What to Do / Where to Eat in Los Angeles

by Shirl

Lately, friends from far and close are visiting Los Angeles one after another – it must be the season. Some come for the pleasant climate, while others stop over just to catch up and have a good meal. Inevitably, everyone asks what we can do and where we can eat well in Los Angeles. You know I like to plan my day around food, so I thought I might as well pair up something nice to do right around where good food can be found. Here are some combinations that have proven to work.

The quiet tree-lined Melrose Place is perfect for a nice stroll, if not shopping. (Right, Anja?) You’ll find even more stores to browse if you traverse along Melrose Ave, from Santa Monica Blvd to the west to Crescent Heights to the east. In between, there are the Urth Caffe and Sweet Lady Jane if you want a nice coffee break.
A Beautiful Dining Spot to boot
Bastide offers one of the most serene dining settings you can find in this city. You enter a beautiful garden patio and leave all your thoughts behind to enjoy an exquisite lunch. By the way, the restaurant also serves as a showcase for the French publisher, Assouline; so take some time to browse those gorgeous art and design books on display.

Downtown Entertainment
Whether you are going to a Lakers' or Kings game, or you are going to a U2 or Jay-Z concert you would most likely be headed to LA Live. This is the entertainment central in Downtown. You can also find the old standbys of cinemas, bowling alleys and night club right in the LA Live complex.
Cocktails at Rivera
You wouldn’t want to go to an event on an empty stomach, would you? A perfect pre-game meal can be found close by at the handsome Rivera. The bartender would prepare you a custom-ordered cocktail to pair with some exceptional Latin dishes. This is a restaurant where you can expect interesting flavor combinations take the center stage. Allow yourself plenty of time to enjoy this early bird dinner.
The bar scene in downtown today is a lot different from a few years back, especially with the opening of some fine establishments like these: The Varnish, Seven Grand and Edison. So pick one to start your bar crawl. Oh, if you are feel like a late night snack, try Wurstkuche.

Some Art & Culture
Some days we like to be immersed in a bit arts and culture, here are three great museums I’d recommend: Hammer Museum, Getty Center, and Fowler Museum. And if you enjoy going to a play like I do, check out the schedule at Geffen Playhouse.
Tavern all day long
Any time of day is a good time to visit Tavern in Brentwood, despite its name. During the day you have the choice of eating at the larder or in the beautiful, sun-lit, dining room. The restaurant does have a gorgeous bar that serves cocktails and small plates from late afternoon on. In the end, it’s their dinner menu that really got everyone’s attention. If you wonder what California cuisine represents, this is a great place to sample it. By the way, over in Westwood, there’s a nice Persian sandwich place on Westwood Blvd called Attari, good for a quick meal.

Live Music
For many, West Hollywood is where you are headed for night life. For me, I enjoy live music so often attend a show or two at these venues: Troubadour, the Largo at Coronet and El Rey. Many outstanding bands and artists frequent these stages; check out their schedules in advance.
Dinner with a Spanish Accent
On La Cienega where there are a number of dining options to choose from, my favorite has to be The Bazaar. (Sun, you know that well!) The small plate Spanish menu at is divided into traditional and modern styles. The best way to enjoy your meal is to order up from both sides of the menu. Also, don’t miss the drink and snack offerings from the carts rolling by you. It’s the sense of humor and the playfulness that makes this restaurant stand apart from many other top-notched establishments.

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Here are a few more of my favorite restaurants around town:
If you are shopping on Abbot Kinney, you wouldn't go wrong with either Gjelina or the Tasting Kitchen;
and if you are catching a movie at Landmark Theater in West LA, grab a quick bite at Westside Tavern.
Finally, if you are strolling down Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica, there's a great brasserie just around the corner - Anisette.

With ample choices, I hope I have convinced you that a good meal is indeed easy enough to find in LA wherever you might be. Have fun and eat well!

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