Wanna see everyday life in Beverly Hills? One block over from Rodeo Drive is a street that tourists don’t really know about. Locals flock to its restaurants and stores without the chaos generally associated with Beverly Hills. Its name – Beverly Drive. Not Beverly Boulevard – Beverly Drive.
These blocks of Beverly Drive exist between Santa Monica Boulevard and Olympic. Anything north of SMB is what used to be north of ‘the tracks’ which separated really, really, really nice Beverly Hills from just nice Beverly Hills. This is a part of the street to be seen for its residential architecture leading up to the Beverly Hills Hotel. But anything south of Olympic is just lame. Sorry, Beverlywood.
Characteristically, there is a difference between what is north, and what is south, of Wilshire. North of Wilshire the street has a feel closer to that if its neighbor Rodeo Drive. It’s busier and has more fashion chains (and nicer ones at that.) Places worth going:
– Intermix – alas, if I was a girl, I think I’d appreciate this store.
– All Saints – English amazingness.
– Vosges – delicious chocolate. Chocolate + bacon + salt = porn.
– Taschen – coffee table book heaven.
– Scoop – NYC in LA.
Food-wise the blocks between SMB and Wilshire have these options:
The Farm – comfort food. Great brunch – stuffed French toast being the standout. Salads, burgers, corn muffins and brownies.
Nate n’ Al’s – classic Jewish deli. Great breakfast/lunch – with an insanely vast menu. It’s been around for almost 70 years, so they must be doing something right. See here for more on The Farm and Nate n’ Al’s.
Jack n’ Jill’s – Great for lunch. Wraps are the best bet. And who doesn’t like getting Tootsie Pops at the end of your meal?
Fleming’s – a new addition to the street. Certainly nice, if a bit sterile, steakhouse chain serving up delicious slabs of meat.
South of Wilshire, the street turns decidedly more small-towny. It resembles Larchmont Blvd. in Hancock Park with a kind of ‘locals only’ feel. The chain stores disappear (minus Anthropologie), and the tourists that are there are probably lost or just walked too far from Rodeo. This is the best stretch of the street (Wilshire two blocks down to Olympic.) Here’s what you need to know:
Chaumont – this cafe/bakery is simply amazing. If you’re a Francophile and want delicious French cafe food, and desserts that can’t be defined through words – stop by this place. The look is oh so French, the owners are French, the people who go there are French. Get it – French.
Starbucks – You might wonder why mention Starbucks but this is simply the best one in Los Angeles. All of the baristas are amazing. Sure, you think your Starbucks people are great. But they just don’t compare.
‘Lette – Like Larchmont, Beverly Drive has a ‘Lette store just around the corner on Charleville. Macarons in every color and flavor offer many a sensory delight.
Piccolo Paradiso – This is one of the best Italian restaurants in Beverly Hills, and Los Angeles in general. The owners own quite a few Italian places around town and know their stuff. Get the beef carpaccio, squid ink pasta, and plenty of dirty martinis. Click here for more.
Urth Caffe – Not much of an introduction needed. It’s Urth Caffe. You know the place – sandwiches, salads, coffee, tea, desserts. This outpost of the chain is full of your typical local in the area – Beverly Hills teens, people who don’t seem to have a job, people taking an extended lunch break. Overall this mix makes for an amazing time.
Mulberry Street Pizza – If you like pizza, no pretentiousness, all with red and white check tablecloths – get a slice from here.
The Avalon – the only hotel in the area worth noting. Tucked away behind the intersection of Beverly, Beverwil, and Olympic is this rather trendy small hotel. Its restaurant, Oliverio, serves typical fare beside a small kidney-shaped pool. The interior design – courtesy of Kelly Wearstler.