The Five Hottest Restaurants in L.A. This Week

Il Covo
Chris Godley

At press time, there was no sign above the door at the new Il Covo on West 3rd Street, which is still testing out its menu during a soft opening phase.

This week’s top five restaurants around Hollywood are a mix of old, new and renewed.

1. IL COVO, 8706 W. Third St., L.A. (310) 858-0020
Evening maitre’d Joe Rosenberg’s background as a movie producer helps him negotiate the flow of ex-Orso lovers who are flocking back to the location’s new inhabitant: Sean McPherson’s Il Covo, just officially opened, in time for summer. Call it the West Coast Waverly Inn -- as McPherson is a partner in that New York A-list now institution. Il Covo has a Tuscan old-world sheen, with the inside room’s fireplace burning, and circular booths -- and a great new bar. The patio outside is now enclosed and walled -- and the Orso lunch-on-the-patio crowd is trickling back in: a combination of movie producers, entertainment lawyers, agents, actors, old school icons (Mel Brooks and Paul Mazursky) and a nice mix of young and older. The risotto with porcini is worth the calories, the pizza has a nice crunchy crust, and the carcioffi salad with parmesan is the perfect lunch for the ladies. 

2. CRAIG’S, 8826 Melrose Avenue, L.A. (310) 276-1900
The new industry canteen continues its evening run of the It Place for Power Brokers – and few Air Kissers as well. Last week saw Dick Wolf, Sumner Redstone, Peter Guber, Todd Feldman, Paul Haas, UTA’s Tracy Jacobs, Clint Culpepper, Ryan Seacrest, Jessica Alba, Jackie Collins and regular Ryan Philippe. The cioppino and the filet with blue cheese ravioli are the hottest dishes, and Mondays and Thursdays are the hot nights -- Thursday for the late bar scene. Sundays is a hip family night for the kids.

3.  FIG & OLIVE (pictured below), 8490 Melrose Place, L.A. (310) 360-9100
In the last few weeks, the newish Melrose Place hotspot -- with an outdoor patio just opened making it hotter at lunchtime -- played host to Mila Kunis, Ryan Reynolds, Robert Downey Jr., and all kinds of celebutantes. It’s an original crossover of a nighttime scene -- and very good food. Love that zucchini carpaccio with pine nuts. Just look out for the noise and the crowds as it gets a bit late. On the other hand, if you’re single, this is the place to be from 10 p.m. on.

4.  OSCAR’S CERTEVECA, 523 Rose Ave, Venice (310) 310-8937
This brand new beer bar by the owner of Venice Beach Wines serves tapas and seafoody stuff like Peruvian sashimi and chipotle beer shrimp. Chris Jackson, who’s cooked at Bastide, is the consulting chef and the majority of the menu is based on the recipes of proprietor Oscar Hermosilllo’s mother, Conseula. And even in the first week, it’s already packed: Maggie Grace with Abigail Spencer, publicity whiz Jessica Kolstad with fashion consultant Isaac Joseph, and CSI Miami’s Adam Rodriguez. This is THE summer hangout.

5.  CHATEAU MARMONT, 8221 Sunset Blvd, L.A. (323) 656-1010
The latest spottings at the perennial hotspot -- which continues to draw a mix of establishment players and PYTs on its outdoor patio -- include: Brad Grey and Cassandra Huysenstruyt enjoying Saturday brunch. Patricia Clarkson having late night drinks with friends, while British jeweler Stephen Webber ordered a third round of bottles of champagne for his visiting pals from London mixed with L.A. friends. Lindsay Lohan partied with Marilyn Manson at the DeLeon tequila party. On warm nights, the mix can go on forever. And the food -- well, let’s just say the drinks are great.