The STANDARD H Travel pages are our version of city guides presented by our founder, Wesley Smith. These are places he's traveled, enjoyed, and recommends, so they're all vetted and what we refer to as STANDARD H verified. These lists will evolve, so check back often and travel safe!
"I lived in Los Angeles from 2007 until 2012. As many cities experience, restaurants and bars come and go, but thankfully, most of the places that have been my favorites have remained so as they've been able to stand the test of time. I certainly feel the proof is in the pudding and it illustrates these places are worth a visit." - Wesley
2160 Colorado Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90041
I lived a block from here for the entire time I lived in LA. It was not only my local coffee spot, but I just have such fond memories of the staff here. I was there just recently for old times' sake and it was exactly the same.
Intelligentsia Coffee Silverlake
3922 Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90029
This is one of the 3-4 most common places I get my espresso fix these days when I'm up in LA. I believe the brand was founded in Chicago, but it spread like wildfire when it came to Los Angeles. Expect a line and plenty of people wearing black. Silverlake became the Brooklyn of Los Angeles roughly 15 years ago and hasn't really changed. That's not a bad thing. ;). You can find another Intelligentsia coffee on the esteemed shopping street of Abbot Kinney Boulevard in Venice.
COUNTRY MART, 225 26th St, Santa Monica, CA 90402
The Brentwood Country Mart is an iconic place in Los Angeles as you may already know. I used to work at the James Perse store there and Caffe Luxxe is still a coffee spot I frequent when on the West Side. They also have a larger location on Montana Ave. In fact, their store count is up to 7, I believe, including Santa Barbara and Orange County which is nice to see. They also have other locations (Montana Ave. not far from the Country Mart, as well as one on the way to Malibu on PCH which I would recommend as opposed to getting coffee in Malibu where it's no doubt crowded).
1018 Montana Ave, Santa Monica, CA 90403
My memory is foggy how I ended up here the first time, but right when I entered I'd seen it before. Not because it looked familiar, but because they still have framed just inside the front door the Esquire feature from an issue I must have read long before even moving to California. Crazy how life works sometimes. I digress. The burger and beer is why you come here. The burger's famous, for that matter....partly because there is no ketchup in the building, so don't ask for any, and the fact that the burger is just so. damn. good. When I lived in LA, I took 100% of the people who visited me here, and it was always a grand slam. Note: there are no reservations and all orders are placed at the bar. I always dip my burger in the blue cheese aioli (sounds gross but don't knock it 'til you try it) that comes with the sweet potato fries which you can order a la carte. It's one of those things: shoe string fries come with the burger, but the sweet potato fries must be ordered separately...they're not interchangeable. I don't make the rules, I just play by them.
6602 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90038
Nancy Silverton of La Brea Bakery fame founded the Osteria in 2007 with partner Joe Bastianich. It's been called "the casual restaurant where people dress to impress," which could only occur in LA, let's be honest. Jokes aside, this is perhaps my favorite restaurant in all of Los Angeles. It has a great bar, so get there a few minutes early. The wine list is awesome if you like Italian reds.
641 N Highland Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90036
If you think this seems a little closely-named to Osteria Mozza, that's because it is. It's literally next door, and it's also a Nancy Silverton's brain child. Arguably the best pizza in Los Angeles, I always sit at the pizza bar so you can watch them make the pizzas, I always get the fennel sausage as it's made in house. Italian red wine or perhaps a Moretti beer when they have it. You'll love it.
8752 Sunset Blvd, West Hollywood, CA 90069
From the street it looks like a cottage, but inside it opens up. To me, it feels like 5 star tree house. The drinks are great and the food is delicious. I always seem to end up here when a group is getting together, but it's great as a date spot, too.
8700 W 3rd St, Los Angeles, CA 90048
Founded by Suzanne Goin, this was one of those restaurants I couldn't afford but went anyway when I was a stock supervisor for James Perse. It's a French approach to a "small plates" (read: tapas) dining experience. I'd heard good things prior to going, and I was never disappointed after. Great wine list and the food is delicious. It has moved with a great courtyard setting now. Goin's places are all fabulous, frankly. (See Tavern below)
1119 Wilshire Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90401
Wonderful wine bar with absolutely excellent food. I really don't know what else to say. It's great.
11648 San Vicente Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90049
Nice place, so unless you're "that guy" in LA, put some decent clothes on. Great layout, great service, and great food. As it turns out, I'm a big fan of all of the Suzanne Goin restaurants over the years.
8450 W 3rd St, Los Angeles, CA 90048
Classified as "High end Mexican" this place is just fun. I think it's best in a small group of close friends.
7383 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90046
One of my favorite bars in LA. Perhaps because it was one of the first I had friends introduce me to, however, it certainly has stood the test of time. The food's actually quite good, but I've normally gone for the great beer selection and the unique interior. I love sitting at the bar, however, the tables along the windows for a group meetup are great, as well.
Wally's Beverly Hills
447 N Canon Dr, Beverly Hills, CA 90210
Whether after work, or just after an afternoon of shopping, this is a great place to grab a glass of wine and just chill. Get a cheese board and relax, or buy a bottle of wine from the hundreds on offer and head home/back to the hotel. I
122 S Beverly Dr, Beverly Hills, CA 90212
This is a very old school steakhouse vibe. Think Art Deco before you saw it everywhere. Great cocktails if that's what you're looking for, and a solid beer list. It's obviously a bar, but it also has delicious food. Get the burger regardless. You're in California...if you weren't aware, burgers are sort of a thing here.
1087 Manzanita St, Los Angeles, CA 90029
It's a really cool vibe at 4100 - it's not a dive bar by any means, but has that "cool" factor to it while also feeling like an escape. You know when you're on vacation and find that locals' spot? It's that feeling. Back in the day, Kiefer Sutherland would randomly show up and get behind the bar and serve people drinks.
6255 Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90028
Really enjoy this place. Cocktails and great music. Such a great atmosphere here.