Spotlight on the Los Angeles Food Scene

Los Angeles is one of the great food destinations in the United States. Savor the flavors of this multi-cultural metropolis in Starwood hotels around the city.
Los Angeles Food Scene
Los Angeles is a food lover’s paradise, bursting with the flavors of too many cultures to count. The influence of Korean, Mexican and Thai communities and year-round access to Eden-worthy produce make the City of Angels a culinary mecca. Luckily for visitors who make the pilgrimage, hotel restaurants are serving up some of the most succulent food around.

“If you look at the LA food scene, it's like a huge melting pot reflecting the cultures that make up the city, especially in downtown Los Angeles,” says Hansen Lee, Executive Chef at DISTRICT in the Sheraton Los Angeles Downtown Hotel. “Even with the variety, the common thread among the menus you will see in this city is one that is based on lifestyle, health consciousness and farm-to-table.”

Sheraton Los Angeles Downtown Hotel: The District on the Bloc Bar Seating
Sheraton Los Angeles Downtown Hotel: The District on the Bloc Bar Seating

Today LA chefs are using local produce with seasonal ingredients to create delicious plates. “California is a bountiful state, and at the restaurant we are so fortunate to have access to its amazing produce, farms and farmers,” says Chef Holly Jivin from Bazaar at SLS Beverly Hills. “We try to use as much local produce as possible to not only support our local farmers, but also to share delicious and seasonal dishes with our customers.”

SLS Beverly Hills: The Bazaar by Jose Andres - Bar Centro/Moss
SLS Beverly Hills: The Bazaar by José Andrés - Bar Centro/Moss

What does this mean for diners? Take the chicken wing appetizer at the Sheraton Fairplex Hotel. “The sauce is made from different citrus on our farm, dried peels, dried chilis from the farm, cilantro from the farm and lemon grass from the farm,” Chef Vincent Cavalli says. “I think it’s fair to say this dish combines LA history with current LA trends of bringing fresh, sustainable produce to the table with a clear southeast Asian spin. It is a simple dish, however I think it really speaks to what LA is.”

Sheraton Fairplex Hotel: Farm Social Event
Sheraton Fairplex Hotel: Farm Social Event

A shift in perspective also comes from the influences of the wide variety of ethnic food available in southern California. “With exposure to so many cultures, it’s very likely that you’ll see influences of Korean, Japanese, South American and even Indian foods our menus and events,” says Chef Cavalli. “With the great produce available year round and the multiple cultures, you may see items such as hoya santa-kogi rubbed leg of lamb, vandouvan braised winter squash, or even a farm greens kimchi made from the outer leaves of different vegetables on the farm in the winter.” 

This multicultural approach, the chef says, is what makes LA food so special. “There is no argument that Los Angeles is home to some of the best chefs around, and I think the hidden jewel is the multiple cultures and their small but inspiring restaurants.”

STK Los Angeles: W Los Angeles - West Beverly Hills
STK Los Angeles: W Los Angeles - West Beverly Hills

There’s blending beyond cultural fusion, too. As the LA food scenes drifts away from 90s-era trends like futuristic molecular gastronomy, chefs are finding imaginative ways to mix tried-and-true comfort food classics with more modern flavors. “We’re seeing a lot of fusions between old-time classics and spices in the LA restaurant scene,” says Chef Robert Liberato of STK Los Angeles at W Los Angeles - West Beverly Hills. “STK LA's Jalapeno Cheddar Grits exemplifies this by using the mild heat and flavor of jalapenos to elevate the grits for a savory, spicy and simply delicious combo. While the grits maintain their creamy texture, the kick from jalapenos keeps things interesting. Whether you serve this dish as a side or for brunch, it's sure change your perspective on old classics.”

While excellent training and an innovative mind can take a menu far, there’s no substitute for access to the freshest, best ingredients when it comes to making an unforgettable dish. “LA Prime is very unique in the fact that we offer cuisine local and indigenous to our region,” says Andreas Nieto, Director of Food and Beverage at the Westin Bonaventure Hotel & Suites, Los Angeles. “Working directly with local cheese makers, produce farms and utilizing the highest-grade prime Brandt beef – the only all natural beef in the United States raised right here in central California – sets us apart from our competitors.”

LA Prime: Westin Bonaventure Hotel & Suites, Los Angeles
LA Prime: Westin Bonaventure Hotel & Suites, Los Angeles

Los Angeles’s culinary renaissance comes at a time when foodie culture has spread across the country like warm, artisanal compound butter. But LA is doing food in its own unique way, with flavors that celebrate the city’s cultural diversity and the region’s fantastic produce.

"Chefs are focused on the bounty that California has to offer and working towards sustainability and the future," says Chef Jivin from SLS Beverly Hills. "Chefs are putting their hearts on the plate and not just serving what our diners have become comfortable with, but pushing the boundaries.”

More information on the restaurants mentioned above from the eateries themselves:

Sheraton LA Downtown: District on the Bloc
Experience District on the Bloc, one of downtown LA's most anticipated new restaurants. Let your senses be dazzled by Chef Hansen Lee's modern, approachable menu inspired by the extraordinary sustainably-grown ingredients purveyed by local farmers. Each dish pairs perfectly with the bar's enticing hand-crafted cocktails. At DISTRICT not only do we make use of the extraordinary foods grown sustainably by our local farmers, we also seek out unparalleled ideas from food purveyors around the world. For us, farm to table means products that are created on a small scale by farmer-artisans who are strangers to compromise, and have, through passion and invention, further dimensionalized the culinary arts. 
Westin Bonaventure: LA Prime
Located on the 35th floor of the Westin Bonaventure Hotel and Suites, our award-winning restaurant invites you to experience a culinary adventure in a relaxed atmosphere of refined service. LA Prime, known for its innovative and edgy cuisine, offers prime beef steaks, both wet and dry aged, beautiful lamb and veal chops, fresh fish and shellfish enhanced with local produce and an award-winning wine cellar. Executive Chef Andreas Nieto has created a masterful menu utilizing only fresh ingredients in combination with an artist's eye to please your palate. As you dine a million lights will stretch out at your feet or wink at you from the sky as you sit back, relax and enjoy all that downtown Los Angeles has to offer.
W LA West Beverly Hills: STK
STK LA is not your daddy’s steakhouse. Don’t expect to find antiques on the walls or a stuffy atmosphere. We’re a modern, chic steakhouse for anyone who finds the traditional American steakhouse a tad on the boring side. We want you to mingle and have fun. Say hello to your table neighbors. Buy that handsome gent or that modelesque beauty you’ve been eyeing a drink at the bar. Dance to the DJ and then hydrate with a cocktail or two. At STK, you’ll get more than a great culinary experience…you’ll get the perfect night out.
SLS Hotel, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Beverly Hills: The Bazaar by José Andrés
Everything about The Bazaar by José Andrés brings people together, from the intimate 20-seat chef’s tasting room, SAAM, to the unique “shop without walls,” Regalo, that weaves throughout the theatrical Philippe Starck-designed space. Find a seat near the show kitchen and watch as our culinary team illustrates why The Bazaar was a 2009 James Beard Awards finalist for “Best New Restaurant” and “Outstanding Restaurant Design”. A long menu of tapas, including mussels en escabeche, a selection of Spanish Jamón and chilled Gazpacho invite guests to share tempting small plates with a traditional feel. Modern tapas are also on the menu, such as caviar cones, tuna ceviche wrapped in avocado and crabmeat steamed buns. Not-to-be-missed desserts include traditional flan with vanilla and oranges, cannelés, a selection of chocolate bon bons and tablets, mousse cakes and sorbets. Indoor and outdoor terrace dining options invite guests to luxuriate in the eternal L.A. sunshine while sampling menu highlights.
Sheraton Fairplex Hotel & Conference Center: Farm-To-Table Dinners
Enjoy al fresco dining on the Fairplex farm grounds, and treat yourself to a true farm-to-table culinary experience that is sure to excite your palate. Once a month, Executive Chef Vincent Cavalli will indulge you by creating a five-course dinner using local, sustainable ingredients hand-picked from the hotel's own five-acre organic farm. Each course is specially crafted to highlight the farm's seasonal, flourishing produce and is paired with award-winning California wines or local craft beer. Enjoy the natural surroundings as the Sheraton Fairplex culinary team prepare your dinner and brings the table to the farm.

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