Networking is the name of the game in Los Angeles. Screenwriters need producers, actors need directors, models need photographers and executives need each other. Meanwhile, at least part of the rest of the city is populated by CEOs, financial types, and the independently wealthy. Whether you need them or you are one of them, here's a map of where to find LA's whales. Know of a whale den we've missed? Do tell.Read More
Big Money, Big Money: Where to Find Whales in LA
1. Mastro's Steakhouse
Not only does Mastro's serve one of LA's best Porterhouse steaks (48 oz, $87.95), they're also known for their towers of seafood, 23 different family-style side dishes and a butter cake big enough for the whole table. Famous whales who regularly make an appearance include Brad Pitt, David Beckham and Eddie Murphy.
2. Soho House
This international members-only club attracts a lot of whales, especially at the West Hollywood location, where the bar program is top notch.
3. Il Ristorante di Giorgio Baldi
Giorgio Baldi was something of a whale himself. Legend has it that the chef used to sprinkle a certain kind of expensive white powder over pasta dishes for VIPs. Famous whales like Steven Spielberg, Matt Damon and Rihanna regularly occupy tables.
4. The Grill On The Alley
These are the hardest booths to get in the city during weekday lunch... unless you're a whale at CAA. The steaks are good, but they're better known for their John Dory.
It's hard to imagine a more whale-y place in Beverly Hills. Spago has been attracting Hollywood talent and tastemakers since the beginning. Whales from all industries gather here to discuss business amongst pretty faces.
Everything about Cut screams power broker, from the location inside the Beverly Wilshire to the Eames Management chairs. An odd blend of Beverly Hills-based agents and reality stars fill the room and regularly order LA's most expensive steak: 8 oz of Japanese Wagyu goes for $200.
7. Madeo Restaurant
While this rates among some of LA's best Italian, the Little Italy-like decor is a throwback to when Madeo served LA's most dangerous mobsters.
8. The Bazaar by José Andrés
Los Angeles, CA 90048
The Bazaar by José Andrés isn't open for lunch, and so it attracts an entirely different breed of whale. This one has overseas accounts in Dubai and enjoys food and drink covered in gold leaf. These are adventurous and perhaps younger whales, but with a lot of potential.
Craft was built right outside of CAA, and so it's no surprise that whales from the LA headquarters basically live there. Talent is frequently spotted on premises as well, including Jay-Z, Madonna, and Tom Cruise.
10. Napa Valley Grille
John Travolta has his own table here, tucked away in the back, overlooking the entire place. It's a classy-casual hideaway in Westwood that attracts whales from UCLA and the Bel Air hills just beyond it.
11. Osteria Mozza
Mario Batali and Nancy Silverton attract whales like moths to a flame. At this pasta and mozzarella emporium, they drop thousands on rare Italian wines and white Italian truffles.
12. Dan Tana's
This almost 50 year old institution attracts both old and new Hollywood, and all of the whales among them. Meanwhile, the continental cuisine is keeping up with the times in its own way.
Los Angeles, CA 90049
Chef Suzanne Goin knows how to serve whales. Last year, she hosted President Obama for a massive fundraiser, and she's friendly with all of the famous faces that grace the elegant dining room at Tavern.
14. Château Marmont
West Hollywood, CA 90046
Out of town whales sometimes stay here, as do powerful screenwriters, young troubled actresses and those looking to meet Daddy Warbucks.
15. Barney's Greengrass
The light-filled dining room at the top of Barney's on Wilshire is a haven for famous faces because the security in the building is top notch (no paps here). This one of best places to lunch on caviar toast while listening in on a priceless conversation between regulars like Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Beverly Hills, CA 90212
There's no membership fee to get in, per se, but being a whale helps. Whales are escorted up the stairs and to a private table; a key is needed to enter the bar. This is a scotch drinker's wet dream. The all-Macallan menu is etched into oak and the ice cubes are monogrammed. There's a simple-sounding two drink minimum, though the least expensive drink is a dram of Macallan for $25.
Tucked away in a strip mall just off Santa Monica Blvd, near the 405, is Hamasaku and its ridiculously extensive sushi roll menu. Also ridiculous is the level of executive frequently spotted: Tony Bates, CEO of Skype and power lawyer Eric George are regulars ... and now have namesake menu items.
18. The Polo Lounge
Beverly Hills, CA 90210
LA whales have been congregating here since the Polo Lounge opened, in 1941. Mobsters, movie stars and their managers still make small talk at one of the spacious tables by the pool.
19. Nobu Malibu
Malibu, CA 92065
Robert De Niro co-owns this Nobu location, LA's second, right on the majestic Malibu coast. The views are one reason Nobu packs in the whales. Chef Nobu Matsuhisa's classic fusion sushi creations are the other.
Beverly Hills, CA 90211
This is Chef Nobu Matsuhisa's signature spot, and a quieter scene than his Nobu locations, but still very much whale central owing to the incredible sashimi creations.
21. Genghis Cohen
Though Allan Rinde’s vaguely Chinese restaurant is nearly 30 years old, it has inspired an infamous Seinfeld episode, discovered countless musical acts, and continues to attract money blowing whales.
22. Mr. Chow
This London import is far more well-known for its whale-filled dining rooms than its food. Millionaires with last names like Kardashian, Barrymore and Nicholson have standing reservations.
23. Kate Mantilini
Beverly Hills, CA 90210
Kate's has been a Hollywood hot spot since the hey-hey '90s. For a long time, it was only for blacklisted contractors, but the scene has softened since the recession.