The Best Restaurants to Dine with the Stars in Los Angeles

Wolfgang Puck at Hotel Bel-Air

 |  Photo:  Yuri Hasegawa

Los Angeles is the entertainment capital of the world, and if you’re a fan of movies, TV or music, there isn’t a better city to spot a celebrity. No matter where you are in LA, there’s a good chance you’ll bump into a star, whether you're browsing a farmers market or hiking in Runyon Canyon. But if you really want the odds in your favor, here are 11 restaurants that are sure bets to make your next meal even more memorable.

Photo: Cafe Gratitude 

Cafe Gratitude Larchmont



From its first restaurant in San Francisco’s Mission District, Café Gratitude has expanded to five locations, including Larchmont Village and Venice here in Los Angeles. The menu is all-vegan and always organic, offering both raw and cooked options. Stars don’t get much bigger than Beyoncé and Jay Z, who announced in December 2013 that they were both going vegan for 22 days. On the second day of the challenge, the superstar couple celebrated Jay Z’s 44th birthday with lunch at Café Gratitude in Larchmont Village. Regulars include Oscar winner Anne Hathaway and Emily Blunt.

Photo courtesy of Casa Vega

Casa Vega



Founded by Rafael “Ray” Vega in 1956, Casa Vega is a family-owned Sherman Oaks landmark that continues to attract new generations of celebrities, thanks to the Mexican restaurant’s policy of respecting its clientele’s privacy and accommodating special requests like discreet entry and exit. Inside, the lighting is so low guests might not realize they’re dining next to Captain America himself, Chris Evans, or Megan Fox and her husband, Brian Austin Green. The portions are massive, so arrive hungry and tuck into favorites like the Special “Oven Style” Burrito, Vega Ribeye, and the Casa Vega Molcajete, made with sliced flank steak, chicken breast, tiger shrimp, green onion, queso fresco, and grilled chile relleno.

Cavatina at Sunset Marquis



Opened on the famed Sunset Strip in 1963, the Sunset Marquis wears its love for rock and roll on its sleeve: the Live@Sunset Marquis outdoor showcase for emerging musicians; the Morrison Hotel Gallery of fine art music photography; and Nightbird Studios, a world-class recording studio located in the subterranean garage. An online photo gallery documents the numerous musicians and bands who have stayed at the hotel, including Anthony Kiedis (Red Hot Chili Peppers), Ozzy Osbourne, Green Day, Dave Grohl (Foo Fighters), Chris Cornell (Soundgarden), Heart, Morrissey and many more.

The hotel’s famous guests are sure to sing the praises of Cavatina, the first Los Angeles restaurant from award-winning chef and restaurateur, Michael Schlow. The indoor-outdoor space, featuring a magical garden setting with twinkling lights and towering palms, is the ideal setting for sharing a menu that’s divided into snacks, crudo, small plates and entrees.

Dan Tana's

 |  Photo: Yuri Hasegawa

Dan Tana's



Since 1964, Dan Tana’s has served old school Italian fare to legendary stars and mere mortals alike in a classic setting with red booths, checkered tablecloths and Chianti bottles hanging from the ceiling. The menu features standards like spaghetti and meatballs, lasagna, and linguini with clams. Celebrities past and present are honored with namesake dishes, such as Veal Cutlet Milanese a la George Clooney, Shrimp Scampi a la Jerry Buss, and the Steak & Peppers Sinatra. And even if they’re not on the menu yet, you’ll still see stars at Dan Tana’s like Jon Hamm, Sean Penn, Olivia Wilde, and Lindsay Lohan.

Quesadillas de Calabasa at Gracias Madre | Photo courtesy of Gracias Madre, Facebook

Gracias Madre



Gracias Madre is part of the Café Gratitude family, the realization of chef Chandra Gilbert’s lifelong dream to open a vegan Mexican restaurant. The original Gracias Madres opened in San Francisco in 2009. The West Hollywood location opened in January 2014, serving Gilbert’s organic, farm fresh, locally sourced menu, “full of flavor and love.” Beverage Director Jason Eisner, previously at Drago Centro, curates a selection of small batch mezcals and tequilas, and showcases organic wines and spirits. To pair with Gilbert’s cuisine, Eisner’s cocktails are prepared with local produce and house-made syrups, shrubs, tinctures, and bitters. Gracias Madre quickly became a hit with celebrities - Mila Kunis had lunch recently with a gal pal, and Jessica Alba took an Instagram with her father Mark and her husband, Cash Warren.

Jitlada



Discreetly located in a strip mall off Sunset Boulevard, Jitlada is wildly popular with locals, foodies and celebs alike. The Southern Thai restaurant is run by the dynamic brother-sister duo of chef Suthiporn “Tui” Sungkamee and Sarintip “Jazz” Singsanong, the gregarious general manager who stops by every table to check on guests. The huge menu spans 300 regional specialties, from coconut mango salad to green mussels, Crying Tiger Beef, and a wide range of curries, including the fiery “wild” curry with eggplant, green beans, bone-in cuts of catfish and an avalanche of spicy chilies. Check out Jazz’s Instagram feed (@jazz_sing) to see which celebrities dine at Jitlada, including Aziz Ansari (who follows Jazz and comments on her posts), Dev Patel and Freida Pinto, Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis, and Ryan Gosling.

M Cafe

M Café – Beverly Hills



Stargazing is practically guaranteed during lunch at M Café, a macrobiotic casual dining restaurant with locations in Beverly Hills, Melrose Avenue and Brentwood. While the menu isn’t entirely vegetarian, M Café does boast one of the best veggie burgers in town, the Big Macro, featuring a house-made whole grain brown rice and vegetable patty, special sauce, lettuce, soy mozzarella, tomato, pickles, onion, and alfalfa sprouts on a toasted whole wheat bun.

NIGHT + MARKET WeHo



Located on the Sunset Strip inside Talésai, Night + Market features chef Kris Yenbamroong’s interpretation of Thai street food and regional specialties of the north. The menu is based on the concept of aharn klam lao, or "food to facilitate drinking." Diners are warned that “our food is VERY SPICY” and, while the kitchen will try to accommodate requests, “some dishes cannot be made mild.” Those who can brave the heat enjoy standout dishes like the grilled pork collar (dubbed “toro” on the menu), Hey-Ha Wings, Chiang Rai-style pork larb, shrimp paste-seasoned rice, and a massive braised pork hock. Yenbamroong’s Instagram feed (@ntmrkt) shows him with famous guests like Gwyneth Paltrow, Jessica Alba, Arcade Fire, and Nick Valensi of The Strokes. Fans are eagerly awaiting the opening of a second location, Night + Market Song, in Silver Lake.

Nobu Malibu at Night, Facebook

Nobu Malibu



The rich and famous have called Malibu home for generations, so it’s no surprise that restaurants in the coastal enclave are good bets to spot a celebrity. Located in a stunning beachfront space off Pacific Coast Highway, Nobu Malibu serves signature dishes such as tiradito, yellowtail sashimi with jalapeño, and black cod with miso, as well as exclusives such as ribeye with truffle butter sauce and crispy Maui onions. Recent star sightings include Matt Damon having lunch with his wife and kids, and No Doubt singer Gwen Stefani, who had dinner with her two sons.

SUGARFISH by Sushi Nozawa | Beverly Hills



In 2007, Kazunori Nozawa’s reputation as the "Sushi Nazi" was secured after Oscar winner Charlize Theron’s appearance on The Tonight Show, when she told a national audience that she was kicked out of Nozawa’s eponymous Studio City restaurant because she tried to order a la carte instead of heeding his famous "trust me" motto. While Sushi Nozawa has since closed, Nozawa's burgeoning Sugarfish concept continues to grow. Each location attracts its own celebs, from Calabasas (a favorite of the Kardashians) to Brentwood, where Bradley Cooper was a recent guest. As for Theron, all seems to be forgiven - paparazzi caught her dining with Seth MacFarlane at Sugarfish Beverly Hills.

Photo: Hotel Bel-Air

Wolfgang Puck at Hotel Bel-Air



Legendary chef Wolfgang Puck is a celebrity in his own right. From his game-changing smoked salmon and caviar pizza at the original Spago, to his annual gig catering the official Academy Awards after-party, Puck continues to be synonymous with the entertainment industry. The exclusive Hotel Bel-Air has welcomed VIPs to its lush hideaway since 1946. The hotel reopened in 2011 after a two-year renovation, which included the addition of Wolfgang Puck at Hotel Bel-Air. The high-end restaurant serves modern California cuisine with European and Mediterranean influences, offering dining options in the elegant dining room, on the terrace, or in the bar and lounge.