Just mention the name “Beverly Hills” and you’re inundated by images of glitzy celebrities, glamorous babes, overpriced juice bars, and just a general sense of luxury (faux or otherwise), which makes it hard to believe that certain areas of the Hills can have a small-town feel.
Beverly Drive just south of Wilshire Boulevard is one of those neighborhoods that still retain some of that small town, Edward Hopper-esque vibe, replete with neighborhood diners and cafes where long-time residents come to swap stories and get coffee just the way they like it. Ironic that Beverly Drive evokes this Middle America feel, considering it’s only a few blocks from the Golden Triangle of Beverly Hills Luxury: Rodeo Drive and its tributary streets.
But if there’s anything Beverly Drive teaches us: The Hills isn’t just about shopping, it’s where people come together and become a community, and this is exemplified in the sheer number of amazing and fun restaurants that Beverly Hills has to offer. After all, food is the great unifier, and what better way to celebrate that with some of the world’s best restaurants, both haute cuisine and comfort food. We take a look at some of the most fun restaurants Beverly Hills has to offer.
Lawry’s the Prime Rib
Beverly Hills is the home of the first and original Lawry’s Prime Rib, that legendary restaurant known for its pride and joy, the standing rib roast, served table-side by a master carver who carves your beef from a rolling cart. Lawry’s is the gold standard of steakhouses, despite its competition from Master chef-run restaurants and Michelin-starred spots on the same street. It’s an American institution that has spawned bottled sauces and chain establishments all around the country.
It’s an entire show that makes it one of the most fun restaurants in Beverly Hills, but the spectacle actually starts as early as the salad course, where the server (complete in their signature red-and-white retro uniform) provides the entire table with chilled forks as they spin a ginormous salad bowl while simultaneously drizzling their house sauce from a height. Few places in the world, let alone Beverly Hills, provide this much entertainment into their service without getting too kitschy.
Location: 100 N. La Cienega Blvd.
Phone Number: (310) 652-2827
There’s nothing more fun than wine, and Wally’s Vinoteca does it in spades. Operating as both a wine bar (hence the Vinoteca in its name ) and a retail wine shop, Wally’s Vinoteca is the brainchild of Christian Navarro, with its first branch opening in Westwood in 1968. Wally’s Vinoteca in Beverly Hills is open until 2am, with an impressive catalog of over 150 wines, all served in beautiful Riedel stemware (the Cadillac of wine glasses). To intensify your wine experience, Wally’s Vinoteca pairs their wines with a curated selection of cheeses and salumi, all of which, of course, is served on white Carrara marble communal tables, so you can rub shoulders with everyone from hip and trendy young’uns to sophisticated connoisseurs.
The food is haute cuisine-inspired, with a fine menu of modern French dishes like a fanciful take on the bouillabaisse to their now-famous Wally’s burger, all of which, of course, are specifically designed to pair with their wines. Have I told you about how extensive their wine selection is? File past the dark walnut shelves where they keep the regular bottles, and you’ll find yourself in their wine vault: a vast room filled with vintage California Cabernet, Bordeaux, and Burgundies. Feeling just a little bit fancy? Try one of their rare bottles at a $40 surcharge for a taste of real wine history.
All in all, Wally’s Vinoteca has everything a fun restaurant in Beverly Hills would need: a late-night wine-and-food spot with friendly people, knowledgeable wait staff, and swanky environs.
Located at: 447 N. Canon Drive
Phone Number: (310) 475-3540
Sprinkles Cupcake ATM
Drive by Little Santa Monica at night and you’ll see a strange sight: young people lined up almost around the block, all waiting to get a taste of the legendary Sprinkles Cupcake ATM. The ATM is not for nothing, by the way: it’s an actual machine that dispenses Sprinkles Cupcakes. Sprinkles Cupcakes itself is a bit of an institution, what with it being one of the first truly cupcake-dedicated bakeries in the country.
Of course, it’s not an actual ATM; there’s a guy in the back restocking the machine with different flavors. It’s a truly creative take on ‘fast food’, and a fun restaurant experience in Beverly Hills. The ATM is open 24/7, so you can get your sugar fix any time of the night. Another bonus: Sprinkles Cupcakes ATM also has cupcakes for dogs, so your furry friend doesn’t have to miss out on the fun!
Located at: 9635 S. Santa Monica Blvd
Nate ‘n Al Delicatessen
At more than 70 years old, Nate n’ Al Delicatessen is a quintessential Jewish deli that has served the Beverly Drive neighborhood for generations. The food is classic Jewish deli: corned beef sandwich, pastrami piled high on rye, matzo brie, and of course, bagel with lox. Even after 7 decades, Nate n’ Al Delicatessen hasn’t changed recipes much; it’s that mindset of ‘hey, it if ain’t broke, don’t fix it’.
Everyone from Larry King and Tom Cruise to Paul Schaefer and Judd Apatow has dined at one point or another in Nate n’ Al, all because it’s American comfort food at its finest. Nate n’ Al might not have haute cuisine smoked fish, or fancy-shmancy pastrami, but it’s down-to-earth honest cooking that people, celebrity or otherwise, need from time to time. It’s neither trendy nor upscale; it’s classic, old-fashioned, homey food for a hungry soul.
Located at: 414 N. Beverly Drive
Phone Number: (310) 274-0101
The Cheese Store of Beverly Hills
Probably my personal favorite restaurant of all-time (because I mean, who doesn’t love cheese?!), The Cheese Store of Beverly Hills is a turophiles dream: from Mozarellas and Camemberts, to exotic Brie de Maux and Halloumi, The Cheese Store is run by chef owner Norbert Wabnig. Hailing from Austria, Norbert Wabnig took his expertise and started teaching staff and customers alike about the wonders of cheese.
The store itself is quite homey, if not a bit cramped, but it has, quite possibly, the most extensive cheese collection this side of the Rocky Mountains. Name a cheese, and Norbert most likely has it. Of course, The Cheese Store of Beverly Hills also has a fine selection of wines, caviars, charcuteries, truffles, various types of oils from Olive and Hazelnut to Avocado and Pumpkin Seed. They also have a ton of events, from wine-and-cheese pairing nights to grand Champagne tastings, easily making it one of the most fun restaurants in Beverly Hills. Be forewarned, however: this place is popular with crowds of all ages and social scenes, so events sell out very quickly!
Located at: 419 N. Beverly Drive
Phone Number: (310) 278-2855
One would be remiss not to include José Andrés’ flagship tapas restaurant The Bazaar on a list of fun restaurants in Beverly Hills, for a variety of reasons (not the least of which is José Andrés himself, who is quite the character both off-screen and on).
First, The Bazaar is separated into two main rooms: Rojo and Blanco. Rojo is your traditional tapas bar, serving classics like gambas al ajillo (shrimp sautéed in garlic and oil), gazpacho (cold tomato soup), and a wide selection of Spanish cheeses. Meanwhile, Blanco takes these classic tapas dishes and elevates it to modern elegance: cherry tomatoes served with liquid mozzarella, Brussels sprouts served with lemon puree, fruits, and, get this, lemon air (a must try!), and my favorite, Octopus toast with chili, sea lettuce, tomato, and avocado.
Yes, this place is on the haute cuisine spectrum of things, but José Andrés does such a spectacular job playing with food that you can’t help but be swept up in the fun. It’s truly one of the most delicious, not to mention exquisitely unique, places in Beverly Hills.
Located at: 465 S. La Cienega Blvd
Phone number: (310) 246-5555
The Fountain Coffee Room
Located just below The Polo Lounge in the luxurious Beverly Hills Hotel, The Fountain Coffee Room is one of the most colorful and fun restaurants in Beverly Hills, with its pink pastel walls and 19-seater stool counter. It’s everything you think of when you think diner.
Unlike its upstairs counterpart, The Fountain Coffee Room is all about comfort food: silver dollar pancakes, bacon and eggs, waffles with whipped cream. Sure, it’s cuisine prices for home cookin’, but it’s worth the price just so you can sit next to A-list celebrities whilst you shovel your umpteenth waffle down your gullet.
Located at: 9641 Sunset Blvd
Phone number: (310) 276-2251