Best hidden gem: Nerano
9960 S Santa Monica Boulevard
This discreet location on the border of Beverly Hills and Century City hides an intimate, inviting space, with framed art hanging on brick walls, bright blue banquettes, and a lively crowd. The Amalfi Coast-inspired menu by chef Michele Lisi contains plenty of seafood prepared Italian-style: tender-all-the-way-through octopus with olive oil mashed potatoes, crudo dressed in lemon and Tuscan mint, and excellent branzino. Upstairs BG Lounge (an even more hidden gem with plush velvet couches and a small bar) offers aperitivo and hideaway hours, serving aperol spritzes and negronis in addition to Japanese whiskies and mezcal. If you work in the area, take advantage of the lounge’s Industry Nights: Now through October 31, those who work in Beverly Hills or Century City can show their business cards for 50% off all drinks Monday through Thursday, 7-9pm.
246 N Canon Drive
You haven’t really eaten steak until you’ve cut into the bone-in ribeye at Mastro’s: a marbled, mouthwatering marriage of fatty char and tender, pink-tinged meat, depending on how rare you’ve ordered it. But the best part about this steakhouse is how it doesn’t cut corners on sides, such as creamed spinach and buttery lobster mashed potatoes. Don’t leave without trying the famous butter cake, which has crunchy sugar crystals on top and a warm, moist, almost-melty center. This month, the restaurant’s introducing a seasonal version made with real pumpkins, spices, and pumpkin pie-spiced cream cheese -- available through the holidays.