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This story first appeared in the Feb. 1 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.
12345 Ventura Blvd.
The Big Industry Neighbor: CBS Radford Studios
This pitch-perfect Gjelina/Mozza knockoff in Studio City does the contemporary peasant-rustic Italian thing with finesse. Swiss chard accompanies oven-baked meatballs, fennel is shaved atop a Tuscan kale salad, and cauliflower is lightly breaded in rice flour. There’s a serious mozzarella bar, and the pizzas (including zucchini flower) are wood-fired.
9669 Santa Monica Blvd.
The Big Industry Neighbor: WME
Surprise: It’s a 28-year-old upstart, not Wolfgang Puck, who’s really making waves with refined yet accessible Austrian cooking in Beverly Hills. Standing apart amid a sea of Mediterranean options is Patina-trained Bernhard Mairinger‘s nimble, sustained engagement with lingonberries, schnitzel, creamy veal gulasch and house-cured char.
1032 Swarthmore Ave.
The Big Industry Neighbors: Assorted Malibu billionaires
Owner Alain Giraud — the decades-long reigning eminence grise of the city’s French restaurant scene, from Lavande to Bastide to Anisette — has opened a casual but decidedly on-point bistro in dining-deprived Pacific Palisades. This counts as meeting halfway for Malibu-based big shots who don’t want to drive deeper into the Westside.
1800 Sawtelle Blvd.
The Big Industry Neighbor: Morgan Creek Productions
Along West L.A.’s noodle corridor sits this Asian-inflected hub of New American menu moments where the fried chicken is a jidori bird accompanied by smoked milk gravy, the signature burger features cheese blended with dashi broth and the pastrami sandwich is smeared with kimchi mustard.
24 Windward Ave.
The Big Industry Neighbor: Digital Domain
Mere footsteps from the Venice Beach boardwalk yet so far from its touristy cheese, this astute outdoor cafe — named after noted Minimalist artist and neighborhood fixture Larry Bell — is a beacon for those nearby in gastronomically derelict Playa del Rey. The pub grub is urbane, but order the crass Porkalicious Pizza: bacon, chorizo, sausage, prosciutto.
The Pub at Golden Road
5410 W. San Fernando Road
The Big Industry Neighbor: DreamWorks Animation
Craft beers and vegan-friendly vittles beside a set of train tracks near Glendale: This haunt for the ethically minded, artisanally aware set replaces the steak-and-martini meal of yore with a coconut salad-and-IPA order in a former Southern Pacific railway switching station. It’s from the owner of Echo Park’s similarly pitched Mohawk Bend.
9201 Sunset Blvd.
The Big Industry Neighbor: Mosaic
The famed Hamburger Hamlet address at the western edge of the Sunset Strip has been transformed into this traditional Italian concept, opened Jan. 14, from the folks behind BOA across the street. The 8,000-square-foot indoor/outdoor space is presided over by noted L.A. chef Gino Angelini, who is the owner of popular Beverly Boulevard restaurant Angelini Osteria.
4500 Los Feliz Blvd.
The Big Industry Neighbor: The Prospect Studios (ABC Television Center)
The husk of an old Brown Derby restaurant, first opened by Cecil B. DeMille, has found new life as this astute interpretation of au courant Americana. The sandwiches range from poor boys to smoked brisket. Sweet potato fritters come with pumpkin-seed Romesco sauce. And, fittingly, there’s a Cobb salad (the Derby is where it all began).
7617 W. Sunset Blvd.
The Big Industry Neighbor: Paramount Studios
The former Coach & Horses pub has been reimagined by Sean MacPherson — an owner of Manhattan’s Waverly Inn — and business partner Jared Meisler as this Spotted Pig-esque take on the genre. There’s a persimmon salad with speck, ravioli with house-made ricotta and a cocktail anchored in cheap whiskey that’s named after Divine Brown.
The Hart and the Hunter
7950 Melrose Ave.
The Big Industry Neighbor: CBS Television City
Brian Dunsmoor and Kris Tominaga, the buzzed-about chefs behind Venice pop-up Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing, have opened this ode to new-school Southern cooking in Mid-City. While dinner offerings go full-bore on Dixie decadence — expect grits, pimento cheese and butter biscuits — the lunch menu is veggie-heavy, all Brussels sprouts, beans and kale.
408 S. Main St.
The Big Industry Neighbor: Los Angeles Center Studios
At night, foodies flock from afar to acclaimed chef Josef Centeno‘s bustling, Mexican-by-way-of-the-Mideast small-plates place in downtown L.A.’s loft district. During the day, locals arrive for the namesake addictive flatbread sandwiches stuffed with such combinations as oxtail hash with horseradish sauce and crispy shrimp with sriracha.
9575 W. Pico Blvd.
The Big Industry Neighbor: 20th Century Fox Studios
Just south of Beverly Hills and east of Century City, this highly regarded dinnertime Italian stallion — only open for lunch Wednesday through Friday — is somehow still a secret at high noon. Forget that diet and order such guilt gorgings as the crispy pork-belly porcetto sandwich, the chicken-liver ragu rigatoni and the tomato-braised octopus.
8631 Washington Blvd.
The Big Industry Neighbor: Sony Pictures Studios
Culver City’s gallery row hosts this sit-down farm-to-table redoubt of next-level basics (a chorizo-fingerling potato stew) with a serious sandwich menu — see the mint and rosemary roast leg of lamb with harissa on olive focaccia — that helps put the neighborhood in league with better-tended points north of the 10 Freeway.
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