Celebrities enjoy fine dining in Hollywood’s posh restaurants

Hollywood is sure to be the center of all entertainment and glamor, but you’ll also find some of the tastiest and most stylish dining experiences in the sprawling urban sprawl of Southern California known as the City of Angels. Celebrities who make millions per picture aren’t worried about spending a lot of money on the best foods, as evidenced by their visits to some of the best and most expensive dining spots in Southland. There are a handful of restaurants in Hollywood, Beverly Hills, and surrounding areas that are known for drawing famous faces on a daily basis. Most of these restaurants pride themselves on protecting the privacy of the stars; some even sit them in special sections.

Perhaps the best place to catch a glimpse of someone you’ve seen on the big screen is Spago’s Beverly Hills. The restaurant was originally known as Bistro Garden and was a favorite of former first lady Nancy Reagan. But in 1997, international celebrity chef and television personality Wolfgang Puck bought the place and gave it a name synonymous with his Hollywood restaurant. Puck’s Spago’s Beverly Hills is in the north. Canon Drive. Stars known for frequenting the restaurant include Tom Hanks, President Bill Clinton, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Billy Crystal, Elton John, Lou Diamond Phillips, Sandra Bullock, Robin Williams, and Sharon Stone.

The former president was at the restaurant a few months after its grand opening in November 1997. His presence was part of a Rock the Vote effort and was attended by a long list of other celebrities, including Kevin Spacey, Graham Nash and Michael Bolton. About a year later, in 1998, Sir Elton John moved his star-studded post-Oscar party to the restaurant, where celebrities in attendance paid $ 1,000 a plate for a benefit dinner that benefited AIDS research. The big names in attendance that night were Alec Baldwin, Kim Basinger, Jon Bon Jovi and Faye Dunaway. During normal business hours, the cost of dining at Spago’s Beverly Hills starts at about $ 70 for two.

The Ivy on Robertson Boulevard has long been one of Los Angeles’ premier celebrity hangouts. The restaurant has not only attracted the biggest names for decades, but also periodically serves as the setting for Hollywood; some of the most important film directors have shot scenes in the large courtyard of the restaurant. Just two examples are ‘The Bodyguard’ starring Kevin Costner and Whitney Houston and ‘Get Shorty’, which featured Danny DeVito and John Travolta.

The Ivy isn’t exactly known for its tasty meals, but more for the Hollywood glamor it draws. The place is a favorite hangout for stars and paparazzi looking to get photos of the latest blockbuster stars. In September 2003, stars Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez appeared on the Ivy shortly after announcing the postponement of their wedding. Insiders believed the two of them went there to put aside the gossip that had been spilled. Other stars seen there at the same time include Steve Martin, Jack Nicholson, Demi Moore, even Michael Jackson, and more celebrities.