I wanted to share with you my favorite restaurants that I have been going to during this pandemic. These places have made me feel comfortable and safe, and I really give all of the credit in the world to the restaurant ownership, management, and employees for being able to pivot to even make these dining experiences possible. Having worked in the hospitality industry for many years, I know that none of this was easy. Also, if you are not comfortable going out at this time (which is totally understandable), please note that many of these restaurants still offer pick-up and/or delivery options so you can still support them and enjoy their fantastic food!
Blue Dog Beer Tavern (Sherman Oaks): While I go into detail regarding my love of Blue Dog in my Valley Restaurant Guide, they are continuing to provide fantastic burgers in a safe way in the middle of this pandemic. To keep their customers and staff safe, Blue Dog has changed a few things—most noticeably there is no table service at this time. You now order at the bar and the waitstaff brings the food to your table, which limits the interaction you have with their staff. Not to worry, though—the staff still brings the food out in a timely manner and clears the tables when you are finished. Also, they changed up the seating layout to accommodate physical distancing. I can confirm that their cheeseburger is still perfection and they continue to have an amazing beer selection. Blue Dog remains a great place to sit on a patio and enjoy a burger and beer with your quarantine buddy.
Geoffrey’s (Malibu): Geoffrey’s is always a highlight of any trip to Malibu, and I explain why in my Perfect Day in Malibu Guide. They were one of the first restaurants that I felt comfortable going to once outdoor dining was allowed. They have separated their table layout and added plexiglass dividers to create private spaces at each table. The view is still fabulous, and I always enjoy their Salmon entrée while watching the waves. Geoffrey’s has become my go-to place for brunch – it’s nice to get out of the city and drink enough rosé to forget my troubles from the week. I highly recommend making a reservation in advance since it continues to be a popular destination. Now more than ever, I have been treasuring my trips to Geoffrey’s!
L’Antica Pizzeria da Michele (Hollywood): I wax poetic about L’Antica in my Los Angeles Pizza Guide, so I am happy to report that you are still able to experience this restaurant during these crazy times. Their front and back patios are open with tables socially distanced. They have a temperature check upon arrival, and you are quickly taken to your table. The back patio near the pizza oven is a magical place to enjoy a lovely dinner on a warm LA evening. I can honestly say that I have loved every item I have ordered from L’Antica, but I would be remiss not to mention—once again—that you have not lived until you’ve eaten their Gnocco Fritto, which are basically mini sandwiches made out of Fried Pizza Dough, filled with Burrata, Arugula, and Prosciutto. You’ll definitely want to order a pizza (or three) while you are there, as well. Their pizza is just heaven on a plate!
Playa Provisions (Playa del Rey): I was so happy to hear that Playa Provisions was open at this time and it has become the perfect spot to enjoy a socially distanced outdoor dinner. Playa Provisions is Brooke Williamson’s restaurant – of Top Chef fame. While Playa has a casual market counter for breakfast and lunch as well as an ice cream shop, I have been heading to the back patio to enjoy their seasonal seafood fare. They have put up dividers between their tables and have spread out the tables, accordingly. The restaurant is steps from the ocean and is just the perfect beachy spot to have dinner and a cocktail while catching up with a friend you may not have seen for a while, but are willing to see from a distance. While all the food is divine, I must encourage you to get the 2 Bite Caviar Crispy Hash Brown as a starter and I absolutely love the Grilled Salmon. You can walk off your meal on the beach after dinner – just make sure to have your mask on!
The Terrace at The Maybourne (Beverly Hills): The Maybourne is a new hotel that recently opened right where The Montage was located in Beverly Hills. When the property opened, I was thrilled to learn the new owners of this hotel also own my absolutely #1 favorite hotel in the world The Connaught, which is in London. We have always received the best service at The Connaught and are looking forward to enjoying their hospitality closer to home. The Terrace is one of the restaurants at the Maybourne and it is a perfectly appointed patio with nicely spaced out tables and umbrellas. The menu is straightforward and delicious. I hope to try out more items during my next visit, but I can tell you that the Filet Mignon I ordered was one of the best I have ever had. They have a great wine list and buckets of rosé set up around the patio, so I was a happy camper. They took our temperatures upon arrival and we were able to peruse the menu via a QR code on our phones. I am excited to see what this hotel has in store for the future as they open more of their food service outlets.