West Hollywood, snuggled between Los Angeles proper and Beverly Hills, is an area that offers a veritable smorgasbord of evening entertainment and late-night dining. Home to popular nightspots such as the Improv, the Comedy Store, the Central, the Cornet Theatre and a number of Equity-waiver theaters, the West Hollywood area keeps late hours.
So, after your evening show or concert, there are quite a few different kinds of restaurants, bistros and bars from which to choose, for late meals, snacks or cocktails.
These range from the classy and expensive to the very informal and inexpensive. But they all have something to offer.
Canter's Fairfax Restaurant, Delicatessen, Bakery & Bar, 419 N. Fairfax Ave., (213) 651-2030. Open 24 hours every day. Parking lot next to building. Reservations are not necessary, but be prepared for a short wait--not an unpleasant experience, because Canter's is a great place to people-watch.
This highly popular restaurant serves good, old-fashioned homemade deli food: piping hot potato knishes, hand-cut lox and cream cheese on bagels, assorted sandwiches prepared with corned beef (pickled in-house), and rye bread baked on the premises. Full cocktail bar.
Chopstix Dim Sum Cafe and Takeout, 7229 Melrose Ave., (213) 624-7789. Open Friday and Saturday till 2 a.m.; weekdays until 1 a.m. Valet parking. Reservations not accepted.
This New Wave Thai-Chinese cafe is easy to spot--it's the Art Deco-style white building that looks for all the world as if it were about to take off for Mars. Inside, it's strictly chic. Specialties are Dragon Tail Dumplings, Crazy Coconut Noodle Toss and Szechwan firecrackers. Wines and beers.
Damiano's Mr. Pizza, 412 N. Fairfax Ave., (213) 658-7611. Open until 2 a.m. weekdays; Fridays and Saturdays till 4 a.m. Ample street parking late at night. No reservations accepted.
Damiano's isn't the biggest place in the world--you may find it crowded even very late at night--but they make just about any kind of pizza you'd care to try (and some you may not). Try their ham and pineapple, for instance. They also serve a variety of pastas, soups and sandwiches. Beer and wine.
Barney's Beanery, 8447 Santa Monica Blvd., (213) 654-2287. Open until 2 a.m. nightly. Parking in rear. Reservations not necessary.
A very popular late-night spot for many years, Barney's is famous for its chili, deli sandwiches and burgers. But mostly it's famous for its beers--hundreds of brands from all over the world. Truly a beer connoisseur's delight.
Catherine-A Champagne Bistro, 143 N. La Brea Ave., (213) 930-2230. Open weekdays until midnight; Fridays and Saturdays till 2 a.m. Valet parking. Reservations for dinner suggested, but not necessary for late-night snacking.
Although they stop serving entrees at midnight, Catherine's raw bar and appetizers are available until closing time. Recommended by the chef: Eggplant Pizzettes. This intimate restaurant features a piano bar and full cocktail bar.
Pane Caldo Bistrot, 8840 Beverly Blvd. (one block west of Robertson Boulevard), (213) 274-0916. Open till midnight. Valet parking, reservations recommended.
Pane Caldo (Italian: "Hot Bread") specializes in oven-fresh breads and fresh pastas that are available until midnight. Specialty of the house: Tagliatelli ai Fungi Porcini. But if you really must, you can get pizza. Beers and wines only, but a fine selection of Italian brands of both.
Mel 'n Rose's Coffee Shop, 7313 Melrose Ave., (213) 930-0256. Open 24 hours a day. Parking lot beside building. Reservations not necessary.
This strictly upbeat diner serves good ol' American diner fare: Homemade chili con carne, hot and cold sandwiches, flapjacks, burgers, soups and pies. Another fine place for people-watching, Mel 'n Rose's remains quite busy even in the wee hours, so be prepared to wait. No alcoholic beverages as yet, but they're working on it.