Los Angeles is a town where looks matter. In no other city will you find fake-magic anti-aging juices with a religious following, more fillers in the average actor/personal trainer’s face than should be legal, and Saturday mornings devoted entirely to hiking in designer clothes.
While there are many restaurant examples of this very true stereotype, none are as lacking in substance as The Polo Lounge. This is a pretty place full of people who only care about being seen, and full of food no person should ever have to eat.
At this restaurant inside The Beverly Hills Hotel, appearance is all that matters - whether you’re sat at the right table, with the right people, and can get a photo to prove that you were here. There’s pink everywhere, a very retro sign out front, and a lot of fern wallpaper. The crowd is Hollywood people and wannabe Hollywood people who’ve ended up here for a meeting with a film executive who can determine the rest of their career (but are actually just looking for a date). Everyone here is hoping other people will see them and think - that’s a somebody.
Which is all to say, no person is at The Polo Lounge to actually eat. As a result, this “classic” LA spot is home to inedible food and insulting prices. There’s a $38 salad that’s assembled tableside and manages to make both cheddar cheese and bacon completely tasteless. There’s a tiny $56 bowl of linguine vongole so terrible it can only be the result of somebody dumping chardonnay into a bowl with some overcooked pasta and already-shelled clams. The one thing we’ve eaten here that tasted like food was the bread basket. But no one else here is eating that. They haven’t eaten a carb since 1998.
The Polo Lounge is everything your friend from New York City who refuses to step foot in Los Angeles hates. Sure, you’re on a sunny, beautiful patio surrounded by beautiful people, but from the uninterested service to the overpriced food, it’s hard not to feel instantly depressed. If you’re looking for a classic Hollywood scene that’s actually enjoyable, go to Chateau Marmont. At least you won’t leave there miserable, hungry, and broke.
Go hard on this. It’s the only thing you’ll actually enjoy, and you’ll probably get the whole thing to yourself.
Ahi Tuna Tartare
Inoffensive, but actually edible. But still worse than every other tuna tartare in town.
Supposedly their signature salad, and one that they’ll assemble for you tableside. None of that can mask the fact that this was clearly designed for people with no teeth or ability to taste.
Polo Lounge Burger
Dry, flavorless, and clearly barely ordered by anyone.
Linguine alla Vongole
If you have even a tiny amount of Italian blood, you’ll be offended by this dish. As should everyone else.