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Where to Eat in Hollywood
Irreverent independent restaurants, late-night wine bars, upscale chains, congested tourist hubs, and swanky hotel restaurants dominate Hollywood's dining scene.
Expect to see tattooed musicians, tourists taking pictures along the strip, studio executives, and families who ventured down from the Hollywood Hills and the Valley. Sure, Hollywood is congested with traffic, parking can be tough (bring your quarters), and the culinary scene can be a little heavy on chains. But Hollywood still has strong roots in old-world glamour and rock 'n' roll—you just have to look past the big-box pop-ups. Along the gateway into Hollywood is Franklin Boulevard, where quaint diners, coffeehouses, and restaurants cater to locals. Edging into Hollywood Boulevard, stop at Hollywood & Highland to refuel with lunch. The eastern portion of Sunset Boulevard has many new bistros, gourmet markets, waffle houses, and lounges. And Melrose Avenue continues to offer cutting-edge eateries and innovative bakeries.
Just over the hill sits the Valley, a neighborhood often overlooked because of its suburban disposition and saturation of mini-malls. But in this hub of movie studios, there are also a number of foodie haunts like Big Sugar Bake Shop (12182 Ventura Blvd. 818/508-5855), Caioti Pizza Café (4346 Tujunga Ave. 818/761-3588), and Gelato Bar (4342½ Tujunga Ave. 818/487-1717).
Seasonal Los Angeles
While Los Angeles may seem like a concrete jungle, Hollywood is actually home to one of the largest farmers' markets in the city. Held every Sunday morning along Ivar Street and Selma Avenue, the Hollywood Farmers' Market (323/463-3171 www.hollywoodfarmersmarket.net) is packed with throngs of moms pushing strollers, incognito celebrities, local dwellers, and chefs in search of seasonal bounty. Packed with farmers and food artisans, the market sells fruits and vegetables, freshly cut flowers, homemade jams, free-range chickens, naturally raised bison burgers, and seasonal ice creams. The market—one of the largest in the state—is put together by the Sustainable Economic Enterprise of Los Angeles (SEE-L.A.), a nonprofit that educates people about agriculture. When you're here, it's easy to forget you're in Hollywood—until you see a camera crew filming a reality show next to the organic pears.
SEE-L.A. recently opened the Farmer's Kitchen (1555 North Vine St. 323/467-7600), a seasonal-driven lunch spot that is inspired by what's sold in the farmers' market. Found in the Sunset + Vine complex on the corner of Selma Avenue and Morningside Court, the affordable menu changes every week and ranges from market sandwiches, soups, roasted vegetables, and salads. Parking is difficult, but you can take the Metro and exit at the Hollywood and Vine stop.
With the arrival of Locali (5825 Franklin Blvd. 323/466-1360 www.localiyours.com), a sustainable locally driven neighborhood market in Hollywood's charming Franklin Village, convenience is now eco-friendly. The conscious quick stop carries sandwiches, candy, chocolate, and hot pretzels made by L.A. food artisans. Stop in for a pint of butternut squash ice cream made by Carmela Ice Cream, a local who makes seasonally inspired creations.
Restaurateur and New York transplant George Abou-Daoud has made it his personal mission to revive the eastern side of Sunset Boulevard, which has often been overshadowed by the glitzier center of town. With a slew of new bars and restaurants opened by Abou-Daoud, the Sunset District is now becoming its own destination. Stop into Delancey's (5936 Sunset Blvd. 323/469-2100), an Italian gastropub that serves up one amazing thin crust pizza, or Tamarind Deli (1471 Tamarind Blvd. 323/960-2451) for a hot brisket sandwich and cherry limeade. Grab a burger at theBowery (6268 Sunset Blvd. 323/465-3400), a New York-style bistro, or head over to the newest restaurant on the strip the Mercantile (6600 Sunset Blvd. 323/962-3202), an unpretentious eatery, wine bar, and gourmet market that serves up a K-Town sandwich and buttered-popcorn ice cream. These restaurants are all walking distance to each other, which make for excellent bar-hopping.
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