by Mar Yvette - 482 Reviews - 150 List
As a Citysearch editor, it's my job to get out, grub down and live it up all around the City of Angels. (I know it's tough, but somebody's gotta do it.) Here are some of my favorite places in L.A. whether I'm on or off the clock.
Updated: November 05, 2010
I'm really a stickler when it comes to ambiance. I know a lot of folks take pride in loving dives (be it a bar, restaurant or whatever), but I'm not one of them. So when I say that this original outpost of Carousel (the much larger and fancier version with belly dancing is in Glendale) is among my absolute favorite places to eat in all of L.A., it's really saying something. It's hidden inside a rundown strip mall called Hye Plaza in Little Armenia, and it's where you can get incredible Mediterranean "grandma" food. I always order the Vegetarian Delight--the muhammara is to live for. Totally authentic, 100% delicious, absurdly affordable.
I met Jose years ago when I was hosting a Spanish makeover show and he's been doing my hair ever since. Jose of Beverly Hills ... on Fairfax. Love it! (Actually, the name is legit-- it's because he used to be a top hairdresser at a swanky BH salon.) Anyway, he makes everyone feel like family and his cuts are super affordable. Did I mention he's also an Elvis impersonator? (Really. He does it professionally on the side.) Love him! Sure, I cheat on him from time to time (blame my job), but I always come back to him no matter what.
Want the quintessential Hollywood experience? Want to feel like you're one of the important people who wears shades in the shade and likes personal-size ketchup bottles for your perfectly crisped pommes frites? Then you'll love it here. The courtyard feels worlds away from the smoggy congestion of Sunset and the lobby is just so old-school musty boho glam. I always meet someone famous here (Michael Stipe, Christopher Walken, Giovanni Ribisi, Kevin Smith, that supposedly sexy guy from "Unfaithful" who looked sorta buff in the movie but is really quite scrawny and sweaty in person ...) and the food has never been bad. Truly one of my favorite places to just hang and have lunch. No wonder everyone from Bette Davis to Keanu has lived here at one point or another.
Whenever the 'rents, future mom-in-law or any other guest rolls into town, a meal here is usually on the agenda. Located on the 18th floor of the Huntley Hotel, it offers not 180-, not 250-, but 360-degree views of the entire city, from the ocean to LAX, Downtown to Malibu. Sure, the white walls and leather seats are in need of some attention (hello, Simple Green), but the scenery is unmatched. Brunch is the only time I come (it's not as busy or expensive as dinner) and the food is always good. (Try the huevos rancheros, fresh juices and bananas foster French toast--it's so good and I don't even like bananas.)
Reserved seating is a must when I go see a movie, so naturally this place is one of my faves. (Full disclosure: Even though I prefer Landmark's reclining seats and proximity to home, they don't offer reward points like Arclilght. And even though Gold Class in Pasadena has the BEST seats of <i>any</i> movie theater I've ever been to--they're like huge La-Z-Boy chairs--it's too far of a drive to get there most days.) I'm usually able to get a free drink or popcorn since I'm always accruing points on my membership (it's free to join) and I can hardly ever leave without purchasing a little something at the cool gift shop. On weekend nights I love that they open up the coffee stand where I can grab a Revolution peppermint tea and Susina cookie before the show. Yum!