As Bryant Park Grill is to the New York Public Library, Café Pinot is to L.A.’s stately central branch (but without the overcooked salmon). Sit outside on the twinkle-lit patio and gaze on the fountains and grassy, olive-tree-lined banks of Maguire Gardens.
Fitzgerald and Hemingway are just two of the heavy-hitters haunting Musso & Frank Grill (6667 Hollywood Blvd.; 323-467-5123), a retro relic where William Faulkner used to fix his own mint juleps. Don’t bother with a banquette; the best seats in the house are the swivel stools flanking the west room’s wood-paneled bar.
According to Nora Ephron, the world’s best pastrami sandwich isn’t in New York; it’s at Langer’s, the 60-year-old Jewish deli opposite MacArthur Park (the setting for Joseph Wambaugh’s cult crime classic The Choirboys). Be prepared for the inevitable food coma brought on by sandwich No. 19, a hand-cut pastrami pile topped with coleslaw, Swiss cheese, and Russian dressing.
Long before Mozza opened in November, Angelenos were thrumming with Oscar Night–like anticipation. The collaboration between Mario Batali, Joe Bastianich, and LaBrea Bakery’s Nancy Silverton has patrons lining up at noon to sample a superb Margherita pie, along with Batali’s decadent, diet-eviscerating lardo.