After having my parents in town for a few days, I put together a list of the best places we went to get breakfast, lunch, dinner, or drinks. These are not your every day places as they will significantly hurt your wallet. But, if you're looking for some nice places to go that are unique to LA and can spend an evening wining and dining your guests, then these are my recommendations:
Aroma Cafe, Studio City, CA
This is my favorite place to go in the valley for a cup of coffee (soy latte for me, please) and breakfast/lunch. The food is fantastic, but even more so is the atmosphere. You'll be surrounded by creative people and a beautiful landscape. I suggest sitting in the back by the bird bath. For breakfast, I recommend the "Power Breakfast" if you're trying to stay fit: chicken breast, egg whites, with either toast, fruit, or greens. For lunch, I like the goat cheese & walnut salad, or the chicken & prosciutto panini. Be sure to take a walk through the house and check out Portrait of a Bookstore for some great reads and unique souvenirs. Very, very charming!
Caffe Primo, West Hollywood, CA
If you're staying near the West Hollywood area or happen to be driving down the Sunset Strip, Caffe Primo is an awesome Italian-style cafe to visit. Their Italian omelets are the perfect size for breakfast--I enjoy the spinach and goat cheese omelet, personally. Of course, their coffee is amazing and gives you the right kick to get through the rest of the day. Go back for lunch, too, and get some gelato while you're there. Buonissimo!
Jerry's Famous Deli, Studio City, CA
My parents got in late Wednesday night so we needed a late night spot that would be quick and good. Jerry's has one of the most extensive menus I have ever seen. Definitely something for everyone. Burgers, soups, salads, pasta, sandwiches, breakfast dishes, dessert, and the list goes on. This is a great spot to go if you're on a budget and in a hurry. Multiple locations.
Sushi Roku, Santa Monica, CA
After work Thursday evening, we headed over to Sushi Roku for some, well, sushi. It was delicious! We had: Edamame, Cruncy Spicy Tuna with Avocado, Salmon Sashimi, Chilean Seabass in Yuzu Butter (out of this world), Panko Crusted Salmon with Wasabi Cream and Tonkatsu Sauce, and a couple large glasses of Hot Sake "Ozeki". I'm a sucker for dessert, so we all shared a Chocolate Volcano "Sushi Roku" style with vanilla bean ice cream. Needless to say, it was a wonderful meal and broke down to about $40/person.
Rustic Canyon Wine Bar and Seasonal Kitchen, Santa Monica, CA
Yet another amazing Los Angeles restaurant that I highly, highly recommend going--with or without out-of-town guests! Order the Butternut Squash Soup with roasted apples and sage to start. The night we were there the Root Vegetable "Shepherds Pie" was 86'd, so I'm assuming it's outstanding. I went with the tortellone stuffed with goat cheese and mint--an incredible combination of flavor, let me tell you! We shared a bottle of Nipa Cabernet 2005, Paso Robles, which was a wonderful addition to the meal. Finally, for dessert, my mom and I shared a Poached Pear and Vahlrona Chocolate Crostata with toasted almonds and vanilla ice cream, while my dad--described as the Italian Tommy Lee Jones--enjoyed some old fashioned pumpkin pie. Of course, we all had cappuccino, too.
Cliff's Edge Restaurant, Silver Lake, CA
This is my favorite restaurant in Los Angeles. The food is always amazing, the atmosphere is gorgeous, the clientèle is chill, the management is accommodating and friendly. The restaurant is difficult to find if you've not been told of its location. Besides a small valet lot in front of a mystical wooden door and lots of greenery, its hard to tell there might be a restaurant back there. Sitting outside anywhere is a good spot, but especially if you can get the banquettes on the "second" level. With a tree so storybook perfect growing in the center of the space with fabulous lighting, you can't help but feel enchanted. For an appetizer, I suggest the Fritto Misto. My favorite dish is the Pumpkin Ravioli with Sage and Brown Butter. The Almond Encrusted Goat Cheese with Mix Lettuce is wonderful, as is the Roasted Beet and Mixed Green Salad with Herbed Goat Cheese (catching on that I'm a huge fan of goat cheese?). If you're a meat eater, then go for the Grilled Filet Mignon with Gorgonzola & Port Sauce, which comes with sauteed spinach and roasted garlic mashed potatoes. For dessert, their Tiramisu, Panna Cotta, and Blood Orange Sorbet with Cointreau are fantastic! As is their Flourless Chocolate Cake with Homemade Kumquat Marmelade, and their Profiterole with Vanilla Ice Cream & Chocolate Sauce.
Michelangelo Pizzeria Ristorante, Silver Lake, CA
Now in their new location, Michelangelo's is one of the best places to go for some authentic Italian pasta and sauce. All the waiters are dressed in Italy 1990 World Cup t-shirts, which is worth seeing in person. Their Eggplant Parmigiana is one of the best I've ever had. If you want a good pasta, try their Rigatoni all'amatriciana--buonissimo! WARNING: They currently do not have their liquor license since they moved to their new location, so make sure you bring a bottle of your own wine in the meantime!
Alright. There is my list...for now. Do you have a great place in LA you like to take guests? Or just a favorite joint in general? Share it here on The Dealio.