Food & Drink

27 Essential Restaurants in Beverly Hills

It’s easy for most to dismiss ultra-famous Beverly Hills, thanks to the Aaron Spelling clichés of yesteryear -- but you, dear reader, are way smarter than most. You know there are delicious eats to be had throughout this neighborhood, from hot new bistros to classic neighborhood diners, and for that, you deserve to be rewarded with the cream of the proverbial crop. These are the 27 best restaurants tucked in your 90210 to 90212 file.

Best Asian fusion: Crustacean

468 N Bedford Drive
Earlier this year, this iconic Beverly Hills restaurant reopened after an eight-month-long, $10 million revamp that added an open glass kitchen and expanded its famous walk-on-water floors. Although executive chef Helene An kept the beloved garlic noodles and dungeness crab (the neighborhood would have rioted if not), the menu’s changed for the better. From starters to entrees, dishes are beautifully presented and inventive -- like tuna stuffed into flaky brick de feuille cigars and dipped in tobiko caviar; a delicate, crunchy kohlrabi salad dressed in black truffle; and crab cake that’s not actually made from crab but hearts of palm and served on a plate speckled with edible flowers. Cocktails also come with a distinctively Asian-inspired twist, like Thai chili-infused vodka or gin with goji berries.

Best hotel restaurant: Culina

300 S Doheny Drive
Under the helm of chef Luca Moriconi -- who grew up in a farming family in Lucca, Italy -- Culina’s offerings are better than ever, focused on high-quality California produce prepared with ingredients from his native country. The menu leans heavily on Italian comfort food like creamy butternut squash soup with mascarpone cheese, pasta gorged with roasted beef and prosciutto, and Swiss chard flan smothered in fondue and served with luscious black truffle shavings and a quail egg. Request a table on the leafy alfresco patio and enjoy Four Seasons Hotel people-watching as you sip on something (Meyer lemon spritz? Peroni? lambrusco?) from Culina’s comprehensive but curated drinks menu.

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.

Best steak: Mastro’s

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.

Best seafood: Avra

233 N Beverly Drive
This colossal, 11,000-square-foot restaurant screams Beverly Hills: elaborate, elegant, and, yes, expensive (but worth every penny). Fashioned to resemble a Grecian open-air villa complete with stone-washed walls, imported limestone, and lemon trees, Avra takes after its New York predecessors with an outstanding Mediterranean menu: crisp zucchini and eggplant chips, Chilean sea bass souvlaki, charcoal-grilled octopus, and a stunning seafood display from which guests can select the whole fish they’d like prepared. There are also king tiger prawns, live langoustines (caught that same day), and Maine lobster for the taking.

Best Italian: Sotto

9575 W Pico Boulevard
Sotto lands somewhere in the Century City/Cheviot Hills area on Pico, but its Beverly Hills clientele makes it a shoo-in for this list. Don’t let the easy-to-miss basement location fool you; the interior charms with flickering candlelight and handsome wood paneling, and tables are packed with either boisterous groups or couples. The menu is easy to navigate, with simple-yet-memorable antipasti (everyone raves about the house-made bread served with whipped lardo and pillowy burrata); well-made pastas (go for the chicken liver ragu) and pizzas cooked in an oak wood-burning oven; and feel-good entrees like a hot, juicy, brick-pressed chicken that arrives swimming in spices.

Best patio dining: The Belvedere

9882 S Santa Monica Boulevard
Even in a city where al fresco dining is a thing, the terrace of this Peninsula Beverly Hills restaurant stands out -- partially shaded by a large tree, surrounded by beautiful landscaping and French limestone fountains, all lit by the warm glow of an outdoor fireplace. These details create a romantic setting for you and your dining companion to enjoy a recently reimagined menu under the direction of executive chef David Codney. His Mediterranean-inspired fare ranges from squid stuffed with jumbo lump crab to hearty lobster paella and smoked duck. Breakfast includes all of the morning basics done better, like an avocado toast spiced up with tomatillo salsa and ripe heirloom tomatoes, or rich Nutella French toast served with amaretto-infused cream.

Best power lunch: Ocean Prime

9595 Wilshire Boulevard
Beverly Hills is where you go to dine and make deals -- and there’s nowhere better than this attractive, Rodeo Drive-adjacent steakhouse outfitted with splashy gold fixtures, sleek wood tables, and cushy booths. Go on a weekday afternoon or evening and you’ll find dark-suited CAA agents and their clients talking business over elaborate shellfish towers, sushi, bone-in filets doused in truffle butter, and glasses of Macallan 18. On Sundays, Ocean Prime offers brunch with bottomless blood orange mimosas and seafood-heavy entrees (crab eggs Benedict and lobster toast), as well as a $60-per-person Surf & Turf menu.

Best tempura: Tempura Endo

9777 S Santa Monica Boulevard
This is tempura like you’ve never had it before. Forget soggy seafood and veggie chunks drooping under the weight of a thick coat of tasteless batter; this Kyoto-style gourmet tempura spot is fanatical about its batter, mixing cold, hard, mineral-rich water with finely textured flour. This process prevents gluten from developing and results in a porous coating that’s incredibly light and satisfyingly crisp (especially wrapped around sea urchin, scallop with caviar, and abalone with Cheddar). Make reservations ahead of time for this omakase-style restaurant, since it only seats eight customers.

Best meal with a side of celeb-spotting: Cut Beverly Hills

9500 Wilshire Boulevard
Wolfgang Puck’s sleek steakhouse in the Beverly Wilshire is known for its Japanese wagyu -- a succulent piece of meat with a texture so smooth and buttery it hardly requires chewing. (Yes, there are many other beautiful cuts of meat here, but you’ll find it hard to appreciate them after one taste of the wagyu.) Don’t sleep on the bone marrow flan that you spread over warm, toasted brioche, or the maple-glazed pork belly or sturgeon caviar offerings -- they’re all standouts that have turned Cut into a celebrity favorite (just try not to stare at the valeted Lamborghinis and Bentleys you’ll pass by on your way in).

Best neighborhood bar: Citizen

184 N Canon Drive
Citizen delivers what Beverly Hills so desperately needed: a cool, relaxed bar specializing in craft cocktails that appeal to a younger crowd. Since opening in 2016, it’s done an excellent job serving the youth a deluge of espresso martinis and serrano-infused tequila, as well as casual, quick eats like Cheddar biscuits, ceviche tostadas, and short rib fries. Their wildly popular happy hour menu boasts $7 tap beers and well cocktails, $8 wines, and $9 specialty drinks, in addition to a smattering of $7 small bites (our picks are a mustard-smeared fried bologna sandwich that’s perfect for sharing, or a wine and cheese ball made with Hook’s Cheddar).

Most ambitious menu: Somni

465 La Cienega Boulevard
Somni isn’t where you go to just eat; it’s a multi-sensory, boundary-pushing, mind-blowing culinary experience, where you sit at a half-moon-shaped counter that looks into an exhibition kitchen (meaning zero barriers between guests and chefs). The chefs at this intimate 10-seater (and there are as many of them as guests) are artists, whether they’re fashioning compressed apple into the whimsical shape of a cow; plating a colorful rainbow composed of pearls of carrot and flying fish roe; or crafting a Mallorca-inspired pastry from caramelized onions, chanterelle mushrooms, and discs of black truffle. Food is presented on servingware that’s custom-made to enhance each dish, all of which are explained in vivid detail by the wizards on the other side of the counter.

Best Japanese: Matsuhisa

129 N La Cienega Boulevard
Though Malibu’s Nobu is the kind of fancy-pants place that gets name-dropped in rap songs, its sister restaurant Matsuhisa (both helmed by arguably the world’s most famous Japanese chef Nobu Matsuhisa) is far more down-to-earth, despite its glamorous zip code. Gorge yourself on sushi (there’s a ton to choose from), but leave room for specialty dishes like yellowtail jalapeño (a Matsuhisa signature that sparked copycats across the city), miso black cod (another favorite), monkfish liver pate, and wagyu dumplings. If you want to treat yourself, the omakase menu starts at $100 and will let you sample the best.

Best old-school Italian: Madeo Ristorante

362 N Camden Drive
Madeo normally wouldn’t belong on this list, but the long-standing spot has temporarily relocated to Beverly Hills while its original West Hollywood location is renovated over the next couple of years. All the more reason for BH residents to enjoy the famous spaghetti bolognese (a pile of perfectly al dente noodles blanketed in rich veal sauce) and Parmigiano-dusted penne Madeo while they can. Many ingredients are flown in from abroad, including white truffles from Alba, cured fish roe from Sardinia, and lamb from New Zealand. To complete the warm, homey, authentically old-school Italian vibe, co-owner Gianni Vietina never fails to come by each table and greet diners -- making you feel as special as the A-listers being photographed by paparazzi on their way in.

Best comfort food: The Grill on the Alley

9560 Dayton Way
This steakhouse gives off a New York City vibe -- except instead of the investment banker and hedge fund manager crowd you’d find in the Big Apple, it’s full of agents, studio heads, and other Hollywood power players (the decor pays a nod to the entertainment industry with photos of actors, actresses, and studio executives that once frequented The Grill). Don’t expect molecular gastronomy here; the menu sticks to old classics, such as a signature cobb salad prepared precisely as it was 30 years ago, shrimp cocktail, and a sublime, dinner plate-sized chicken pot pie with a flaky, golden-brown crust. Desserts, like rice pudding and key lime pie with a good graham cracker crust, are equally timeless and the perfect way to round out your meal.

Best bakery for pastries and breakfast: Chaumont Bakery & Café

143 S Beverly Drive
The couple behind Chaumont has been bringing high-quality croissants, yule logs, eclairs, cakes, and tarts to Beverly Hills for the past few years. They make them with traditional European equipment, and are sticklers for the old way of doing these sorts of things. Go in the morning and stick around for a breakfast that includes a selection of omelettes, sandwiches, salads, and other entrées.

Best pizza: Mulberry Street Pizzeria

347 N Canon Drive
Sometimes you’re in the mood for great New York-style pizza in Beverly Hills, and who better to grant your wish than a Bronx native with his mom’s marinara recipe? Whether you visit the Canon or Beverly Drive location, you’re in for a thin slice of heaven at this area favorite for over 20 years. Richie has even bottled his sauce, should you wish to replicate the pizza yourself -- at your own peril.

Best brunch: Viviane

9400 W Olympic Boulevard
This Kelly Wearstler-designed restaurant with mid-century lines and a beautiful poolside patio isn’t all looks. Under the direction of new executive chef Michael Reed (who owns downtown’s Poppy + Rose), it’s also got fantastic brunch food, from buttermilk fried chicken and brown butter waffles to wild mushroom frittatas and Bloody Marys. Whether you’re with a date, friends, or family, you’ll find something on Viviane’s brunch menu worth ignoring your companions for. Hot tip: Avalon Hotel (where Viviane is located) offers day passes for the pool, so guests can enjoy the facilities post-brunch.

Best wine bar: Wally’s

447 N Canon Drive
Pull up a stool at one of the high top tables and enjoy great French Provence fare with fresh, Californian ingredients; go simple with some charred octopus to share, or go big with the bone-in whole chicken. Then, of course, you’ll pair your dish with a wine of your choice -- and whether you’re going by the glass or the bottle, red or white, Italian or Argentinian, there are plenty of choices here.

Best Indian: Spice Affair

50 N La Cienega Boulevard #120
Open for dinner and lunch, this spot offers a contemporary spin on classic Indian flavors while incorporating local ingredients. The butter chicken is not to be underestimated. There are plenty of vegetarian and gluten-free options as well, like the dry mango okra and the fisherman’s biryani, making this a great place to invite your veg-obsessed friends and call it a group tasting.

Best sushi bar: Nozawa Bar

212 N Canon Drive
With 10 seats at this omakase-only bar, and its namesake being the (in)famous “Sushi Nazi,” you’d better believe that no-nonsense Nozawa Bar is also reservation-only -- and there are no last-minute cancellations without financial penalty. It’s all worth it, of course: Master chef Osamu Fujita serves up a 20-plus-course meal featuring the absolute freshest of fish. You’ll get primarily nigiri, with a few sashimi and handrolls, at the round price point of $150 per person.

Best deli: Nate 'n Al

414 N Beverly Drive
Nate 'n Al has earned its reputation as an institution over the past 70 years. The pastrami is well-seasoned and juicy, and the hot dogs have a satisfying snap to them. Need more proof? Once upon a time, Larry King was known to eat here up to seven days a week -- and if it’s good enough for Larry King, best believe it’s good enough for you. You’d better hit this beloved deli up soon, though; earlier this year, there were rumors the owners were close to selling, and the future of Nate 'n Al is still up in the air.

Best vegetarian option: Momed

233 S Beverly Drive
There are lots of intriguing meatless menu items resulting from Momed’s take on Mediterranean -- the brunch menu includes great egg selections, like the Shakshuka, and sweet options like the challah bread cinnamon French toast. You’ll also find a wide range of flatbreads, salads, and wraps, as well as an avocado hummus that’ll change the way you look at hummus.

Best tasting menu for when the parents are paying: Maude

212 S Beverly Drive
Best known for hosting that one cooking show, Curtis Stone is also the owner of this top-shelf spot (it’s named after his grandmother). Last year, he rebooted the restaurant’s original format; instead of centering his monthly tasting menu around one ingredient, the quarterly menu is now inspired by a specific wine region from around the world. One thing hasn’t changed, though: Reservations are still tough, but well worth the hassle.

Best fancy Scotch bar: £10

225 N Canon Drive
Considering that your glass of Macallan neat will be enjoyed out on an upper-floor patio furnished with a fireplace and endless Hook’s 3-year-aged Cheddar, as well as pressed strips of bacon, you might not have a problem with a $50 per person minimum bar tab. You’re also here for the full food menu, though, which starts with smoked cheese and potato croquettes and goes as big as a 16-ounce chateaubriand steak. If you just want something small, though, you could always go with one of the sides, like panko-crusted mac & cheese or brown-buttered spaghetti squash. Oh, and there’s a reason why the food is so good: Dishes come straight from The Restaurant at Montage Beverly Hills, which itself is worth a visit if you’re into eating the aforementioned flavorbombs in a lush, garden-inspired setting.

Best for date night: Spago

176 N Canon Drive
The legendary Beverly Hills giant known as Spago continues to reign supreme. It boasts arguably the best wine list in the country, but its brick-ensconced, romantic patio also makes it perfect for dates. Go a la carte from the three-tiered menu, or go all out with the tasting menu -- which includes a series of delicious, decadent bites like baked bone marrow with uni, rich corn custard and caviar presented in a hollowed-out egg shell, and bite-size Yorkshire puddings accompanied by whipped beef tallow and small, salty shavings of bresaola. Plus, Wolfgang Puck is still around to fine-tune his flagship, ensuring the level of service and quality of food is up to his name’s snuff.

Best rooftop meal: Freds at Barneys New York

9570 Wilshire Boulevard
This restaurant perched atop Barneys has farmers-market-fresh fare that’s only rivaled by the outstanding view of the Hollywood Hills. Regulars often go for Mark’s Madison Avenue Salad, but there’s also a very good, very Beverly Hills club sandwich on the menu: $32 worth of shrimp, crab, avocado, bacon, lettuce, and tomato stacked between slices of garlic aioli-smeared seven-grain bread. A weekend brunch menu is also in tow for your mid-morning aspirations. After all, pizzas, pastas, and cocktail toasts taste much better with an eighth-floor view.

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Tiffany Tse is a Thrillist contributor and highly recommends NOT asking your Mastro’s server about the number of calories in one butter cake. Follow her at @twinksy.