Where to See a Different Kind of Star in Beverly Hills
While you can see plenty of stars in Beverly Hills, including famous chefs, the dining scene has also experienced a renaissance and the coveted MICHELIN Guide has taken notice.
by guest author, Carole Dixon
A Star From Down Under
Celebrated Australian Chef Curtis Stone and his team at Maude have again retained their star for high quality cooking.
MICHELIN Guide’s Point Of View: make your way inside to discover an intimate and elegant dining room, with views of an open kitchen. While the latter is fun to peek into, it remains peaceful throughout the meal. Once a showpiece for a rotating selection of the world's cuisines, Chef Curtis Stone and his team have now set their sights on their own backyard, focusing on refined Southern Californian cuisine while highlighting California's finest ingredients.
Photo credit: Ray Kachatorian
First Star I See Tonight
Gucci Osteria da Massimo Bottura, by world-renowned three-star Italian chef Massimo Bottura, joined the revered ranks by earning its first Michelin-star in this country for the chef and the brand in 2021.
After perusing the fashion downstairs, take the side elevator up to the European patio setting with stunning Rodeo Drive views. The real secret weapon here is Chef Mattia Agazzi who hails from the original Florence location and executes the famous tortellini with creamy parmesan Reggiano sauce - still a star in its own right. Another hit is the Santa Barbara Uni carbonara with burnt lemon or the crispy veal sandwich with balsamic vinegar from Moderna.
Photo credit: Gabriele Stabile
Best Kept Secret Star
Nozawa Bar is an intimate 10-seat in the know spot tucked-away behind the high-traffic Sugarfish restaurant on Cañon Drive. The locale is just as low-key as their recognition of their MICHELIN star achievements. What they prefer to focus on is the menu which changes daily, so there is always something new to discover and keep you guessing and exploring. Reoccurring hits include the seasonal fish that rotate throughout the year. Here, you want to go with the omakase or ‘trust me’ menu originated by Chef Nozawa who brought on Master Chef Osamu Fujita to serve as Executive Chef for the sublime tasting experience.
Beverly Hills Bib Gourmand
The Bib Gourmand category of the MICHELIN guide translates to high-quality food with a wallet-friendly price.
When whizzing down La Cienega’s “restaurant row” you just might miss this unassuming spot by chef-owner Ryu Isobe but that would be a great loss. Kazan holds a small storefront window showcasing an antique noodle press and the fresh flour flown in from Japan used to make the daily dough that is aged for five days and been dubbed ‘The Rolls Royce of ramen’. The result is an ultra-thin, soba noodle that soaks up the signature soy-truffle broth perfectly. The wontons feature hand-ground pork that is dipped into Jidori chicken or Tonkotsu broth that takes 15 hours to boil. The space features an inside counter and outdoor tables where you can sip beer, sake or the rare house chardonnay from Matsuhisa next door (aka Chef Nobu) who has been known to come over after work for a tipple or two when he’s in town.
Other Beverly Hills Restaurants Recognized in the MICHELIN Guide
Wagyu steak from Kyushu Japan in a Richard Meir-designed space, along with art by John Baldessari, is the perfect mix of architectural and culinary excellence under one roof – and that structure happens to be located at the iconic Beverly Wilshire, A Four Seasons Hotel.
CUT by Wolfgang Puck has been on the MICHELIN radar since the guide has been giving recognition in the greater Los Angeles area going back over a decade.
MICHELIN Guide’s Point Of View: Expect simply prepared meats and market-driven fare here, where the menu focuses on classics that never seem to go out of style. This is clear in the Maryland blue crab and Louisiana shrimp dressed in a tangy “Louis” sauce set over horseradish panna cotta. There are plenty of cuts from across the US to choose from, but those from Idaho's Snake River Farms are always on point. The versatile kitchen pays equal attention to other such delectable items as Maine diver scallops and roasted poussin. The kitchen sources locally grown vegetables, and snow peas or autumn squash prove that sides aren't an afterthought.
MICHELIN Guide’s Point Of View: Ella Beverly Hills' white brick walls are lined with black-and-white photographs of Hollywood's golden age, but this cozy cafe also feels a bit like Europe. Nab a seat at the bar to chat with the friendly staff or sink in to one of the booths with vintage sofas at this trendy and inviting spot nestled within the Sixty Beverly Hills hotel. They're all perfect for snacking and sipping on playful cocktails like the Pompeii, with flames flickering from the coupe. Executive Chef Brian Min's casual menu is inspired by Mediterranean, Asian and Italian cuisines and includes sandwiches, pasta, and pizza. Crispy glazed duck wings might be his signature dish, but bucatini pomodoro, bolognese, burgers and steak frites are also popular. For dessert, go straight for the sticky toffee pudding.
Ella, and the Pompeii cocktail, are featured in our Duets Video series episode, Carats & Cocktails.
MICHELIN Guide’s Point Of View: Matū may have wood panels, exposed brick walls and plenty of gleaming brass, but this isn't your typical temple of masculinity. Instead, this Beverly Hills steakhouse adds a little romance to its chic digs. The inviting ambience is elevated by an open kitchen with views of the action, and the warm, courteous wait staff rounds out the experience. Steaks hail from New Zealand (matū is a Māori word) and their wood-fired preparation delivers on the promise of tender and juicy meat. Wagyu is usually a budget buster, but here it's offered at an unusually accessible price. Its delicate, exceptional flavor will have you remembering it's for weeks to come. Steaks may be the heart of the menu, but fazzoletti with a slow-braised beef ragu are a fine choice.
You won’t be able to resist the airy white indoor-outdoor sprawling space at Avra that evokes a lavish summer house in Greece with imported limestone and fragrant lemon trees dotting the buzzy space. Just like the original New York location owned by Avra Madison Estiatorio, seafood specialties rule the menu and can be picked out by the pound from a marketplace style setting along the back wall that holds prize catches from grouper to branzino. The latter is served tableside after it’s grilled over charcoal and basted with a blend of olive oil, fresh lemon juice and saffron, then sprinkled with dry wild oregano from mount Taygetos and Cretan sea salt.
You can also sit at the bar with a glass of wine from the global list and graze on the thinly stacked tower of fried zucchini and eggplant chips with a tzatziki dip, saganaki (fried cheese) and sea bass with souvlaki over roasted peppers. No matter which perch you decide upon, end with galaktoboureko for dessert- a semolina-soaked custard with crispy layers of filo dough.
Photo credit: Frank Wonho
For a sensory Japanese Kyoto-style gourmet tempura journey, Tempura Endo is a 16-seat restaurant that holds a highly traditional and upscale dining experience. The exception flavor profiles all lie in the details. A key component is the delicately seasoned original dipping sauce, made with a secret recipe and carefully selected salt, which enhances the natural flavors of the tempura using choice seasonal ingredients. Premium quality cottonseed oil, Tieback sesame seed oil, and safflower oil, is a lubricating trifecta made from the finest components to guarantee the amazingly crisp, light, healthy tempura. The evening concludes with an elaborate, ceremonial tea service that feels like a religious experience.
Chef Wolfgang Puck’s smoked salmon pizza at Spago is a national treasure in this iconic restaurant. It's part of the extensive menu of celebrity chef Puck’s flagship eatery, which promises and delivers innovative farm-to-table California cuisine, glittering clientele and first-rate service in a beautiful indoor-outdoor setting. On any given night, Puck might be there to stop by your table to make sure you’re having a good time (and, why wouldn’t you be?) and probably suggest you try the crispy wienerschnitzel from his homeland of Austria.
Opened in 2019, the stark exterior in this intimate sushi bar destination on Robertson Boulevard sets the tone for a 17-course sublime omakase meal by Chef Yasuhisa Ouchi ‘Yasu’ from Osaka. The meticulous and deliberate maneuvers when he’s slicing through the fish flown in from Japan, from sea perch to squid and scallop, are mesmerizing. Served in hand-crafted pottery vessels (that they really should consider selling as souvenirs), dining here is truly a peek into a rare Japanese artform.
Any Michelin acknowledgment is an honor for the humble chef Yasu. “Maintaining motivation in this industry is a challenge, especially during the pandemic and the world-class Michelin benchmark has been something that's kept the candle going for me. I feel very grateful that my restaurant was recognized in this industry. My next motivation is to try and acquire a Michelin star.” We will be sure to keep you posted.
About the Author
Carole Dixon’s international career in film, television and publishing has spanned over several continents but holds a long history in Beverly Hills. Dixon worked for the late, legendary talk-show host Merv Griffin’s production company based in the city for over a decade when he owned The Beverly Hilton Hotel. Since then, her work has been featured in Architectural Digest, Travel & Leisure, Robb Report, Modern Luxury, AFAR, PureWow, The Hollywood Reporter, Wallpaper and the Beverly Hills Courier, among many others. As a luxury lifestyle expert, she frequently reviews Michelin starred restaurants and chefs, 5-star resorts, wine country regions, spas, interior designers and architects. Favorite projects have included producing “Food for Thought” for Bloomberg in London with legendary A.A. Gill, co-launching “The Feast” for NBC LA and penning the Wallpaper City Guide Books for many years.
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Updated July 6, 2023