Tuesday, April 29, 2008

7 fabulous places to eat out in West Hollywood...

So with eight weeks officially on U.S. soil under our belts living here in Los Angeles, plus several visits before that, here's some top tips for fellow tourists, new transplants to L.A. or those looking to try somewhere different to eat in West Hollywood.

Here are my seven top picks of favourite bars, cafes and restaurants in WEHO.

PLACES TO EAT OUT IN & AROUND WEST HOLLYWOOD

Dolce - 8284 Melrose Avenue. UPDATED: 5 Nov 09 DOLCE has now closed.
Dolce restaurant on Melrose
Dolce serves classic, yet cool Italian food from 6pm every night in a hip and trendy environment. The main dining area has a funky fire display behind the bar as the main feature and provides the wow factor for the decor, but the food is also fab.

Although pricey, the style and ambiance of the place is worth it and it's a great for people watching if you get a good seat.

As a cocktail lover, I did find the drinks to be a bit 'hit and miss' though, with some of them being far too sweet.

Ketchup - 8590 Sunset Blvd.
Ketchup restaurant on Sunset BlvdKetchup is a fun and lively place to eat. Funnily enough it's part of the Dolce Group, but is a totally different dining experience from Dolce. After you arrive and are escorted up the stairs (or in the elevator), you pretty much get the theme of Ketchup when you're assaulted by the funky red decor.

This place is a hot spot with the young crowd (oh my god, I feel so old at 33, but young at heart still counts) and it's very buzzy and loud - I found it quite hard to hold a conversation across the booth tables.

The food is a variety of inventive twists on classic American cuisine, so mini hotdogs smothered in chili or mini Kobe burger Sliders, fries with several different homemade ketchup and pretty much 'mini' everything else.

Another interesting feature was the cocktail lady who wheeled around with her trolley of drinks suggesting we sample some movie inspired beverages, featuring such American kids favourites as Kool-Aid, Sunny Delight and Yoo Hoo.

I'm looking forward to trying this place again when I'm not so jet-lagged!

O-Bar - 8279 Santa Monica Blvd.
O Bar restaurant Santa MonicaAs well as serving great food, this West Hollywood haunt has a great looking bar with very attractive bar staff (always a bonus).

It's a fairly relaxed dining experience and the decor and music are fab too!
I last ate there on Friday night and had the Mixed Baby Green Salad which is a great appetizer to start with two of my favourite salad ingredients, poached pears and blue cheese -yum!

I had one of the specials that was recommended by our waiter, which was a Santa Monica Sea bass. It was cooked to perfection and on a bed of a curried carrot puree (although a little less sauce would have made the dish better). Three of us had this dish and all liked it.

Another friend had the 'Nice Mussels' and fries which were equally tasty and on a previous occasion I've had the Pistachio Crusted Yellow Tail and I can recommend that as well.

The deserts were enormous and incredible. I had the Peanut Butter Chocolate Truffle Cake, which tastes as good as it sounds, plus the rest of my party sampled the giant chocolate chip cookie served in an iron skillet and topped with three scoops of vanilla ice-cream and the Lemon Chiffon Cheesecake. There wasn't much left of any of them at the end.

Marix - 1108 N Flores Street.
Marix restaurant West Hollywood
Tex-mex, big muscley men and margaritas. What more could you ask for on a Sunday afternoon in West Hollywood.

Enjoy complimentary tortilla chips and homemade salsa at the bar whilst you wait for your table at this lively and bustling gay hangout.

Lots of fun with friends, great for people watching (or cruisey, you decide), and funnily enough I don't think people come here just for the food!

Grab a margarita and enjoy!

Cafe D'etoile - 8941 Santa Monica Blvd.
Cafe D etoile sidewalk seating
I really like Cafe D'etoile. It was the first place I ever dined out in L.A. and although I was extremely jet-lagged, I still have fond memories of it. It reminds me a bit of Balans in London, but is slightly smaller, has nicer staff and has the fab outside sidewalk space.

The food has always been great whenever we've eaten here and it's just a nice spot for a late lunch with a glass of Kir Royale to watch the world pass by.

Asia de Cuba - The Mondrian, 8440 Sunset Blvd.
Mondrian poolsideThis is the place if you want an ultra-cool night out in L.A. The interior is super-chic and you can also dine outside on the fabulously stylish patio. With stunning views of L.A. and top-class service, this is the place to come to impress and enjoy delicious food.

The cuisine is Asian/Cuban and dishes are served 'family style', so you can try and share lots of different delights. I'd recommend the 'ropa vieja' of duck, jumbo sea scallops and the pan seared ahi tuna, which is just melt in the mouth goodness.

It's expensive, but worth the treat!

The Abbey - 692 N Robertson Blvd.
The Abbey interior
Another site of too many margaritas, this is a great popular gay bar in WEHO with a brilliant outside courtyard. The cocktails are strong, there's lots of eye-candy and they also serve food (which I've yet to sample).

Stay tuned for more great places to eat out in L.A...

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