Summer dineLA Favorites

This summer dineLA celebrates 15-days of special menus and dining deals at some of the best restaurants in Los Angeles.

The dineLA Restaurant Week event runs from July 12 through July 26 showcasing Los Angeles’ casual to premier dining destinations. It’s a great time to explore the culinary scene in various neighborhoods throughout the city.

The new fine dining dinner-only menus include a five-course tasting starting at $99 from many of L.A.’s top restaurants during dineL.A. Restaurant Week. New restaurant participants include LA’s Tartine Bianco and Alameda Supper Club, Capital Seafood Beverly Hills and Atrium.


Enjoy special lunch and dinner menus at more than 400 restaurants without a ticket or pass, just make a dineLA reservation.

Instagram enthusiasts can enter the new Instagram sweepstakes called “The Hunt is On.” To learn how to win, go to dineL.A. on Instagram and follow the clues on dineL.A.’s Instagram Stories during the 15-day event. For information Discover Los Angeles.

Here are some of my favorites:

1. Cal Mare Beverly Center

Michel Mina protégé, Chef & Owner Adam Sobel offers an all-new dineL.A. Lunch ($35) for the first time, and seasonal signature dishes on their dineL.A. dinner menu ($59), too. Cal Mare offers an all-day happy hour and new 4-hr complimentary parking, makes it a must-visit during dineL.A. this summer for all things aperitivo, spritz, pizza & pasta during an al fresco afternoon or date night. Highlights include Carbonara Pizza from the brick oven with thin, crispy Yukon gold potatoes, crisp guanciale and a farm egg poached and whipped with parmesan cheese. There is a handmade pasta course that includes Rigatoni all’amatriciana with spicy pomodoro or Squid Ink Tagliatelle with mussels, fennel and saffron. Here’s the dineL.A. Lunch ($35) from 11:30am-3pm daily and dineL.A. Dinner ($59) from 5:30pm.

2. Cattle & Claw at Sofitel LA DineLA menu – Across from the Beverly Center

Enjoy the ultimate summer lobster and burger destination during lunch and dinner. The Two-course lunch is $25 featuring either a SoCal Farmer’s Salad or Lobster Ravioli with a 5 Oz burger served with fries or Lobster Roll served with house salad. The Three-course dinner for $29 has either a SoCal Farmer’s Salad or Summer Kebab or Lobster Ravioli. Dinner is a Lobster Pizza with crab meat and shrimp, 5 Oz burger served with fries or Lobster Roll served with house salad. Finish with a Bomba made with vanilla and chocolate ice cream with a cherry or New York Cheesecake or Tiramisu.

3. Water Grill | DTLA and Santa Monica

Seafood institution, Water Grill will be serving up dineLA lunch menus ($35) at two locations – downtown LA and Santa Monica. Entrée options include favorites such as the Wild Alaskan Halibut with maque choux and sorrel pesto, Wild Mahi Mahi Capanata with sherry gastrique and Wild California White Sea Bass with rustic ratatouille, garlic emulsion and basil oil. Click here to see the DineLA lunch menu here.

4Castaway | Burbank, CA Chef Perry Pollaci

Executive Chef Perry’s menu highlights while dining at one of the BEST VIEW restaurant in the Los Angeles area, include Grilled Octopus with Charred piqullio, 24 hour tomato, squid ink vinaigrette, Steak Frites 28 day dry aged ribeye, garlic fries, salsa verde, and Sticky Toffee Pudding with Medjool dates, Tahitian vanilla bean ice cream; Dinner: $59.


5. Jaffa | West 3rd and Palms

The Michelin Bib Gourmand restaurants will offer a $39 3-course dinner for dineLA.; menu highlights include a Salatim Sampler, Lamb Couscous with Moroccan spices, dried figs, and cinlantro; Market Vegetables served over freekeh, harissa and avocado hummus; and Baklava with Farmers Market fruit; Dinner: $39 – Here’s the Full menu.

6.  Viviane Beverly Hills

Chef Michael Reed at Viviane prepares a three-course dineLA dinner menu for guests sitting poolside at the Avalon Beverly Hills. Highlights include Heirloom Tomatoes & Burrata, Jumbo Lump Crab & Uni, pan seared Branzino Filet. Check out the $49 dineLA Viviane.

7. Chao Krung Thai Fairfax

Chao Krung stands as Los Angeles’ second oldest Thai restaurant and has evolved alongside the city’s culinary landscape. Chao Krung will offer lunch and dinner during dineLA, featuring their signature dishes that are known to be customer favorites. Lunch will include a glass of Thai iced tea or a Thai pancake with condensed milk, and dinner will offer a choice of either a glass of red or white wine, or a Thai beer. Lunch $15 / Dinner $29. Click here for the menus – Chao Krung Thai

8.  Bacari 3rd Enjoy lunch/brunch for $20 on Saturday and Sunday. Chefs Lior Hillel and Kevin Corona 8 different Cicchetti and a dessert. Visit Bacari 3rd.

9. Beauty & Essex Hollywood

Select one item from four different sections  – a Starter, Entree, Side and Dessert on the dineLA menu.

10. Same Same Thai Silver Lake

Come into Silver Lake’s Thai wine bar for a dineLA dinner that includes a glass of either sparkling or red wine. The menu is based on co-owners Annie Daniel and Katy Noochlaor’s family recipes, featuring authentic Thai street food, market-driven specials, and bar snacks. The dineLA dinner is $29. Here’s the menu Same Same.

Thanksgiving Dining specials

For those who enjoy spending free time outside or doing something else other than spending your entire day in a kitchen cooking a Thanksgiving feast, here are 16 dining destinations open on Thanksgiving Day. Check out some spots to pick up a pie to bring to a family or friend’s home.

  1. Merry Thanksgiving at Mari – On Thursday, Nov. 22, enjoy a prix-fixe dinner menu for $55 per person from 5:30 to 9 p.m. Meet family and friends staying at the InterContinental Los Angeles Century City in the lobby’s Copper Lounge for a special cocktail before dinner at Mari. Diners get a choice of either roasted kabocha squash soup or roasted Bosc pear and endive salad. Entrées include slow-roasted turkey with trimmings or herb-crusted, slow-roasted prime rib with horseradish-whipped potatoes, charred broccolini, rosemary demi-glace or salt-baked salmon with beet risotto and a roasted fennel purée. Finish with either a pumpkin tart with pear sorbet or a chocolate hazelnut flourless cake with caramel, orange and praline. 2151 Avenue of the Stars, Los Angeles, (310)284-6536.
  2. Veggie Grill Plant-based Thanksgiving – The healthy, fast-casual brand makes celebrating with family easy by offering festive dishes in store. For a simpler Thanksgiving with all the flavors, the chefs are making a $11.50 Thanksgiving sandwich made with layers of rosemary chicken with cornbread dressing, creamy mushroom gravy, cranberry sauce and Vegenaise, an egg-free mayonnaise, on a hearty roll and served with mashed yams. Veggie Grill is open on Thanksgiving from noon to 11 p.m. 6374 Sunset Blvd., Ste. A, Los Angeles, (323)962-3354, and from noon to 8 p.m. at 110 S. Fairfax Ave., Los Angeles, (323)933-3997.
  3.  Hassle-free Turkey Day at Del Frisco’s Grille – Head to the beach to enjoy a traditional Thanksgiving dinner with all the fixings on Nov. 22 from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. This ocean side restaurant overlooking the Santa Monica Pier is offering a three-course traditional turkey dinner, with no clean up afterward. Family style signature fall items include roasted butternut squash bisque, herb and citrus butter roasted turkey with gravy and cranberry sauce, and pumpkin cheesecake. 1551 Ocean Ave. Suite 105 (310)395-7333.
  4. Thanksgiving at Barton G – This whimsical dining destination is serving a three-course, prix-fixe Thanksgiving dinner. The restaurant’s unique presentations will be prepared with classic Thanksgiving ingredients. A roasted acorn squash salad is served before the herb-roasted turkey breast with confit leg and cranberry-walnut stuffing, maple-roasted root vegetable with crumbled cornbread, whipped celery root and Yukon Gold potatoes, and a brown butter and Frangelico sweet potato casserole. Finish with pumpkin and apple beignets served with  cranberry jam, pumpkin butter and orange anglaise. $75 per person. 861 N. La Cienega Blvd., Los Angeles, (310)388-1888.
  5.  Hotel Shangri-La Thanksgiving Feast – Join others for the annual Thanksgiving buffet at Hotel Shangri-La. Take the elevator up to The Penthouse for unobstructed ocean views with indoor or outdoor seating. There are over 20 culinary offerings including herb butter slow cooked turkey, spiced boneless rib eye, brown butter poached salmon with root vegetables, cold seafood display, and green beans almondine. Executive Chef Jessica Bedolla will also be serving pumpkin pie, homemade bread pudding, and chocolate cake from 12 to 6 p.m. Following the festive meal, diners are invited to enjoy a digestif across the hall at ONYX, Santa Monica’s first indoor/outdoor rooftop bar. The price is $79 for adults and $45 for children 6 – 12 years old. 1301 Ocean Ave. (310)394-2791.
  6. Thanksgiving at Barton G – This whimsical dining destination is serving a three-course, prix-fixe Thanksgiving dinner. The restaurant’s unique presentations will be prepared with classic Thanksgiving ingredients. A roasted acorn squash salad is served before the herb-roasted turkey breast with confit leg and cranberry-walnut stuffing, maple-roasted root vegetable with crumbled cornbread, whipped celery root and Yukon Gold potatoes, and a brown butter and Frangelico sweet potato casserole. Finish with pumpkin and apple beignets served with  cranberry jam, pumpkin butter and orange anglaise. $75 per person. 861 N. La Cienega Blvd., Los Angeles, (310)388-1888.
  7. Granville Gives Back To Fire Fighters – Granville is offering free meals for any rescue workers, law enforcement officers and fire fighters now through Friday, Nov. 23. While at Granville be sure to order a Medicina cocktail. Granville is also donating 100% of proceeds of every Medicina ordered to the IAFF (International Association of Fire Fighters) Disaster Relief Fund until Friday, Nov. 23. 8701 Beverly Blvd. (424)522-5161, 12345 Ventura Blvd. (818)506-7050, 807 Americana Way (818)550-0472 and 121 N. San Fernando Blvd. (818)848-4726.
  8. Viviane Beverly Hills’ Thanksgiving – Chef Michael Reed will prepare a poolside Thanksgiving prix-fixe menu for those looking to dine out on the holiday. For $65 per person, guests can enjoy a three-course menu highlighting Thanksgiving classics such as butternut squash soup, garlic mashed potatoes, traditional brioche bread stuffing and roasted Brussels sprouts with dates and pumpkin seeds. For the main course, guests can choose from slow-roasted turkey, roast beef or stuffed portobello mushroom. Dessert options include a mini pumpkin pie or mini Granny Smith apple pie. The menu will be available from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. alongside a limited selection of à la carte dishes from the regular Viviane menu. Guests are encouraged to make reservations in advance. 9400 W. Olympic Blvd., (310)277-5221.
  9. ‘Season to Soar’ at the InterContinental – Enjoy a Dekkadance buffet and bottomless sparkling rosé or mimosas on Thanksgiving from noon to 6 p.m. The meal is $95 for adults and $45 for children ages 5 to 12. Afterwards, an à la carte menu will be offered from 6 to 10 p.m. Additionally, “Season to Soar” is back at the InterContinental Los Angeles Downtown with hotel-wide specials on select menu items. Enjoy s’mores with homemade marshmallows, graham crackers and milk chocolate bars at Spire 73, and a portion of the $18 dessert will be donated to support Alzheimer’s Association Southland Chapter throughout November and December. The November “Season to Soar” cocktail, Winter is Coming, is made with Eagle Rare bourbon, Amaro Montenegro, apple juice, cinnamon syrup and lemon juice, garnished with nutmeg and dried apple. It’s available at Spire 73, La Boucherie, Lobby Lounge, Dekkadance and Sora. Pick up pre-ordered, house-made pumpkin or pecan pie, assorted truffles and macarons now through Dec. 30. Two-day advanced notice are required for truffles and macarons, and three-day advanced notice are required for pies. 900 Wilshire Blvd., (213)688-7777.
  10.  Family-style holiday prix-fixe at Craft – Craft Los Angeles will offer a prix-fixe feast from chef de cuisine Denis Crutchfield who will blend traditional holiday plates with Craft favorites. Guests begin with seasonally driven starters, such as pork belly with celery root, and then can choose from roasted organic free-range turkey, Angus beef short ribs, seafood or pasta dishes. An assortment of sides such as sausage and raisin stuffing, and Brussels sprouts will also be available. Pastry chef Shannon Swindle is baking classic and reimagined fall desserts, including a pumpkin pecan cheesecake and apple sticky pudding. The cost is $145 per person with an additional $65 for an optional wine pairing. Reservations will be available for 1 to 8 p.m. 10100 Constellation Blvd., Los Angeles, (310)279-4180.
  11.  Lawry’s The Prime Rib to-go – This Thanksgiving, bring Lawry’s traditional prime rib and turkey dinners home. The turkey holiday feast includes classic Lawry’s sides such as creamed corn, creamed spinach and mashed potatoes, along with stuffing and cranberry sauce. Prime rib dinners to-go will also be available with signature side offerings and Yorkshire pudding batter to bake fresh at home. Desserts available à la carte include apple and pumpkin pies, as well as C.C. Brown’s hot fudge sauce so diners can recreate the famous sundae at home. To place an order, visit 100 La Cienega Blvd., Beverly Hills, (310)652-2827.
  12. NoMad Thanksgiving – NoMad Los Angeles in downtown will offer a $59 holiday prix-fixe menu alongside its regular à la carte menu for dine-in guests only. The set menu begins with the choice of butternut squash soup or puntarelle salad, followed by roasted turkey breast or the famous NoMad whole-roasted chicken with black truffle. Family-style sides, including stuffing, potato purée, crispy Brussels sprouts and cranberry sauce will be offered as well. An apple cobbler with brown sugar crumble and vanilla ice cream brings the meal to a sweet close. For reservations, visit 649 S. Olive St., Los Angeles, (213)358-0000.
  13. Thanksgiving with all the trimmings from Du-par’s – Sit back and spend time with your family instead of cooking on Thanksgiving. Order an individual meal with turkey and trimmings or a feast for up to 10 people. For those who prefer to cook their own turkey, pick up the trimmings, sides and a pie or two for dessert. 6333 W. Third St., Los Angeles, (323)933-8446.
  14.  Huckleberry Bakery & Café is having a Pop-up on Nov. 22 from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. Pick up your catering order and Esters will be there with a sidewalk sale selling some wine for your Thanksgiving table. There will be Champagne, Riesling, Beaujolais and more to pair perfectly with turkey and the fixings. Esters Wine Shop & Bar will have pre-packaged boxes for last-minute host gifts. On Black Friday until Cyber Monday, enjoy 20% off all Esters Wine Club Memberships. From Savvy Sipper to Adventurer to Collector, there’s a club for any budget. 1014 Wilshire Blvd. 
  15. Winston Pies for Thanksgiving – Special holiday pie flavors at Winston Pies include harvest apple, fall pumpkin, classic southern pecan, Twix and a very original cranberry orange chess pie. They also offer gluten-free and vegan options. The pies are 11 inches, perfect for larger gatherings. The shop also makes five-inch mini pies, and small PieBites are available for $20 a dozen. Place your order online and pick it up at the West Hollywood location by Wednesday, Nov. 21, or the Brentwood location by noon on Thursday, Nov. 22. 8366 W. Third St., Los Angeles, (323)925-4743. 11678 San Vicente Blvd., Los Angeles, (310)207-5743.
  16. Homeboy Bakery pies – Enjoy handmade, nine-inch pies made by the dedicated homeboys and homegirls of the Homeboy Industries Bakery for your Thanksgiving feast. Choose from pumpkin, apple or pecan. The pies are made to order and baked in a small-batch kitchen in downtown Los Angeles with an all-butter crust and high-quality ingredients. To place an order, visit Pickup at Homegirl Cafe by Nov. 21. The social programs by Homeboy Industries help provide jobs to people wishing to change their lives. 130 Bruno St., (888)341-1422.This was also featured in the Beverly Press on Nov. 15, 2018

Fun Birthday Venues in Los Angeles

Planning a birthday is easy in LA. The city has so many fun celebratory venues for brunch, roof top soirees and festive dinner affairs.

When friends ask for my advice about a fun birthday destination, I always give them a list of three. Now my list has grown. Here are my favorite restaurants to celebrate with family and loved ones.

1. BARTON G. for over the top FUN – This is truly a one-of-a-kind, birthday experience nothing short of amazing. As servers bring artistic culinary presentations from the kitchen to the table, the cause the birthday party to ooh and ah. Every diner enjoys a glamorous and unique evening of avant-garde dishes complete with vaporizing cocktails.

2. Melody is casual French in Virgil Village near Silverlake. IMG_6958

  • Atmosphere: Set in a decades-old bungalow with breezy indoor/outdoor vibes.
  • Fun: There is a DJ area near the bar. Guests can rent out an interior back room that fits up to 30 people with the option to play your own music (records or compact disks are preferred but not required). Rather dine al fresco on the patio? Two large tables are available for up to 24 people.
  • Chef: Justin Abram (a favorite)
  • Food: Innovative “Lazy French” warm French baguettes, mussels, housemade agnolotti, oysters, wine bar and craft beer.
  • Price: $$
  • Brunch Hours on Saturday and Sunday (10am-4pm) open for dinner starting at 5 pm.

Reservation: via Opentable or call (323) 922-6037. For events and buyouts, email Website: Melody

3. Salazar
– Fun for families, dogs and millennials sipping mezcal cocktails. Created by Billy Silverman and Mexicali Taco co-founder Esdras Ochoa, Salazar occupies a former auto body shop near Silver Lake, the Golden State Freeway and Glendale Boulevard. 

  • Location: Frogtown
  • Chef: Jonathan Aviles
  • Brunch Hours: Saturday-Sunday are from 10am-3pm
  • Food: Sonoran-style BBQ chops, street tacos and killer guacamole. Terrific tequila and mezcal cocktails, craft beer and boozy slushies in the summer.
  • Reservations: Salazar does not offer reservations, but weekend brunch waits tend to be much shorter than dinner.
  • Price: $$
  • Read my review –
  • Address: 2490 Fletcher Drive, Los Angeles.IMG_1560
4. Baltaire specializes in elegant dishes in a fancy, steakhouse setting.
  • Food: The classic brunch fare includes Smoked Salmon Avocado Toast, Harissa Spiced Lamb and Eggs, and Prime Filet Benedict. This summer, Baltaire also offers a special “Toast to Rosé” menu, which pairs seasonal toast dishes with a special rosé – think Black Label Prosciutto De Parma toast with goat milk ricotta and baby squash paired with a pink Spanish Txakolina.
  • Chef: Travis Strickland (a favorite)
  • Price: $$-$$$ – Location: Brentwood – – Birthday Brunch Hours: Saturday & Sunday (11am-2:30pm).
  • Address: 11647 San Vicente Blvd., Los Angeles (424)273-1660.
  • Read my review .

  • 5. Jewel – Enjoy a birthday celebration inside the light and bright dining area with a jukebox or out on the cozy patio. This is ideal for a vegan and vegetarian birthday celebration.
  • Location: Virgil Village near Silver Lake.
  • Chef: Jasmine Shimoda
  • Hours: Open daily from 9am-4:30pm.
  • Price: $$
  • Food: Smoky Beet Pastrami, Avocado Toast, housemade vegan donuts, and chia pudding. There’s something for every dietary restriction or picky eater. Jewel doesn’t serve alcohol, so just BYOB or walk to the Vinovore wine shop. Here’s my review –

6. Hollywood Rooftop Fun for brunch at Filifera. Take the elevator up 22 floors up to open to stunning views of Griffith Park, Capitol Records, and the Hollywood Sign. Skip the lines and the crowds.

  • Chef: James Wilschke
  • Brunch Hours: Saturday & Sunday (12pm-3pm)
  • Reservation:  Resy 
  • Food: Enjoy house-made sangria, fresh pressed mimosas, and dishes like Prosciutto Eggs Benedict. For events and buyouts, email IMG_2917

7. El Torito – Anyone celebrating their birthday not only receives a party hat, but also a birthday dessert.

  • Menu: Lively Mexican cuisine – tacos, tamales, burritos, enchiladas
  • Unique: Staff Ready to serenade “Happy Birthday” at your table
  • Setting: Hacienda style setting
  •  For more information and locations, visit

8. SOCA is located in Sherman Oaks for Valley birthday celebrations. Guests will enjoy globally inspired dishes with tiki-inspired cocktails. During brunch larger groups can enjoy SOCA’s front patio for a secluded, yet light-filled space to celebrate.

  • Food: The Baller Brunch includes a 32 oz 30-day dry-aged Prime Creekstone Tomahawk ribeye, 6 fried eggs, sautéed onions and arugula, béarnaise for $145. Price: $$
  • Location: Sherman Oaks – Chef: Aaron Robins – Brunch Hours: Saturday (10am-3pm), Sunday (10am-3pm). Dinner opens at 4 p.m.
  • Address: 14015 Ventura Blvd, Sherman Oaks, CA 91423 – Phone: (818) 301-4300. Menu and reservations:,

 9. Beverly Hills by the pool celebration at Viviane

  • Location: Inside the Avalon Hotel Beverly Hills, birthday parties can be reserved in the colorful cabanas with seating for up to 10 guests. Enjoy  chic California cuisine in the heart of Beverly Hills from new Chef Michael Reed.
  • Hours: Breakfast starts at 7 am., brunch on Saturday-Sunday 7am-3pm and dinner follows.
  • Read my review of the former chef
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