Power Lunching In L.A.
Whether you’re brokering a deal, catching up with old friends, or simply planning to indulge in a “me day,” there’s no point in doing it hungry.
Fortunately, L.A.’s daytime dining scene is as rich as the diners themselves. The most fabled of these midday hotspots cater to the Hollywood crowd, naturally.
If you want to go where the action is, book a table at one of these legendary purveyors of the power lunch. Just keep this in mind: it’s not about the menu; it’s about the experience.
La Scala Beverly Hills, 434 N. Canon Dr., Beverly Hills
Maybe you’ve heard about it on Real Housewives of Beverly Hills or Keeping Up with the Kardashians. La Scala has been serving a Who’s Who of notables for over five decades. A portrait gallery of regulars like Judy Garland, Warren Beatty, and Natalie Wood lines the walls. The menu is decidedly old-school Italian (even Paul Newman approved), but the signature Chopped Salad is legendary. Pair it with the grilled Salmon Alla Griglia for a very satisfying power lunch. (Note—no reservations are accepted.)
Spago Beverly Hills, 176 N. Canon Dr., Beverly Hills
Wolfgang Puck’s flagship restaurant may look minimalist, but its two-Michelin-starred menu says otherwise. While you won’t find Old Hollywood nostalgia here, A-listers still come for lunch, and the gracious staff will treat you like one, too. The focus is on California-forward ingredients prepared with Chinese and Japanese flair. Guests happily shell out $145 for the highly coveted Japanese Wagyu Steak prepared with a Cabernet-thyme reduction. In all fairness though, the rest of the menu is far more attainable. The Pizza with Wild Mushrooms will leave some room in your wallet for dessert.
The Polo Lounge, 9641 Sunset Blvd., Beverly Hills
From foodies to socialites to Hollywood VIPs, this art deco “Pink Palace” tops everyone’s list for outstanding food, intimate ambiance, and impeccable service. This is where sophisticates go for a classic lunch when they want to actually hear each other talk. Fun fact #1: Charlie Chaplin had a long-standing daily reservation at booth no. 1. Fun fact #2: Back in the day, there was a “no slacks” rule for women until Marlene Dietrich, another regular, refused to wear a skirt. The Tortilla Soup and McCarthy Salad garner a universal thumbs-up, and don’t forget the Pastry Chef’s Soufflé of the Day.
Chateau Marmont, 8221 Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood
If you’ve ever wished walls could talk, the walls of this grande dame of L.A. restaurants would give you a delicious earful. A Hollywood executive once advised William Holden and Glenn Ford, “If you must get into trouble, do it at the Chateau Marmont.” Stories of stars behaving badly abound; it’s where Britney Spears smeared food all over her face and where Lindsay Lohan was famously banned. You can linger over a cheese plate, club sandwich, and $20 martini, then just hang out to see what happens next. Lunch is served from 12:00 to 5:00 p.m., giving you plenty of time to see who shows up that day.