THE OLD PLACE
In the tiny mountain town of Cornell, tucked away in the Santa Monica Mountains between Agoura Hills and Malibu, sits one of Los Angeles’ best kept secrets (going on for more than four decades and still owned by the same family.) The Old Place is one of a kind, although it is dubbed a steakhouse, and though it’s not inexpensive, it’s anything but stuffy. It’s the kind of place where you see leather-jacketed bikers talking with the country club couple who cruised up in their Tesla, and then high fiving the indesript celebrity they made friends with in the corner, where it turns out that your excellent glass of wine was made by the cheerful bartender and his brothers, where you’ll be sent home with a delicate perfume of oak on your skin and plenty of leftovers from their generous portion sizes.
29983 Mulholland Hwy; oldplacecornell.com
The only signage for this small French restaurant is for a pizza joint that used to occupy the space–so you know this one’s definitely on the DL. Even the menu is kept secret until you show up for your $85 prix-fixe meal. But FYI: Be on time, since there’s no house phone to ask them to hold your spot.
716 N. Highland; troismec.com
WOLFGANG PUCK AT HOTEL BEL AIR
Wolfgang Puck may not be considered a secret, but this tucked away quintessentially Californian restaurant, with a legendary outdoor terrace in a verdant setting with swans gliding through ponds and enormous old trees overhanging walkways and tumbling streams is definitely a hidden gem.
701 Stone Canyon Road; http://www.hotelbelair.com/wolfgang-puck-bel-air
DAILY DOSE CAFÉ
Just a typical corner of the downtown arts district? Of course not. You’re actually looking at the few picnic tables of this café where you can get healthy lunch and dinner fare including kale bowls, yam side salads and smoked wild salmon with housemade hollandaise. Don’t miss their espresso.
1820 Industrial St.; dailydosela.com
Hiding in plain sight by looking like any other bungalow in the middle of Hollywood’s zoning hodgepodge is actually a restaurant that serves romantic fireside dinners and a lovely brunch on their deck.
6263 Leland Way, Hollywood;offvine.com
INN OF THE SEVENTH RAY
Nestled deep in Topanga Canyon along a winding creek, Inn of the Seventh Ray is a destination restaurant that offers tranquil outdoor dining surrounded by pines, sycamore, waterfalls and lush gardens. Executive Chef Bradley Miller uses organically grown ingredients from local farms, hormone-free meats, wild-caught fish and free range poultry to create his new American menu.
128 Old Topanga Canyon Road; innoftheseventhray.com
Tucked away off the Venice Boardwalk in an unassuming building, is Osteria Venice, home to a Michelin star rated Italian chef. This tiny casual restaurant offers rustic Italian food and a regional wine list that will make you feel transported to Sicily.
5 Dudley Avenue; osteriavenicewest.com
Do not judge this sushi spot by it’s cover. Definitely a hidden gem, Chiba is located in the deep valley in a strip mall next to a rundown beauty salon and pharmacy. Is it really that good you ask? Yes, 100%, it’s no wonder that its history dates back to 1973.
7515 Lankershim Blvd; no website
WOLVESMOUTH AT WOLVESDEN
Wolvesmouth is an underground restaurant in Downtown LA, shrouded in secrecy. To go, you have to get invited, which involves somewhat of a scavenger hunt, and a password. It’s been called the “Toughest Reservation in LA.” Once you’re in, you know why.
no address listed; wolvesmouth.com/wolvesden