Lavo Ristorante Opens

The team behind Tao, Beauty & Essex and the Highlight Room opened a new coastal Italian, indoor-outdoor restaurant on the Sunset Strip this week. Lavo Ristorante is a sibling concept to Italian restaurant Lavo — which Tao Group Hospitality operates in New York City, Las Vegas and Singapore — and is serving red-prawn crudo, veal Marsala, fresh pasta, fritto misto, a 1-pound meatball, cacio e pepe pizza, handmade burrata and other dishes to diners (there are 250 seats) under a retractable roof. The group’s chief culinary officer, Ralph Scamardella, oversees the menu. Craig Schoettler (formerly of Alinea and the Aviary) designed the bar program with cocktails such as an Amalfi-inspired gin and tonic (there’s also a 230-bottle wine list). Lavo Ristorante is open from 5 to 11 p.m. Sunday and Tuesday to Thursday, and from 5 p.m. to midnight Friday and Saturday; brunch service is expected to follow.

Casa Madera opening this Summer inside the Mondrian

The Noble 33 hospitality group (Tosh Berman and Mikey Tanha, specifically) is branching out from its current array of restaurants to offer something new to the Sunset Strip. The team behind hotspot Toca Madera(in West Hollywood; Scottsdale, Arizona; and soon in Las Vegas) and Sparrow Italia in Downtown will open a more upscale destination known as Casa Madera inside the Mondrian Hotel this summer. The plan is to drop in all the usual design and menu choices, from light wood and rustic off-white touches to broadly inspired Mexican and Mediterranean dishes, across a 7,800 square foot venue. Expect the bar to be packed come summertime, even as more and more competing projects arrive like Lavo Ristorante to the west and Horses further east.

Guide to Dining on the Sunset Strip

From the 1930s, when it was a playground for restaurant-owning mobsters like Bugsy Siegel, to the 1960s counter-culture movement, from the New York Dolls and Donna Summer Disco days of the ‘70s to Rock ‘n’ Roll of the 1980s, The Sunset Strip has long been a nexus for wild parties, late nights, and great music, pushing the boundaries of both dining and entertainment in America.

Today, it’s as vibrant as ever, and it’s one of the best places to stay, drink, dine and play in all of West Hollywood. Here are some of our favorite places to grab a bite, have a drink, and maybe spot a celebrity:

Hotel Dining

Los Angeles has some of the best weather for al fresco dining. Experience haute cuisine under the stars at Boxwood Café at The London. The ambiance includes tons of greenery, as expected, but there’s also a whimsical approach to craft cocktails and inventive, New American cuisine by Executive Chef Anthony Keene. While we love the night sky and glittering buildings from the scene atop The London, the fresh juices, organic spirits, ripe salads and coastal California bounty keep us coming back to Etcho Café, at the Jeremy Hotel. It’s an ultimate when you’re after a high-end brunch scene, and we wouldn’t be the least surprised if you bumped into a celebrity or two.

Also check out the Riot House Restaurant at Andaz WeHo, the Bar 20 at Grafton, Cavatina at Sunset Marquis, the Tower Bar at Sunset Tower and the dining at Ivory on Sunset at the Mondrian.

Fine Dining

The Sunset Strip has long been a celebratory location, and if you’re looking to have a dinner for someone or something special, there are plenty of options here. BOA Steakhouse makes great use of dark leathers and industrial accents in the design, and the steaks are flown from around the globe, giving you a full menu of Wagyu, Porterhouse, Rib-eye and 40-day-aged options. Roku and Katana Robata are ideal choices if modern Japanese fusion is what you are craving. Sushi and Teppanyaki at Roku are taken to new heights for American dining, including hand-selected sakes, elegant cocktails, an impressive wine list and menu items like Matsuzaka beef and sweet, Santa Barbara spot prawns. At Katana Robata, the name of the game is Japanese comfort cuisine, in a setting that’s won ample awards for design. Get a reservation on the outdoor patio for the optimum people watching, whilst enjoying both hot and cold, gorgeous Japanese small plates.

Casual Dining

Pearl’s Rooftop has a charming, bohemian kind of feel, with ivy crawling across the beams of the covered, outdoor roof deck and small wooden tables, for intimate, low-key dinners. The Avocado Toast is a local favorite, but Lobster Dip is truly something unique––with a French Dip reimagined as a buttery, saucy seafood sandwich. Rock n’ Reilly’s is a nod to the days and times when The Sunset Strip was a place of more nefarious activity. The fictional backstory of the bar involves an Irishman with a fondness for whiskey and for poker. In reality, it’s bastion of both dark spirits and craft brews, with specialty tacos on Tuesdays, signature sliders on Wednesdays and happy hour every day of the week. If you’ve got a whole crew, then one of the best casual options on The Strip is State Social House. The lofted, beam ceilings and ample seating give it an airy vibe, even when crowded, and there’s plenty of nosh––most of it healthy. Snack on Ahi Tuna, a list of gluten free pizzas and fresh vegetable sides with inventive preparations.

Late Night Bites

There’s a throwback vibe to after-midnight dining on The Strip. Mel’s Drive-In is everything you want in a nostalgic, stick-to-your-ribs diner, from the swiveling leather stools at the counter to the super-crispy bacon and the thick, creamy, made-to-order malts. This being California, you can also get freshly squeezed juices and a bowl of fruit and yogurt too. Kitschy, crazy and a whole lot of fun, a night out at Cabo Cantina is a good way to blow off work or travel stress. It’s also super affordable. Where else can you get a platter of hot wings or a basket of tacos for under $10 and two-for-one frozen drink specials every day from 4pm to 8pm?

If you’re after a burger or a tasty dog, look no further on The Sunset Strip than Wahlburgers or Carney’s Restaurant. At Wahlburger, you’re going to need a lot of napkins when it comes to our favorite––The Triple Decker. That’s three, 3-ounce patties, lettuce, tomato and onion, with American cheese dripping through each layer and Paul’s Sauce––a house signature. Carney’s is housed in a bright-yellow, vintage railway car and the hot dogs here have been called out in multiple Best Of lists. We adore The Red Baron, with cabbage, mustard, Jack and Cheddar cheese.

Cinco (And Quatro, And Tres…) De Mayo!

The party is going strong all weekend long on The Sunset Strip. Here’s your guide on where to find the best drink and food specials and live music.
May 1-5: Five Days of Cinco De Mayo @ Rosa Mexicano
Rosa Mexicano is keeping the fiesta going for five days with a special four course $35 pre-fixe menu May 1-5. (View menu.) May 5 includes the special $35 menu as well as mariachis and drink specials. www.rosamexicano.com
May 2-4: Cinco de Drinko Weekend Celebration @ Cabo Cantina
Two-for-one priced drinks from 4-8 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday. 99-cent Coronitas all day while supplies last. www.facebook.com/CaboSunset
May 2-4: Weekend Celebration @ Crossroads at House of Blues 
Starting at 5 p.m. each day this weekend, enjoy $5 margaritas, a special $5 menu and a “pass the lime” special (Buy a shot of tequila and a corona with limes and get priority entrance into the music hall for your show.) www.twitter.com/hobsunset 
May 2-5: Pinko de Mayo @ Pink Taco
Happy hour starting at 4 p.m. on Friday, May 2 with DJ Metric from 6-11 p.m. Saturday, May 3 join a full fiesta with tacos off the grill, cervezas, margaritas DJs. Party kicks off at 2pm but we’ll open our doors at noon. 1 Oak will also host a VIP area on site. Tickets available for $20 via TicketWeb.  Sunday, May 4 is Sunday Funday with DJ Chris Cruse from 2-5 p.m. and Monday, May 5 includes happy hour starting at 4 p.m. and music from DJ Beefowl. www.pinktaco.com
May 3-5: 4th Annual Cinco de Drinko @ The Den
Tequila, tacos, drink specials and a DJ. Doors open Saturday, May 3 at 2 p.m. The party continues May 4 at 11 a.m. and May 5 at 5 p.m. No cover charge. www.facebook.com/thedenofhollywood
May 3: Drinko De Mayo @ Rock & Reilly’s 
Live mariachi band, DJs, $2 gourmet tacos, $5+ Irish nachos, $5 margaritas and $5 shots of Casamigos Tequila. www.facebook.com/rnrpub 
May 4: Metalachi @ Whisky A Go-Go
The world’s only metal mariachi band returns to The Sunset Strip this Sunday. Tickets are $20 and doors open at 7 p.m. www.whiskyagogo.com
May 5: Cinco De Mayo @ State Social House
Enjoy drink specials, prizes, giveaways and mariachis. www.facebook.com/statesocialhouse
Photos: Rosa Mexicano guacamole and margaritas; Metalachi at the Whisky; Rock & Reilly’s. 

Passover Treats And Easter Brunches

Feast all week and weekend!

Dough Pizzeria & Bar
Matzo pizzas are on the menu all week at Dough.  www.facebook.com/choosedough
Rosa Mexicano
Enjoy a four-course Mexican Passover dinner through April 24. Menu includes matzo ball pozole soup, choice of barbecued beef brisket, braised lamb or matzo-breaded chicken, sides and a mango cup. Price is $42 per person. View the full menu
Rosa Mexicano will also host an Easter brunch on Sunday, with numerous egg dishes and alcoholic and non-alcoholic brunch beverages. View the full menu
Gospel Brunch at House of Blues
Pass the biscuits and say Amen. House of Blues Gospel Brunch is the best way to spend your Easter Sunday. Enjoy a roof-raising soulful music experience and a full Southern-inspired buffet, featuring salads, peel and eat shrimp, buttermilk biscuits and gravy, creole chicken jambalaya, eggs, carving station, omelet station, chicken and waffles, white chocolate banana bread pudding, pecan sticky buns and more. A build your own bloody mary bar is also available. Seatings available at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. This all ages event is $42.50 for adults, $21 for children ages 5-12. Full details, tickets and menu
Cavatina at Sunset Marquis
Dine al fresco and enjoy a lavish Easter brunch at Cavatina, featuring a seafood bar, smoked salmon platters, charcuterie, seasonal salads, carving station, pasta station, breads and croissants and an assortment of desserts.  The unlimited brunch is $80 for adults, $35 for children ages 5-11 and free for those under age 5. View the full menu
Gordon Ramsay at The London West Hollywood
Pair your Easter brunch with pitchers of cocktails at Gordon Ramsay. The menu includes fresh baked goods, shrimp cocktail, applewood smoked Pacific salmon, quiche, bacon and eggs, lobster benedict, roasted lamb, steak, cakes and tarts. Pitchers of mojitos, martinis and watermelon bellinis are also available. View the full menu
Herringbone LA at Mondrian
Herringbone offers an eggcellent menu with a variety of benedicts (classic, crab cake, chilaquiles or wild mushroom), scrambled (plain, lobster, mushroom, or sirloin) and folded/omelette options (spinach, herb, duck confit and gruyere, chorizo or ‘build your own’). Sprawling views of L.A. are an added bonus. View the menu
Photos: Cavatina kale salad, Herringbone LA Southern fried chicken and waffles, Dough Pizzeria matzo pizza.