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



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by Sophie Gayot


Aren’t you always looking for a place to brunch on Sunday? There is a new one at Montage Beverly Hills at its restaurant Scarpetta. Chef Scott Conant, a lady killer, is not always there, but you may still enjoy his kitchen while he is busy touring his other Scarpetta restaurants or shooting his TV show. And I really mean his kitchen, as the savory buffet is actually displayed in the kitchen, a unique feature of which Montage owner Alan Fuerstman takes pride. Not too many restaurants can claim to have such a beautiful kitchen. We all wish we could have one like that.


Continue reading “Sunday Brunch at Scarpetta Beverly Hills” »

by Sophie Gayot

A few weeks ago, I headed to Nic’s Restaurant & Martini Lounge (aka Nic’s Beverly Hills) for a special dinner in which each course was paired with cocktails made exclusively with Grey Goose vodka, which graces our Top 10 vodka list. That was the perfect place to host the event, as Nic’s Beverly Hills is the only restaurant west of Las Vegas that has what chef/owner Larry Nicola and his son Luke, creative director, like to call the “VodBox,” a walk-in freezer filled with some of the best boutique vodkas in the world.

Continue reading “Grey Goose Vodka at Nic’s Beverly Hills” »

Italian on my Mind

on March 24th, 2011
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by Sophie Gayot

While I was writing my just published review of Scarpetta Beverly Hills, I had to go over my notes and my photos (see below). Luckily I was not doing so on an empty stomach, as the flavors that kept coming back were only in my mind and not my mouth. To make it clear, I had a very tasty dinner at the restaurant in the hotel Montage Beverly Hills. It appears I am not the only one to think so, as the room was almost filled on a Monday night, including celebrities like American Idol judge Randy Jackson. By the way, Jackson is truly a nice person, and a regular there.

Continue reading “Italian on my Mind” »

by Sophie Gayot

Our steakhouse lists are some of the most read ones on, so it made sense that we would dedicate a section in our Annual Restaurant Issue to honor ten of the best steakhouse restaurants in the U.S. There are many—so this was not an easy choice. Congratulations to the winners!

Check out my exclusive video interview above with executive chef Ari Rosenson at CUT Beverly Hills at the Beverly Wilshire hotel (he is also Regional Culinary Director, Los Angeles Restaurants & CUT Concepts), to see why CUT made the list. And to complete the tour of Wolfgang Puck’s steakhouse, watch my videos with general manager Mishel LeDoux and beverage director Dana Farner.

Continue reading “ 2011 Top 10 Steakhouses in the US” »

Partner/owner Norbert Wabnig of The Cheese Store of Beverly Hills preparing raclette
Partner/owner Norbert Wabnig of The Cheese Store of Beverly Hills preparing raclette

by: Sophie Gayot

If you walk into The Blvd, the other restaurant at the Beverly Wilshire hotel besides CUT (one of 2011 Top 10 Steakhouses in the US), on Thursday nights between 6 and 8 p.m., you will certainly wonder what is the unusual smell in the room.

At least until the end of February, Norbert Wabnig or Tony Princiotta, the partner/owners of The Cheese Store of Beverly Hills, invade the center of the room with their cheese and their “melting machine.” That means there is no need to go to the Alps to savor the Swiss delicacy raclette. The warm, melted cheese comes with the usual fingerling potatoes, charcuterie and cornichons, with a Californian addition of heirloom cauliflower, romesco and peppers. Each plate costs $15.

If you prefer your cheese cold, come on Tuesday or Wednesday, between the same hours of 6 to 8 p.m., for tasting plates priced at $20 or $35.



Continue reading “A Cheesy Time on Wilshire Boulevard in Beverly Hills” »



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?” »

Friday house-made spaghetti and veal meatballs at Spago Beverly Hills

Friday house-made spaghetti and veal meatballs at Spago Beverly Hills

by Sophie Gayot

Having lunch at uber chef Wolfgang Puck’s Spago restaurant in Beverly Hills on a Friday requires much more time than on any other day. For some unknown reason, for many years now, when you enter on a Friday at noon or one o’clock, don’t expect to leave until 4 or 5pm. That is what everybody does and, please, don’t break the tradition. The restaurant becomes sort of a friendly club where everybody starts talking to each other, especially when Barbara Lazaroff starts going from table to table.

Continue reading “How To Enjoy Friday Lunch at Spago” »

Bouchon Voilà!

on November 17th, 2009
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Larry King with Sophie Gayot at the opening of Thomas Keller's Bouchon in Beverly Hills
Larry King with Sophie Gayot at the opening of Thomas Keller’s Bouchon in Beverly Hills

By Sophie Gayot


Last night, the grand opening of Thomas Keller’s third Bouchon restaurant in Beverly Hills was definitely the place to be. The long, red carpet was filled with celebrities, including Larry and Shawn King, Jay Leno, Pierce Brosnan, Don Johnson, Gilles Marini, Ryan Seacrest, Chris “Ludacris” Bridges and Julia Louis-Dreyfus. Some were driven to and from the event by BMW, one of the night’s sponsors.


Continue reading “Bouchon Voilà!” »

Chefs Nobu Matsuhisa and Thomas Keller with Sophie Gayot

Chefs Nobu Matsuhisa and Thomas Keller with Sophie Gayot

By Sophie Gayot



Fresh off the plane from Paris, I had only a few minutes to change before heading to Spago Beverly Hills for the 10th Annual Chefs Grand Tasting Dinner, held last night. Benefiting Meals-on-Wheels Programs of Los Angeles, it is one of the most prestigious charity dinners in the country.


Wolfgang Puck, Lee Hefter & Barbara Lazaroff, along with chef de cuisine Thomas Boyce and executive pastry chef Sherry Yard, welcomed six very fine chefs into their kitchen to prepare an elegant six-course dinner.




Continue reading “An Exceptional Evening at Spago Beverly Hills” »



Latoya Jackson with Wolfgang Puck and Sophie Gayot
Latoya Jackson with Wolfgang Puck and Sophie Gayot

By Sophie Gayot

The closest I ever got to Michael Jackson was through his sister Latoya Jackson. I had met her at the opening party of Wolfgang Puck’s CUT restaurant in the Beverly Wilshire hotel in Los Angeles, back in May, 2006.


Then, later that year, I had the pleasure to dine with her at CUT while master chef Puck was there. We were only four at the table, so I was really able to appreciate her kindness. Like many of us, fascinated by her genius brother Michael, I was hoping to meet him one day.


Michael, you will forever live in our heart and ears. Thank you for all you brought to music and the world.


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