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best restaurants in los angeles

Courtesy of the Peninsula Hotel

Best Restaurants in Los Angeles

A premier dining destination, Los Angeles is known for its world-class restaurants. Here are some of our picks.

The Belvedere

Courtesy of the Peninsula Hotel
Inside The Peninsula Beverly Hills , The Belvedere has a longstanding reputation as the area's best hotel dining restaurant. The see-and-be-seen vibe pulsates most strongly in the morning, when Hollywood's elite gather around for breakfast. Soak up the sunshine on the landscaped patio while perusing the “small bites” menu for smoked salmon pancake and the chef's famed truffle macaroni and cheese. If you're on your way to a concert at the Hollywood Bowl, ask about the portable gourmet meals on the Pen-Air menu.

555 East American Steakhouse

Steak crowns the menu at 555 East American Steakhouse , where you'll share the company of Long Beach's movers and shakers in a clubby dining room characterized by plush booths, marble floors and low lighting. Selections from the award-winning wine cellar complement the chicken, seafood and impeccably prepared USDA Prime steak dishes. Although the din of music and chatter may be distracting, you'll be glad you made the trip.

Lawry's The Prime Rib

Courtesy of Lawry the Prime Rib
Succulent prime rib, served tableside from silver carts, deservedly gets top billing at Lawry's The Prime Rib , a must-do for any foodie on vacation. The Beverly Hills institution, which operated for many years from a location across the street, complements your food with flavorful sides including seasoned creamed spinach, asparagus with béarnaise and buttered peas. Only half of the tables are reserved, so don't hesitate to stop in on a whim.

Lucille's Smokehouse Bar-B-Que

Lucille's Smokehouse Bar-B-Que employs the secrets passed down to Lucille Buchanan from her Granny to kick your salivary glands into overdrive. Although meats smoked slowly over hickory wood merit pride of place on the menu, your tongue also will dance for pan-blackened catfish, center-cut pork chops, jambalaya and blackened chicken pasta. Southern folk art enhances the down-home feel of the busy Long Beach setting. Made-from-scratch desserts—including peach cobbler, bread pudding and Snickers ice cream pie—provide a great reason for you to linger.

The Lobster

flickr / CC BY/Prayitno
Treat your senses to the sights, sounds, smells and tastes of the Pacific Ocean at Santa Monica's The Lobster, a sophisticated spot for pepper-crusted yellowfin tuna, sesame-roasted black bass, grilled Pacific spiny lobster and jumbo lump crab cakes. If your tastes lean more toward turf than surf, consider New York steak, filet mignon or grilled chicken breast. Inhale the crisp sea air on the inviting patio and add this spot to your list of things to do for couples.

Maison Akira

Global influences come into play on the area's multicultural culinary scene. Chef/owner Akira Hirose's impressive curriculum vitae incorporates education in France and experience at a veritable “where's where” of fine California restaurants. The latest entry: the eponymous Maison Akira in Pasadena. Evidence of an Asian influence marks his French creations, including miso-marinated grilled Chilean sea bass and roasted rack of lamb in rosemary sauce. Treat yourself to one of the sublime pastries, which stun in their exquisite visual appeal.

El Cholo

Pasadena's El Cholo boasts that the number of tortillas it has sold would circumnavigate the globe three times over (and then some) if laid end to end. Don't be surprised if you have to wait at this bustling cafe before you get your chance to slightly extend that distance with your enchilada, taco or chimichanga order. Splurge on a margarita and dig into guacamole as you get caught up in the festivity of the dining room, where affable staffers in traditional Mexican attire punch up the mood.

Crustacean Beverly Hills

Walk on water over the in-floor koi aquarium that curves through Crustacean Beverly Hills. Its Vietnamese/French delights include a “secret kitchen” menu of closely guarded family recipes, most notably the specialty garlic noodles and Dungeness crab roasted in pepper-garlic sauce. The luxe design re-creates a French Colonial plantation in Hanoi.

Places to Eat in Downtown L.A.

Courtesy of Border Grill
If you're dining downtown, there are several excellent and fun places to go, including seafood-centric Water Grill , gourmet Mexican stalwart Border Grill Downtown LA , and AAA 4-Diamond Patina at the Walt Disney Concert Hall. Want a healthy side of history to go along with your filet mignon? Lay tracks for a downtown classic, the Pacific Dining Car . Here you'll feast on Prime steaks in the classy, vintage confines of a 1921 replica railroad car. Seeking hipster fusion cuisine and craft cocktails? Look elsewhere. Got a craving for a veal chop and martini at 6 a.m.? This old-school 24/7 steakhouse is your place. And like most high-end restaurants downtown, it offers complimentary shuttle service to the Music Center and Staples Center.

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Los Angeles, CA

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Travel Information

City Population

3,792,621

Elevation

267 ft.

Sales Tax

State and county sales taxes total 9.5 percent in Los Angeles. A lodging tax, called a transient occupancy tax, of 14 percent also is levied along with an 8.25 percent rental car tax.

Emergency

911

Police (non-emergency)

(877) 275-5273 (within the city of Los Angeles only)

Hospitals

Kaiser Permanente-Los Angeles Medical Center, (323) 783-4011; LAC+USC Medical Center, (323) 409-1000; Providence Little Company of Mary, (310) 832-3311; Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, (310) 825-9111; Valley Presbyterian Hospital, (818) 782-6600.

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6801 Hollywood Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90028. Phone:(323)467-6412

Air Travel

The Los Angeles area is served by several airports with cheap airline flights including Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), which is about 20 miles southwest of downtown L.A. Several other airports serve the area.

Rental Cars

Most major car rental agencies serve Los Angeles. Hertz, (800) 654-3080, provides discounts to AAA members.

Rail Service

It's almost worth traveling by train just to experience Union Station, the combination Spanish Revival-Art Deco-Streamline Moderne-style terminal at 800 N. Alameda St., near Olvera Street and Chinatown. Amtrak trains, (800) 872-7245, use the station, as well as depots scattered throughout the region.

Buses

Greyhound Lines Inc., (800) 231-2222, has a terminal at 1716 E. 7th St., near Alameda Street, about 1.5 miles south of Union Station. Caveat emptor: ticket purchase does not guarantee a seat on the bus.

Taxis

Taxis are plentiful downtown and at major tourist sites. They can be hailed or boarded from stalls found at the airport, Union Station and major hotels. The base rate is $2.85 at flag drop and $2.70 per mile. The fixed fare between the airport and downtown is $46.50 plus a $4 surcharge for fares originating from the airport. Some large companies are Checker, (800) 300-5007; Independent (800) 521-8294; United Independent, (213) 483-7660 or (800) 892-8294; and Yellow Cab, (424) 222-2222 or (800) 200-1085.

Public Transportation

Transportation by bus, minibus shuttle, light-rail and subway is available in Los Angeles.

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