The king of California cuisine opened his latest outpost, Wolfgang Puck at Hotel Bel-Air, in Los Angeles’ legendary luxury enclave. While it’s the type of restaurant that sees well-to-do locals, Hollywood A-listers and in-the-know visitors, the eatery lives up to the hype with elegant charm and well-executed food. Here are five things to know before you go:
1. The Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star restaurant is the centerpiece of the iconic Hotel Bel-Air: After a two-year renovation the hotel and restaurant reopened in the fall of 2011 with contemporary-chic upgrades and its inimitable old Hollywood charm.
2. It’s mostly an outdoor restaurant: Taking full advantage of the California weather and gorgeous garden setting, 84 of the restaurant’s 118 seats are located outside on the large terrace (flaming heat lamps are used during the occasional brisk Los Angeles evening).
3. It’s got the best booths in L.A.: Tucked into alcoves lit with a host of twinkling candles, these big booths come with views of the entire restaurant for excellent people watching. Privacy curtains can be pulled for a secluded, romantic meal.
4. It has an approachable wine list: The extensive wine menu offers plenty of rare finds, as well as fabulous varietals at just $40 a bottle. The floor-to-ceiling glass wine cellar also stows a few old gems from the previous restaurant’s original inventory — a 1959 Margaux, a 1959 Haut Brion, and Petrus.
5. It serves fresh, local cuisine: The food at Wolfgang Puck at Hotel Bel-Air embraces the healthy California lifestyle, showcasing all-natural meat and poultry, sustainable seafood and produce sourced from local farmers, fisherman and foragers.