I’ve said it before, I love eating in luxury hotel restaurants. I find the level of service and attention to guest satisfaction far exceeds most stand-alone dining spots. I wanted to take a look at some of the best dining options at Los Angeles’ finest luxury hotels.
The Polo Lounge is a Los Angeles and world landmark, housed inside the amazing Beverly Hills Hotel in the heart of Beverly Hills. Open from 7 a.m. to 1:30 a.m., the space evolves from being the ultimate power meal spot to a luxury dining experience then into a late night party, only to start the cycle again the next morning. I’ve been coming to the Polo Lounge for years and it’s consistency I seek and always find there. I never have a bad meal, I never have bad service, they just get it right every time.
My recent meal
My father and I had a wonderful dinner early on a Monday night. The restaurant was already filling up but there was no wait as we were ushered to our booth. A guitar player was playing light versions of classic rock songs, which added to the atmosphere.
To start, I had the tortilla soup, a spicy concoction with grilled chicken, queso fresco (a Mexican cheese almost like sour cream), green onion, avocado and tortilla strips. I frequently order tortilla soup and this was an interesting, spicier version than I’m used to. Next up was the black truffle gnocchi, made with European butter, Parmesan cheese and covered with shaved black winter truffles.The gnocchi were tender and cooked perfectly and there were a lot of truffle shavings on top. You really had a chance to experience the flavor of the fresh truffles, too often masked with other flavors in a dish. As I write this, it’s the peak of the winter truffle season and they were perfect. Earthy and just delicious.
For my dad’s main, he had the Scottish salmon, a large filet cooked to tender perfection with rice, asparagus and sauteed spinach. The rice was a substition, the dish is normally served with a creamy potato puree.
I went for the linguine with meatballs, served in a homemade marinara sauce with cherry tomatoes and olive oil. The meatballs were exceptional, like mini hamburgers, made from what was obviously a wonderful cut of meat. The sauce was perfect, with the sweetness of the cherry tomatoes offering a different twist. The linguine was think and perfect for that dish.
Dessert, which we wisely ordered with our dinner, was a blueberry souffle. Hot and topped with a white chocolate Beverly Hills Hotel logo, the souffle was served with a dollop of creme fraiche and a tiny pitcher of vanilla custard. The souffle was like a blueberry muffin on steroids, packed with blueberries and with that perfect texture of a well-made souffle. Slightly harder outer crust and moist and tender cakey interior.
While my father enjoyed his Amaretto on the rocks, I had a few glasses of a bright and delicious 2011 Alsace Riesling from Pierre Sparr. A nice surprise, this crisp, clean vintage was an ideal pairing with my pasta.
The Polo Lounge environment is classy, exclusive and luxurious but not stiff or overbearing. This is still Los Angeles, so a kind of casual luxury pervades, welcoming those in suits, from three-piece to bathing. The Beverly Hills Hotel hosts many families, so you often see power lunchers at one table and a family in their Disneyland gear at another.
Service is friendly and attentive but not overwhelming. I find the waitstaff is experienced and knowledgeable and I often trust their recommendation as to what to order. Dinner for two, with two glasses of wine and two mixed drinks, was $230.
One of my favorite things about the Polo Lounge is how different a place it is at different times of the day. During the day, starting early at breakfast, it’s the ultimate Hollywood power meal spot, where the city’s top dealmakers make their deals. Dinner also brings power diners, along with a large contingent of locals, who’ve been enjoying the spot for years. Add in hotel guests and it creates a great community of people who all want (and get) a good meal. Late at night the party really gets going, with live music and a lively bar scene. Locals like me know it’s a great place to go for a meal and fun after midnight.
The Polo Lounge is inside The Beverly Hills Hotel (9641 Sunset Blvd. Beverly Hills). The restaurant is open every day from 7 a.m. to 1:30 a.m. It can get busy, so I always recommend making reservations. They also serve an amazing Sunday brunch featuring live jazz.
Freddy Sherman is a world traveler and editor of the travel blog luxuryfred.com. In the past year, he has visited Turkey, Hong Kong, Vietnam, Cambodia, Canada, and Peru. You can follow him on Twitter -@luxuryfred and on Instagram – @luxuryfred.
More from this contributor:
Great L.A. Weekend Getaways: Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel
A Day Trip to the Cesar E. Chavez National Monument
Shopping in Hong Kong’s Street Markets