Coming to LA is a bit like going on safari…you’re hoping to see a rare or endangered animal, and you’re disappointed if you don’t. Only here in Los Angeles, we have Kardashians instead of rhinoceroses (close enough, if you ask me).
So where exactly do these elusive celebrities hang out? Rodeo Drive? The Walk of Fame? The Roosevelt Hotel, home of the very first Academy Awards?
Um, not really. Rodeo Drive sometimes, but only the especially desperate. For your best chance at seeing a Beyoncé-caliber A-lister, you need to book a dinner reservation at one of the hottest restaurants in town.
Here are the top 5 best restaurants for star spotting in Los Angeles, as of July 2nd, 2015.
5. Katsuya, 6300 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA
I’m a sushi aficionado and Katsuya definitely makes the cut. Get it? Cut? Like a cut of delicious salmon sashimi topped with caviar on a tiny slice of cucumber? Katsuya, you slay me. Whether you see a celebrity or not, this is one dining experience you’re not soon to forget. Everything is good, but try the Lobster Roll, Kiwi and Scallops, and Spicy Tuna on Crispy Rice.
2. BOA Steakhouse, 9200 Sunset Blvd, West Hollywood, CA
Katsuya is to “worth it” as BOA Steakhouse is to “overrated”. Stars still love it, though. From Pamela Anderson to Oprah Winfrey, every big name has visited BOA at least once. I wouldn’t recommend this restaurant to vegetarians, but meat eaters like myself will enjoy the Bone-in Ribeye with Foie Gras Butter, Twice Baked Potato with Lobster, or the Thai Beef Wraps.
3. Mr Chow, 344 N Camden Drive, Beverly Hills, CA
Care to spend half a paycheck on noodles? PERFECT. You’re in the right place. These noodles are made right in front of you, but still…Mr Chow has been serving famous customers since opening in 1974, keeping up its star-studded clientele every weekend. Try the Dressed Dungeness Crab, Ma Mignon, or Glazed Walnut Shrimp.
2. Spago, 176 N Canon Dr, Beverly Hills, CA
It’s fun to say, but less fun to get a reservation. Owned by none other than Wolfgang Puck, Spago caters to the rich, to the famous, and to the rich and famous. I saw Leonardo DiCaprio here once with two models. Need I say more? This is actually the new location for Spago – it was previously open on Sunset Blvd. When things do extraordinarily well in Hollywood, they move to the 90210. I can’t blame them, either. Dishes not to miss at Spago are the Lobster Truffle Pasta (noticing a lobster trend here in LA?), Smoked Jidori chicken, and every single one of the desserts. This would be a great place to come just for dessert, actually. Ask the staff if Mr. Puck is in the building…he often comes out to greet his fans, making this place much more likely for you to spot a celebrity. Wolfgang Puck totally counts as a celebrity!
1. Craig’s, 8826 Melrose Ave, West Hollywood, CA
Number one on my list is Craig’s Restaurant in West Hollywood. This restaurant is so wildly popular that when you pull up to the valet, six paparazzi will be waiting outside, eagerly trying to see if you’re anybody famous. I don’t know about you, but just seeing photographers camped outside is enough for me to have a “Hollywood” experience. Ditch your Honda and pull up in a luxury Uber to really feel like an A-lister for the night. Make sure to make your reservation at least two weeks in advance, as this place is THE restaurant in Los Angeles right now and everyone is trying to get in. Right down the street is SUR Lounge, featured in Vanderpump Rules and The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. Worth a mention for any of you reality TV fans out there. The most popular dishes at Craig’s are the Chicken Parmesan, Truffle Mushroom Pizza, and the Meatloaf. Shout out to the valet attendants at Craig’s who are always happy to be there, and even give you cookies when you leave!
Now that you have the list of the best restaurants, you need a few tips to increase your chances of seeing a star.
– Book in advance. Prime dining time for stars is around 8:00 – 10:00 PM, so I’d book an 8:30 reservation and eat slow.
– Get lost on the way to the bathroom. Do a couple laps. You’re not going to see anyone famous from your romantic, candlelit booth. Get up and pee a couple times, and get “lost” every time. Just don’t walk too sober; you know what I mean?
– Turn the flash on your camera to OFF. Not on, not auto, OFF. Same goes for the sound. If you do see a celeb and try to sneak a picture, you don’t want your phone selling you out.
– Everyone in LA looks famous. If you’re really sly, just take photos of all the tables to review later. 😉 #CreepyMcCreeperson
– ONLY GO ON WEEKENDS. It’s not worth it to go on a Monday, trust me. Stick to Friday and Saturday, Sunday if you must. Thursdays can be decent, but the beginning of the week is typically quiet! For a true star-spotting experience, you need to go when they go. Stars love weekends, because it reminds them of every day. Except, you know, there are more people around to admire them.
Save up some cash, book a reservation, and keep your eyes peeled. If this list helps you see a star, write down whom you saw (and where) in the comments below. Good luck!