It comes with the territory. As the magazine’s dine editor, I regularly get hit up for restaurant recommendations during my off hours. I receive text messages from friends in the evenings, phone calls from family members on weekends, and—my personal favorite—the casual backyard barbecue sneak attack. (I’ve had three beers, but sure I can tell you where to eat for your anniversary!) Despite the title of this post, I’m always truly happy to help. But I insist every inquirer give me a few guidelines first: a) what part of town, b) price point, c) desired vibe, d) style of cuisine, or the name of a restaurant they already like. Here, I share my off-duty advice.
Method of Inquiry: Phone—a landline!
Scenario: She, her new husband, and another couple planned a double-date right after work.
Where: The Greater Beverly Hills area
Price Point: Medium
Vibe: Lively, not too stuffy or scene-y.
Type of Cuisine: They’re open, but not exceptionally adventurous. They love Italian, but that’s not necessary.
I Said: (via email) Sotto: Southern Italian don’t get much better than this. Best New Restaurant 2011, anyone? Scarpetta: Great high-end Italian at the Montage but can be pricey. Red Medicine: Amazing food if you like funky modern Southeast Asian. Ranks medium to high on the adventurous scale. South Beverly Grill: Really bustling, fun bar scene, live music, and a classic American menu that borders on throwback. Big booths. The food isn’t reinventing any cheese-wheels, but it’s fun place. Pici Enoteca: Cozy neighborhood Italian joint. Great little pizzas and pastas. I saw Marisa Tomei there once. I’m just sayin’…
They Went: South Beverly Grill
The Verdict: From my coworker: “We huddled in a booth, shared some sushi to start, and the ladies settled in with housemade veggie burgers. It was crowded but not so crowded that we had to wait. Felt like we were in good company, but I didn’t feel like I should have swapped my flat sandals for heels. Perfect.”