Since 1969, restaurant, hotel, travel & other witty reviews by a handpicked, worldwide team of discerning professionals—and your views, too.






  • pinitbutton Sushi at Royal T, in Culver City

I had been hearing about Royal/T, a café located in Culver City, for a while now and had never quite understood the concept developed by its owner Susan Hancock. So when I heard that chef Kenny Yamada was presenting his “Sushi Pop Art” dinner series last night, I eagerly headed there.

I discovered a 10,000 square-foot space, resembling more of a gallery than a restaurant. It is actually both at the same time. Hancock is sharing her private art collection, focused on Japanese contemporary art, for the viewing pleasure of the diners. The space is huge, but designed and decorated in such a way that it is warm and homey.

Since the café closes at 5pm, it is available at night for these new kind of chefs: the “pop-up” ones, like chef Ludovic Lefebvre (who rented it for the rendition of Ludo 3.0). It is now being utilized by chef Yamada, known for having started Katsu-ya in Encino as well as appearing as a judge on television’s Hell’s Kitchen (like me). The talented chef also worked at Hakata, SHU in Bel-Air, Bambu in Malibu and Takami.

Continue reading “Sushi at Royal T, in Culver City” »

  • pinitbutton Summer Ending, but not Al Fresco Dining Season
sophiegayotanthonyzappola 300x152 Summer Ending, but not Al Fresco Dining Season
Chef Jamie Gwen, Lana Sills, chef Anthony Zappola from Craft Los Angeles with Sophie Gayot

by Sophie Gayot

After meeting chef Jamie Gwen at Craft Los Angeles, where chef de cuisine Anthony Zappola was introducing his new small plates for the summer, Jamie and I decided to share our summer outdoor dining discoveries on her weekly radio show on KFWB News Talk 980.

Continue reading “Summer Ending, but not Al Fresco Dining Season” »

  • pinitbutton Is Spago Beverly Hills Becoming Spago Bel Air?


Perhaps you’ve heard the same rumor I have: that that Spago Beverly Hills was going to relocate to the Hotel Bel-Air, which is currently closed for renovations. The rumor makes perfect sense, as the landmark hotel is part of The Dorchester Collection, famous for attracting top chefs. Don’t they have Alain Ducasse at the Hôtel Plaza Athénée in Paris and Yannick Alléno at Le Meurice restaurant (redecorated by Philippe Starck)? And, they could certainly afford it.

Continue reading “Is Spago Beverly Hills Becoming Spago Bel Air?” »

The Tiato Kick

on July 30th, 2010
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  • pinitbutton The Tiato Kick


by Sophie Gayot


Last weekend, I went to have a family brunch with my brother at Santa Monica’s Tiato, the latest restaurant from the An family. Also known as the House of An, they own Crustacean in Beverly Hills, molecular gastronomy-influenced AnQi Gourmet Bistro in Costa Mesa, and Thanh Long and Crustacean in San Francisco, which is where it all started in 1971 after they moved from Vietnam.

Continue reading “The Tiato Kick” »

LudoBites: Take 5

on July 27th, 2010
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  • pinitbutton LudoBites: Take 5


by Sophie Gayot


It took me four days to get a reservation for LudoBites, which began its fifth incarnation last week, and even when I arrived last night I had to wait almost an hour to get seated—a party of two who had arrived at 6 p.m. (and finally left five hours later) was enjoying themselves so much that they would not free my table. But they weren’t the only ones there having a good time. Gram & Papas, the café Ludovic Lefebvre is renting for the second time, was completely packed with patrons on a Monday night. (And this in an area of downtown Los Angeles that’s desolate after dark.)

  Continue reading “LudoBites: Take 5” »



  • pinitbutton Food, Fun & Fighting Cancer
sophiegayotfarishhakim 300x219 Food, Fun & Fighting Cancer

Farshid Hakim, owner of La Provence Pâtisserie & Café with Sophie Gayot

by Sophie Gayot

The winning dish at Concern Foundation’s 36th Annual Block Party, held on July 10 at the Paramount Studios in Los Angeles, was the sweet corn agnolotti by Savore Catering. But honestly, I could not try every single one served on that fun night. Out of the 63 restaurants and refreshment stations, an increase of six from last year, I only had time and room to try ten. My apologies to the rest.

  Continue reading “Food, Fun & Fighting Cancer” »



  • pinitbutton A New Fun Bar in Los Angeles


There were no villains last night at the opening of Villains Tavern, located in the middle of absolutely nowhere in the industrial part of downtown LA. But there was a happy crowd discovering this new bar owned and designed by famous interior decorator Dana Hollister, who has worked with top clients like Madonna. I spoke with her in the small kitchen where bar food will be prepared to accompany the long list of hand-crafted cocktails.

  Continue reading “A New Fun Bar in Los Angeles” »



  • pinitbutton Cooking with the Schaffers


by Sophie Gayot

I first met husband and wife chefs Charlie and Kathleen Schaffer when they catered a movie premiere I attended. Not only was I impressed with their falafel, but I learned their cooking had also pleased many celebs both in Hollywood (Barbra Streisand, Eddie Murphy, Martin Scorsese, Kate Beckinsale, Julie Andrews) and elsewhere (Martha Stewart, Heidi Klum, Tom Brokaw). They even cooked for Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who probably didn’t know the two former busboys first met while working at the Republican National Convention at Madison Square Garden in New York City.

Continue reading “Cooking with the Schaffers” »



  • pinitbutton Formaggi, Salumi or Pasta?

by Sophie Gayot

Most of the time, when you find a retail section in a restaurant, it has been added so you can bring home some of the products you’ve had while dining. In the case of Cube restaurant on LaBrea avenue in Los Angeles, also known as Cube Market Place, it’s the other way around. From a retail store, first for pasta from The Divine Pasta Company, then imported cheeses and charcuterie, wines and olive oils, it has became a full restaurant with a chef. Continue reading “Formaggi, Salumi or Pasta?” »



  • pinitbutton B. B. B. B. in Beverly Hills

by Sophie Gayot

Enjoy a “bon” beef burger at Bouchon in Beverly Hills.  After all, Bouchon is a French bistro, and “bon” is French for “good.” In fact, I’d say it is a “très bon” burger. Though of German origin, the hamburger has now become an American food staple that chef Thomas Keller had to add to his menu next to the steak frites, le croque-Madame and les moules au safran.
Originally, it was only supposed to be offered Thursdays through Saturdays after 9pm at the bar of the bistro, but it is proved so successful, it is now also available for lunch from Monday to Friday. What makes it “très bon?” Watch our exclusive video to see executive chef Rory Herrmann explain how it is made. Of course, it starts with quality meat, a combination of prime cuts of sirloin, brisket and chuck. It ends with the house-made brioche buns made in the bakery area of the kitchen. Continue reading “B. B. B. B. in Beverly Hills” »

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