Since 1919, Musso & Frank has welcomed Hollywood’s stars and literary figures for a mix of potent cocktails and traditional fare. Stepping into the interior of Hollywood Boulevard’s Musso & Frank Grill is a step back in time: the waiters and bartenders are formally dressed in short red jackets, the menu is printed daily (though it rarely changes) and the well-worn red leather booths have welcomed generations of Hollywood players from Charlie Chaplin to Steve McQueen to Johnny Depp. Sit at the bar for a classic American cocktail like the Manhattan served with sidecar pour. Most likely others at the bar will be from the film and TV business though famous faces are often spotted in the private booths or even at the bar. One of the city’s oldest restaurants, the décor never changes (thankfully) and the lighting is just right. Here long-lost traditions and a real sense of times gone by are the appeal.
For over 60 years, Casa Vega has blended cozy ambience with Mexican comfort food. Located on the famous Ventura Boulevard, Casa Vega is one of the longest continuously family-owned restaurants in Los Angeles and a welcome throwback. Rafael “Ray” Vega opened Casa Vega in 1956 after being inspired by the success of his parents’ earlier restaurant, Café Caliente, which operated throughout the 1930’s. Amid wrought-iron chandeliers and paintings of matadors on exposed brick walls, sink into a red leatherette booth and dine on baked burritos, lobster enchiladas and their famous guacamole washed down with potent margaritas.
The landmark Mexican spot first opened back in 1931 however moved to its current location in 1959. This (still family run) institution occupies a 375-seat space on Beverly Boulevard and still the go-to spot for Mexican-American grub in Mid-City West. Once dubbed “Movieland’s idea of a Mexican restaurant", expect kitschy decor, a fiesta-like atmosphere with petticoat-clad waitresses and numbered combo plates. Underneath the Christmas lights hanging from the ceiling, you’ll find all the comforting usual suspects - strong margaritas and a menu of cheese-ladden tacos, carnitas, fajitas and the enchiladas. For added notoriety this is where the victims of the Tate Murders ate their last meal on August 8, 1969. Accordingly, Tarantino shot this scene at the same exact booth the victims sat.