche amongst its Hollywood peers. It takes some foresight to get a reservation here, but there’s no judgy host or bad food like you'll find at Sunset Tower or Craig's. Horses blasts ’80s music and has red booths like Jones, but you could successfully celebrate a big anniversary here without getting called out for last-minute planning. It’s sorta French like Gigi’s, but with less reliance on butter and more on precious vegetables.

Easily, Horses' most Hollywood trait of all is its scandal. Yes, that one, involving the alleged killing of cats and other atrocities. Now that time has passed and the accused is far removed, the horror story only adds to the restaurant's lore.

If we rode motorcycles, we’d ride one here and make a grand entrance with windswept hair and soft leather boots. Of all of the very-Hollywood spots in LA, Horses has the most edge across the board, the best food, and, yes, the most horses.

You’ll notice horses everywhere, if you look closely. There is a horse etched into the glassware, and onto your coaster. The butter pad comes shaped like a horse, and painted, ethereal horses gallop on the walls and in the skylight. If you’re on a date, you could say something like, “What’s with all the horses?” and then proceed to count them for sport. And for romance.

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photo credit: Jakob Layman

But the horses do serve a purpose. Before Horses, this space was a British pub called The Pikey. It was a neighborhood and industry mainstay—the kind of place where you’d wander in for a drink and end up staying for dinner. For several decades before The Pikey, the space was called Ye Coach & Horses. And the Horses people seem to understand the importance of preserving this local hang.

You’ll feel the history of the place as soon as you walk through the front door, which will land you in the main dining room. The same skinny red booths that only seat two are packed, and the worn-in wooden bar invites you to please sit down and order a Vesper. If you’re lucky, you’ll be seated in there, or in the windowless back room where it’s always unclear what time it is and the music is loud enough to block out your to-do list. In the adjacent room, however, where the open kitchen is on parade and the booths are rubber duck yellow, the atmosphere is a little too mellow. And there's also a nice patio with fresh air and one very large tree, but you don't come to Horses for a nature fix. Where you're seated is a crapshoot, and we hope a fun dining room is in your destiny.

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photo credit: Jakob Layman

The food does what it needs to do, and then some. You’ll find a tight menu that’s sort of French, and very seasonal California. You could come here and have a downright phenomenal cheeseburger on brioche topped with thinly sliced raw onions and served with fries and an ice-cold bottle of Heinz 51. Or, the in-the-know thing to do is order the off-menu vodka pasta ("The Herman"), topped with sausage crumbles and broiled until crispy. Both of those dishes hit the spot, but you’d be missing out on some of Horses’ more special offerings if you didn't explore a little. Like the sobrassada panino, which packs a punch with cured meat and gooey cheese but is pressed so thin it’s dainty enough for tea time. Or the undeniably cute cornish hen with panzanella, which is a nice change of pace from your standard half-chicken.

The anything-is-possible-tonight feel is alive and well at Horses. Just like The Pikey and Ye Coach & Horses before it, this space lives on as a Hollywood restaurant with good food and better people watching.

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photo credit: Jakob Layman

Food Rundown

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photo credit: Jakob Layman

Smoked Salmon Lavash With Cress

A supreme appetizer. Lavash baked in house with air bubbles in all the right places hidden under a silky layer of salmon, finely chopped chives, and plenty of lemony cress sprigs. You can add caviar for $30, and we would endorse that decision.
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photo credit: Jakob Layman

Horses Caesar

This isn’t the first endive-based caesar we’ve encountered, but it is our favorite. The leaves are left whole so that, like precious canoes, they envelop toasty breadcrumbs, anchovy-fueled dressing, and parmesan confetti dust.
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photo credit: Jakob Layman


Horses' pasta offerings change with the seasons—except for the off-menu vodka rigatoni. That's always there, if you know to ask for it. Otherwise, there'll probably be two options on the menu, like tagliarini with clams, pappardelle with saffron and speck, or some kind of vegetarian ravioli. While you could order these as a main and be perfectly satisfied, we suggest using them as an intermission between appetizers and something meatier.
Horses image

photo credit: Jakob Layman

Cornish Game Hen

On our first visit, the cornish hen with dandelion panzanella was so juicy and frankly adorable, that we picked up the bones and sucked every morsel of meat off the carcass. Other times, it has lacked some pop in flavor. Either way, it’s always perfectly cooked, and nice to look at. Get this if you’re a roast chicken person.

Cote De Porc

Depending on the season, this herb-crusted pork chop might come with baked peaches, yams, or so on. Unfortunately, those accompaniments have been the highlight of this dish each time we’ve ordered it. The chop itself has been dry in the middle and lacking in succulence.

Butcher’s Steak

If you’re looking for a complete meal on a plate, take our advice and order this. The hanger steak is cooked how you like it, and comes with a healthy handful of fresh, dressed watercress and a scoop of celeriac dauphinoise. The celeriac is whipped fluffy and light, but we appreciate that a few hunks are still at play. Finished off with a little gruyere, this might be the best bite at Horses.
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photo credit: Jakob Layman

Cheeseburger And Fries

If you don’t understand the appeal of smashpatties, this phenomenal burger is for you. All you’ll find between the Rockenwagner brioche bun is a thick, peppery patty that bleeds a little when you squish it, Wisconsin cheddar, and thinly sliced raw onions. It’s served with a heap of golden fries, a ramekin of mayo, and a freezing glass bottle of ketchup. It’s bliss.

Sheep’s Milk Cheesecake

This slice of cheesecake is so precious and gentle. It’s decidedly not sweet at all, very creamy, and very mild. It always comes with roasted fruit, like a pear or a plum.

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