How Larry Ellison Created the Summer's Hottest Restaurant Scene for Malibu's Beachside Billionaires
With the one-two punch of Nobu and Nikita, the Oracle CEO has put his money where the mouths are, transforming a fast food-pocked stretch of Pacific Coast Highway into the town's go-to networking destination for industry power players.
This story first appeared in the Aug. 16 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.
Malibu's Carbon Beach, located just south of the city's eponymous pier, may deservedly be nicknamed Billionaire's Beach for its inhabitants, from David Geffen to Eli Broad, but until recently, its most prominent dining options were -- quelle horreur! -- a McDonald's and a KFC just across Pacific Coast Highway.
Now, thanks to Carbon's biggest landowner, Larry Ellison, Malibu has a bona fide dining scene for the first time in years. You'll find Michael Eisner leaving Nobu just as Leslie Moonves is arriving. Meanwhile, just a few steps away at Nikita, everyone from Mark Burnett and James L. Brooks to music producer David Foster and Warner Bros. executive vp Blair Rich can be found holding forth. "It's got a fun, beachy vibe, not stuffy at all," enthuses Parks and Recreation writer-producer Mike Scully. "Any celebrity would be proud to be arrested there."
Last summer, the Oracle CEO induced Nobu Matsuhisa to transplant his sushi spot at the nearby Country Mart to a far larger oceanfront lot Ellison owns steps from his home. Then, for a sister space across the shared Bentley- and Tesla-studded parking lot, he flirted with Wolfgang Puck. Talks didn't pan out, so Ellison on July 1 opened his own Italian-inclined Mediterranean restaurant, Nikita -- named after his girlfriend, Ukrainian actress Nikita Kahn -- at the address. "You feel rich when you go to these places," says Malibu-based realtor Madison Hildebrand, who stars on Bravo's Million Dollar Listing. "And you certainly pay for it." But, hey, if you can't afford Nobu's $46 lobster shiitake salad, you still can cross the street.