The city of West Hollywood has some of the hottest restaurants and date destinations in Los Angeles. It encompasses the most happening stretches of the Sunset Strip, Santa Monica Boulevard, and Melrose Avenue. If you really want to impress a date, you should definitely look into some of the hotspots below! Just put on your most stylish clothes and act like you’re “kind of a big deal” when you go to these trendy restaurants.
The Sunset Strip
One of the most famous streets in Los Angeles is of course the Sunset Strip, running from just West of Doheney to Crescent Heights. Here, you’ll find some of the hippest new hotels and restaurants in town. Hang out here long enough and a celebrity sighting is likely.
Here are some date ideas on the Sunset Strip that can’t miss!
1. Wolfgang Puck’s Merois at the Pendry
My pick for the number one date restaurant in West Hollywood is Wolgang Puck’s Merois rooftop restaurant at the Pendry hotel. It’s brand new and has a perfect date ambiance, a stunning city view, and a Wolfgang Puck menu that will impress any foodie.
Let’s start with the view. Merois is basically the penthouse of the new Pendry Hotel. It has floor-to-ceiling windows so every table can enjoy the view.
Often, restaurants with a “gimmick” like a rooftop view have less-than-stellar food. In this case, the French-Asian fusion cuisine is amazing. We tried the Hamachi tartare, oysters, fried Shishito Peppers, Thai snapper, crab fried rice, summer corn, and Japanese eggplant. All were outstanding. For dessert, we had Wolfgang’s famous chocolate souffle.
So many otherwise great date restaurants have terrible acoustics and are too LOUD! Merois has fabric draped along the ceiling which dampens noise (I’m not sure if that was intentional, but it sure works). The result is that you can have a romantic conversation with your date without having to shout.
The combination of great food, great atmosphere, and great views make Merois at the Pendry my number one date pick in West Hollywood.
If you can’t get reservations at the restaurant, there’s another bar and restaurant on the roof where you can enjoy the same great view.
One logistical note: the entrance to the Pendry is actually not on Sunset Boulevard but on North Olive Drive. We lucked out and found metered parking on Sunset, but only because it was a Monday night.
2. Sunset Plaza
Sunset Plaza on Sunset Boulevard is famous for its celebrity-infused outdoor dining and upscale stores. Probably the most famous restaurant (and my personal favorite) there is Le Petite Four. You’ll definitely want to dress stylishly if you go to this iconic L.A. restaurant on a weekend night. Unfortunately, they don’t take reservations, so go early and expect a wait on a Friday or Saturday night. The outdoor dining ambiance is amazing!
I also like the Brazilian food at Bossa Nova, which has outdoor dining there.
Or, grab a cappuccino across the street at the Butcher, The Baker, The Cappuccino Maker and hang out in their charming courtyard patio.
3. The Eveleigh
The Eveleigh has a charming rustic outdoor patio ambiance that you wouldn’t expect on the Strip. Super romantic, with bistro lights at night, the Eveleigh is a hidden gem off the busy street. The cuisine is not the star here, with a 3.5 star rating on Yelp for its selection of salads, pizzas, pasta, and meat dishes, so don’t bring a foodie to The Eveleigh. But, it’s great if you’re into the atmosphere, or for drinks.
4. Other Romantic Restaurants on the Strip
If you want to get a taste of the glamor of vintage Hollywood, check out the Tower Bar at the historic Sunset Tower Hotel. They have a full dinner menu – it’s not just a bar, and they offer indoor and poolside dining.
If you prefer to be closer to the excitement and energy of the modern Sunset Strip, check out Katana Robata and Sushi Bar, featuring indoor and outdoor dining. You can’t miss the name projected on the building as you drive by. Note, there is a dress code for this restaurant.
Melrose Avenue “Restaurant Row”
Almost as famous as the Sunset Strip is Melrose Avenue. The section of Melrose in West Hollywood, dubbed “Restaurant Row”, has some of the hottest and hippest restaurants around. You’ll definitely need to dress up and bring your “A” game to these establishments.
My top restaurant pick on Melrose Avenue is Olivetta. This is the perfect restaurant for special occasions because the atmosphere is mega romantic; you’re sure to impress. Even the few people who gave this place a bad review on Yelp admit the place is gorgeous. The cuisine is European coastal. Reservations are required, and definitely dress up as there is a dress code.
The Instagram-ready rooftop Catch LA is one of the hottest restaurants around now. If you want to impress with ambiance and gorgeous views, put Catch on your shortlist. The Sushi/seafood cuisine gets surprisingly good reviews as well. Just dress up and be prepared for some snootiness.
3. Crossroads Kitchen
If you or your date is vegan, Crossroads Kitchen should be at the top of your list of great date restaurants. Although it is well known in the vegan community, even carnivores will enjoy the food here, with dishes like “king oyster mushroom calamari” and “mushroom and chestnut tortelloni”.
If you’re craving Italian food in a classy space, check out Cecconi’s, featuring hand-made pasta and wood oven pizza. The ambiance, indoor and outdoor, won’t disappoint. Celebrity sightings there are a frequent occurence with paparazzi camped outside.
5. Gracias Madre
Yet another good vegan option on Melrose is Gracias Madre, featuring Mexican cuisine in a hip outdoor patio with some indoor seating as well.
6. EP & LP Restaurant
EP & LP is a super trendy hot spot on La Cienega and Melrose north of the Beverly Center. It is actually two venues in one: E.P., the Asian restaurant on the second floor, and L.P. the rooftop bar.
L.P. has a great view of the surrounding area and is a nice place to hang out with a date. It’s best to avoid Fridays and weekends and go on a quieter weekday instead. Otherwise, there will be a long line to get in and it might be unpleasantly crowded. That’s fine if you’re single and trying to meet people, but it’s not ideal for a date.
I went to E.P., the restaurant with a group of friends on a Saturday night. In spite of having a reservation, we weren’t seated until an hour and a half past our reservation time. This was probably because our reservation was during the peak period (9PM on Saturday). Food was good though. And, dining at the restaurant means you get access to the rooftop bar without having to wait in line, which actually is a pretty big bonus. The big takeaway is: go here on less-busy weekdays and avoid weekends. If you do, the date experience here should be quite good.
7. Urth Caffe Melrose or Verve Coffee Melrose
For a more casual meetup, I love the charming Urth Caffes. You order at a counter and then a server brings your order to your table; that alone makes it a step above the chain coffee places.
I also love the vibe at Verve Coffee, also on Melrose.
Santa Monica Boulevard
Santa Monica Boulevard in West Hollywood is famous for its concentration of hot gay nightclubs. Whether you’re gay or straight though, you’ll appreciate its energy and great restaurants, although on weekend nights, it’s packed with singles and probably a better place to find a date rather than to bring a date to. Going from West to East on Santa Monica, here are my picks:
1. Bottega Louie West Hollywood
Although Bottega Louie has a full dinner menu, they are most well known for their desserts, specifically, their macarons. If you’re looking for something to do after a good dinner, stop by Bottega Louie for a nice dessert or gelato! You won’t be disappointed. One caveat, on weekend nights, it gets very crowded. Weekday nights should be fine.
2. Queen Violet
Queen Violet is a brand new Thai restaurant in West Hollywood that is getting rave reviews for its floral courtyard as well as for its cuisine. Definitely a place to consider for a charming date without much fuss!
Actually located on Fairfax a few blocks south of Santa Monica Boulevard, Ysabel is the place to go if you want to be in the hippest, trendiest, hot spot in town. The outdoor patio is gorgeous. While the food is generally well-reviewed, a few folks had bad experiences with the service. It might be the price to pay to be in the hot spot of the moment.
With a gorgeous retro interior and romantic patio, Harlow serves French, Moroccan, and Mediterranean cuisine. Or, come for the bar and enjoy the classic ambiance over drinks.
5. Formosa Cafe
Built in 1939 and newly restored, the historic Formosa Cafe will transport you back to Hollywood’s golden age, complete with a vintage train car (which you can dine in!) Known mostly for the movie stars who used to hang out there and for its drinks, Formosa’s Asian cuisine gets surprisingly high ratings on Yelp. Definitely worth a visit for drinks or even dinner!
6. Connie and Ted’s
For great seafood in West Hollywood, look no further than Connie and Ted’s for oysters, clams, shrimp, fried fish, and lobster. It’s casual but still hip, with its mid-century casual feel. Any seafood lover will enjoy it.
7. La Bohème
La Bohème features New American cuisine. Its outdoor dining area is light and airy, but what sets it apart is its goth red and black interior complete with chandeliers overhead. If Dracula had a formal dining room, this would be it. It’s an aesthetic that they seem to downplay in their marketing (website and Instagram) unfortunately, but if you want to take a Goth out to a nice dinner, I can’t imagine a more appropriate restaurant.
High-End Furniture Shopping?
I’ve been talking about restaurants so far, so here is something totally different. On Beverly between Doheney and Robertson, you’ll find the magnificent Kohler Experience Center, Minotti, Eggersmann Kitchens, Roche Bobois, Poliform, Cassina, and many other furniture stores you’ve never heard of because they’re so niche and expensive. There’s also the massive multi-level Restoration Hardware showroom, called RH Modern, complete with rooftop deck.
Maybe I should call it high-end furniture browsing since everything is so expensive. But, these are all fun to walk through. I wouldn’t take someone furniture shopping on a first date or a formal date, but it can be a fun way to get to know each other’s tastes better. All of the stores are within walking distance of each other.
After an afternoon of furniture-browsing check out Granville further East on Beverly. It’s one of four Granville restaurants in the Los Angeles area, but the reviews for its American cuisine are pretty stellar! The vibe is “modern casual”.
To Sum Up
Even with this huge list, I probably missed some great restaurants in hip and trendy West Hollywood. If you know of any great ones, let me know in the comments! – Brian