Welcome to my huge Guide to Los Angeles! This guide will be ever-growing, so be sure to check back to see if anything new has been added! If you have something that you think should be on this guide, please feel free to e-mail me at email@example.com or comment below! Enjoy!
♥ Mercado Multiple Locations ( Santa Monica, Weho, & Hollywood )
Highlights: THIS IS ONE OF MY FAVORITES. I lived right by the Weho location, and I enjoyed many a dinner, brunch, and cocktail hour here! Not only is the decor cool as shit, but the vibes are relaxed & the food is perfect. Happy Hour is a great budget-friendly option with lots of food/drink options.
Brunch Favorites: The Guayaba Mimosa, the Chips & Guac and Choriqueso and the Huevos Rancheros are freakin’ great.
Cocktail Favorites: FAVORITE Spicy Cucumber Margs EVER!
Dinner Picks: Mercado has the best Fish Tacos in Los Angeles… to me at least ( & my picky as hell Mother agrees! ). Start with Chips & Guac and some Choriqueso and snag one of those amazing Spicy Margs.
Toast Bakery Cafe 8221 West 3rd Street
Highlights: The menu at Toast is big, they have something for everyone, & the service is absolutely amazing! The food is classic & consistently good. People tell me its a celebrity-fav (my little brother wants to eat every meal here when my family is in town because he says its Ariana Grande’s fav… and he loves her), but I have yet to spot anyone notable… maybe one day!
Favorites: I always order the Breakfast Combo with Scrambled Eggs, Fruit, Turkey Sausage & Multi-Grain Pancakes (really.. always).
♥ The Ivy Locations on Robertson & in Santa Monica
Highlights: OMG, The Ivy is SUCH a CLASSIC. It just screams Los Angeles to me, and you have to make a stop for lunch while you’re in town ( I did a full post on this restaurant about a year ago here ). I’m partial to the location on Robertson, but I’m not opposed to the Santa Monica location if need be ( especially for Brunch before heading down to the Bungalow ). It’s a nice place to sit & people watch ( and maybe spot a few celebs too ) and sip a stellar cocktail amongst the perfect decor. My vote: opt for an outdoor table at the Robertson location.
Brunch/Lunch Faves: Get the Chips & Guac to start, the Ivy Gimlet, a Bellini, or their crazy Bloody Mary to sip, and snag something off of their specials menu for you meal…. it’s always loaded with fresh stuff ( I really like the Sea Bass w/ Butter, Lemon & Garlic woah ). For Dessert, the RED VELVET CAKE is to-die-for, and they give you a little box of the best cookies ever to go. If you’re a seasoned dessert pro, opt for the dessert sampler plate… it’s heaven.
Cecconis 8764 Melrose Avenue
Highlights: Cecconis NEVER dissapoints. Ever. It’s a swanky little West Hollywood dinner spot, and the bar is a nice place to hang on a Friday or Saturday night. They have a special 4-7pm happy hour menu that comes with good drinks & gourmet bites from $4-$7… I mean…. & there’s free valet during the day!
Brunch/Lunch Faves: The Ricotta Hotcakes ( with Blueberries ) & the granola are my favorites for breakfast and the pizza is yum-o.
Dinner Faves: If you go to Cecconis for the 4-7 menu ( aka dinner ), YOU MUST GET THE TRUFFLE BURGER. It is amazing, and it’s only $7. Personally, I like a huge spread for dinner, so my friends & I order the burger, meatballs, avocado & chickpea dip w/ crudites, the buffalo mozzarella pizzette, a side of fries, & some sauvignon blanc to sip. Unreal food for unreal prices… this place is a MUST!
Malibu Farm 23000 Pacific Coast Highway
Highlights: Malibu Farm is located at the very end of the Malibu Pier, and it is SUCH a sweet spot for weekend brunch. There’s a bit of a line of the weekends, but it goes pretty quickly, and is worth the measly 10-minute wait. As per usual in LA, the food is fresh, organic and local. Such a shock, I know.
Brunch Faves: The White Wine Thyme Nectarine Sangria and the Red Wine Strawberry Basil Sangria are baller-status for starters. If you want something healthy, I opt for the Yogurt/Granola/Berries. If you’re not to concerned about the calories, the Fried Egg Sandwich is sooooo delish.
Lunch/Dinner: One of my guy friends swears Malibu Farm has one of the best burgers he’s ever had… and he’s an intense, burger eating fiend so ya know it’s real.
♥ Gjelina 1429 Abbot Kinney Blvd
Highlights: OMG. This is, by far, one of my favorite restaurants to go to ( & I’m not alone ). Definitely make a reservation, and keep your eyes open for some really cool peeps ( aka: Beyonce & Jay-Z are said to hang here ). It’s a cozy restaurant in a great location with amazing food. Get ready to feast.
Dinner Favorites: Start with a glass of wine, the meat & cheese boards, and the a glass of vino. As far as pizza goes, the Blanco and the Gruyere, Caramelized Onion, Fromage Blanc, & Arugula pizzas are my favorites. For small plates, get the Mushroom Toast for sure, and for Veggies, get the Broccolini ( SO GOOD ). I like eating tapas style here, so I’ve never gotten a Large Plate. For Dessert, you HAVE to get the Butterscotch Pot de Creme. Just trust me. It’s so incredible.
Cafés ( Coffee & Juice )
Blue Bottle Coffee Multiple Locations
Highlights: I fell in love with Blue Bottle Coffee in San Francisco, where it all started. Blue Bottle has a few locations in LA ( namely in Venice & Downtown ) and I’m always looking for a reason to grab coffee here.
Coffee Faves: The NEW ORLEANS ICED COFFEE is life changing. Trust me.
♥ Bungalow 101 Wilshire Blvd, Santa Monica
Highlights: OMG. I spent most Saturday/Sundays at Bungalow in Santa Monica BECAUSE I LOVE IT. The decor & vibe is PERFECT at this little spot right across the street from the beach, and the people are usually painfully beautiful. I like the Bungalow during the day on the weekends, because it gets really packed at night and the line can be ridiculously long. This is a MUST go if you’re in LA ( it’s almost annoyingly ‘trendy’… but it’s definitely worth seeing! ).
Drinks: Sangria or Sea Breeze Punch
Nobu Malibu 22706 Pacific Coast Highway
Highlights: Like I said when I mentioned Nobu in the ‘Restaurants’ category, the views here are SO beautiful. The last time I was at a Nobu (before Malibu) was in Monte Carlo, Monaco, and let me tell ya, this location’s vibe is just as good. It’s a little ‘scene-y,’ but it’s certainly something to check out once. If you can score a table on the deck for sunset, you’re golden. I definitely recommend Nobu for the daytime and early evening over the late-night dining scene.
Dranks: The Spicy Acai Martini is my favorite. The Cucumber & Pineapple Martinis are also ballin (but ask them to add a little jalapeno for extra spice). Also, snag a glass of Rosé if you’re a wine gal (the one from the South of France had me reminiscing on my Nice days).
HYDE Sunset 8117 Sunset Blvd
Highlights: Hyde is a really popular lounge with a really swanky setting & a pretty young crowd. It’s always a good time, especially if you can spring for a table with your friends, and it’s the best on weekend nights. If you’re looking for a more clubby atmosphere ( without being too clubby ), then you should definitely go to Hyde.
Health & Beauty
FaceHaus 8377 West 3rd Street
Highlights: I did a really informative interview with one of the estheticians at FaceHaus because I’m SO obssessed with this place! Every time I leave, I feel refreshed & relaxed. Its a trendy, quick little facial place (& they sell Eminence! Favorite). Not bad on price either. This is definitely a tourist-friendly place to stop and freshen up before or after a long day in LA (or before an event!).
Fav Facials: I really like the Haus Special (simple, straightforward) and I always add a $10 ‘blast’ to my bill. The Cool Blast is my favorite… its so… coool. They also have a $10 pimple-popping service (the Main Squeeze) for ‘unwanted visitors.’ No more f-ing up & messing with your own pimples, ladies.
Skin Laundry Multiple Locations
Highlights: Skin Laundry is a cute little skincare shop/spa with multiple locations in Los Angeles. They sell a full line of skincare products at Skin Laundry, my favorite being their Hydrating Sheet Masks ( you can also buy online! ). I was really happy with the facial I got here.
Facial Fav: Skin Laundry’s Laser & Light facial is physician-grade, and super quick. Before you start, you FaceTime with a physician to go over your skin issues & she approves you for the treatment. Then, the facial takes about 10-15 minutes, and its a series of lasers/lights and cooling products. This deep-cleansing style vaporizes dirt & bacteria, tightens and brightens skin, improves complexion, and ( when done in series ) evens skin tone, reduced sun damage and stops wrinkles in their tracks.
Activities / Things To Do
Highlights: If you want to spend some time hangin’ out in a more relaxed, quaint setting, you may want to drive out to Orange County for a weekend. Right now, my favorite spot is Laguna Beach, because I love the town & how quiet it is. You can see all of my Laguna faves in my recap on my weekend spent there. It’s definitely worth the trip!
Seasonal & Events
Los Angeles Dodgers Game 1000 Elysian Park Ave
Highlights: I’m a huge fan of baseball games ( my family is really intense about this sport in particular… we go to a game in most places that we visit ) so I LOVED hanging out at Dodger Stadium in the evenings. I recommend going a little early to avoid the insane traffic and grabbing a beer & a dodger dog ( or 3 ) to watch the game. Okay… I didn’t really watch that much but we still had a great time.
Twilight Concerts 200 Santa Monica Pier
Highlights: For about a month in the summer, the Santa Monica Pier hosts free concerts every Thursday evening. You can go up on the pier, eat, and grab a drink in the 21+ area, OR ( my favorite thing to do is ) get a group of friends, a blanket, some snacks and wine & find a spot to sit on the beach.
Helpful Resources & Links