Not too long ago, we enjoyed a night at the comfortable Ramada Plaza West Hollywood Hotel & Suites (read our review here), situated in the heart of West Hollywood – which puts you smack dab in the middle of all the action that Los Angeles has to offer. Traffic pending, it’s not far from the beaches of Santa Monica, nor from the action Downtown, and it’s about a 45 minute drive from LAX – though you don’t have to walk far from the hotel to enjoy a wealth of amazing food, entertainment and nightlife for locals and tourists alike.
For the burger lover, the first Shake Shack to make its way to Hollywood can be found right across the street from the Ramada. Now those in the know will realise that “Shake Shack” was the East Coast response to In-N-Out Burger, which Californians hold very dear to their heart. So it didn’t launch without some controversy. So while in LA, try them both, and see which one you prefer! For this writer, the In-N-Out takes the cake – due to the fact it’s almost a 1/3 of a price and, when purchased “Animal Style”, is sheer perfection. But I’ll let you be the judge of that. In either case, they’re both damn fine burgers.
At the hotel itself, you’ll find the Kitchen 24, which as the name suggests, is open 24 hours. They’re a classic American diner, and offer a smorgasbord of choices for you, be it Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner or 3am snack. And their food is phenomenal.
They serve plenty of great cocktails too; their margarita goes down a treat. But it seems to be their breakfast menu that gets most people talking. From the breakfast burrito to a tofu scramble, steak and eggs and a french toast platter, they really do have it all. But it was the “Home Skillet” that I was told I must try. And it did not disappoint. Hash browns topped with two eggs – any style, and your choice of bacon or sausage, with toast – all served in a hot Skillet. Breakfast’s don’t come much better than this. And I particularly recommend it to soak up a hangover. We’ll get to what may have caused said hangover in a moment…
If you are Aussie, chances are you won’t be sold on “Diner Coffee” in America. So, head down the road to Paramount Coffee Project, run by a couple of Aussies (the same ones who own the cafe of the same name in Sydney). Yep, THIS is the place for Australians to get their caffeine fix. You’ll find it on Fairfax, between Melrose and Beverly. It’d take you about a half an hour walk, or a 7 minute drive, to get between the hotel and the coffee shop.
Want some more Aussie-meets-Los Angeles flavours? Aussie legends Louis Tikaram (Longrain) Grant Smilie (Ponyfish Island) and David Combes run E.P. & L.P. (pictured in header image), near the corner of Melrose and La Cienega, a few minutes south of the Ramada. The place is a great spot for rooftop drinks, with a menu that infuses Californian Produce with Southeast Asian fare. They also run the “Melrose Rooftop Cinema”. The Projects of Imagination designed the establishment, who have brought us Melbourne spots like Supernormal, Yo-Chi and Chin Chin. If the name sounds familiar, those in Melbourne may remember that E.P. & L.P. did a pop up at Supernormal Canteen last year. It’s open weekdays from 5pm to 2am, and weekends Midday to 2am.
Another popular drinking spot for the locals is the V Wine Room – a cosy establishment which specialises in – you guessed it – spectacular wine! It’s located just around the corner from the hotel on Westbourne Dr. You can order food there with your drinks, or bring in a tasty treat of your own. Well, maybe we weren’t supposed to, but we did it anyway. The take away treat in this instance was a Lobster Roll from Cousins Maine Lobster, and it was delicious. Serving a variety of lobster based treats, this establishment started as a Food Truck, which then went on to win on the TV series Shark Tank, and now they have their first brick and mortar establishment right by the Ramada. Check it out. And then enjoy with some wine.
And that’s not the only place to enjoy a drink nearby. Walk to the corner of Santa Monica and La Cienega and you’ll come to Hollywood’s classic Barney’s Beanery – the original Hollywood location no less, which opened back in 1927. It certainly has that old Hollywood charm, but really it’s just a place you can enjoy a beer, a meal and play a game of pool while you loosely watch a sports game and catch up with your friends. A great place to end a night.
And once you end the night and need to get home? Well, check out the WeHo Pick Up – a late night, totally free shuttle service that runs around West Hollywood up and down Santa Monica Blvd, from Le Brea to Melrose. It runs from 8pm to 3am on Fridays and Saturdays, and 2pm to 10pm on Sundays, making no less than 31 stops along the way. With the amount of entertainment in the area, you could use it to help you make a bit of a pub crawl from the night happen, too…
While in West Hollywood, we stay at the Ramada Plaza West Hollywood Hotel & Suites, right by the corner of Santa Monica Blvd and La Cienega Blvd. For bookings and reservations, head here.
Hotel Ramada West Hollywood provided our writer with a complimentary night at the hotel. Photo of the interior of the diner provided by the hotel, headline photo from E.P. & L.P.; all others provided by the author.