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Los Angeles - United States
When it comes to dining and drinking, anything that one can possibly dream up can be found in Los Angeles. Celebrity-only seating on the West Side is countered by family-style seating in Silverlake, and cuisines from Ethiopian to Polish are all here somewhere. With so many choices and a limited time frame, here are some highlights that should not be missed.
After a prolonged period of economic hardship, downtown L.A. went in for a facelift, replacing the old shabby buildings with new businesses and recreation centers. A downtown hot spot is the Water Grill, which offers upscale seafood for the international dining set. If you're looking for a unique and entertaining experience without the sky-high prices, enjoy a meal at Shabu Shabu House Restaurant—a form of Japanese cooking where servers bring out plates of fresh meat, and the customers cook it themselves in hot pots. And for a more casual but earth-shaking good time, check out Epicentre, which is designed to look like a café, post-earthquake.
La Cienega & Beverly Hills
When dining in this celebrity "hot zone," be sure to bring your high-limit credit cards and your best evening attire. Some great options include the world-famous Spago Beverly Hills headed by Wolfgang Puck. La Cienega Boulevard offers L.A.'s famed "Restaurant Row," which features The Stinking Rose for all your garlic desires, and the highly favored Fogo de Chao Churrascaria for some Brazilian fare, and many other local favorites.
Hollywood & Melrose
A small step away from the big money of Beverly Hills, these hot spots offer a warmer and hipper version of the same scene. Musso & Frank's Grill offers American cuisine with Old Hollywood style. Joachim Splichal serves the highest of haute cuisine at Patina. If you're in the Griffiths Park area near Glendale, have lunch at the Trails Cafe, which serves vegetarian food and has killer pastries. Finally, for lowbrow gastronomic pleasure that should not be missed, wait in line for the oldest Hollywood tradition: a chili cheese dog from Pink's.
Santa Monica, Venice & Malibu
The beachfront neighborhoods of Santa Monica, Venice and Malibu offer the full range of dining options, from earthy-hippie cuisine in Venice to star-studded glamor in Malibu. When not gazing into the deep blue Pacific, be sure to focus your attention on Geoffrey's for fresh cuisine with a heart-stopping view of the California coast. For some of the best coffee in the area, head to Montana Avenue's Cafe Luxxe. Wolfgang Puck's Chinois On Main is a wonderful dinner choice, as well as The Lobster for some delightfully simple but sophisticated seafood dishes.