Greg’s Guide to LA

Black Tomato and MR PORTER.COM have called upon LA-based luxury cashmere designer, Greg Chait of the Elder Statesman – to provide us with a sneak peek into the life of someone who lives and breathes The City of Angels and consequently knows exactly where to unwind, explore, wine and dine. True to his artistic nature, Greg’s insights prove invaluable to any individual looking to ‘find their own rhythm’ in the way he did upon moving to this kaleidoscopic and enticing West Coast city.

Given the quality and creativity of Greg’s work, it should come as no surprise that his highlights are mostly unique, off the radar spots and thus provides some true local alternatives which here at Black Tomato we cannot wait to share with you. Here, the founder of The Elder Statesman and Black Tomato tell you where to eat, drink, party and unwind…

Grab a bite

Sushi Park, Sunset Blvd

When asked about Japanese cuisine in L.A, Sushi Park is the place to go. Described by many as the best sushi in LA, Sushi Park is not for the casual sushi diner. Ask if you can have a California Roll and you may be asked to leave.  Just sit back and let the chefs take you on a journey.

Pace, Laurel Canyon

Tucked into the mountainside of Laurel Canyon and oozing a relaxed, ‘leave your ego at the door’ vibe, Pace provides refreshing, organic dishes using solely local produce. Considered a great date spot by many, Pace is undoubtedly a place to dine whilst being healthy, SoCal style.  Also to note, it has one of the best patios in town.

Georgio Baldi, Santa Monica

“Georgio’s” has been a mainstay in LA cuisine since its inception roughly two decades ago.  Perhaps Greg’s favourite restaurant in the world, the Italian Food at this family-run establishment rivals anything the US has to offer.  Their commitment to “simplicity, authenticity, the love for tradition and full respect for our customers” keeps it a notch above the rest time and again.

The Apple Pan, West Los Angeles

The staff seems as if they have been there since close to the beginning, but don’t let that fool you as the food is brought out at a breakneck pace to the u-shaped dining counter.

Established in 1947, The Apple Pan has been slinging its always amazing Hickory Burgers, Steak Burgers, Tuna Fish Sandwiches, and of course Apple Pie Slices with a practised regularity.  Big groups are not recommended as it is a first come first serve type of place.

The waterholes

Lock and Key, Koreatown

Koreatown is undoubtedly an increasingly vibrant and fresh area of LA, and Lock and Key are fortunate to have made this suburb theirs. Very much a local’s hangout, this 1920s themed ‘Gatsby-esque’ hangout serves personalised cocktails and is a classy and mysterious spot – if not slightly eerie, with its unassuming entrance and lobby covered floor to ceiling in locks. Now to find the lock for our key…

Chez Jay, Santa Monica

A waterhole for all walks; effortlessly cool and only a block south of the famous Santa Monica pier, Chez Jay is a true L.A hangout. Since opening in 1959, the décor has barely changed. With amazing bar food, it’s no doubt the place to hang out with a cool beer on a hot Californian evening.

The night is still young

The Greek Theatre, North Vermont Avenue

The Greek Theatre has its finger on the pulse when it comes to music.

Nestled in the picturesque Griffin Park and playing host to The Who, The White Stripes and Jack Johnson to name but three, this venue is the place to come for live gigs. With its state-of-the-art acoustics, intimate concert setting and eclectic mix of reggae, rock, classical and pop performances, The Greek Theatre will undoubtedly provide a memorable experience for any music buff.

Now to unwind…

San Vicente Park

San Vicente Park climbs up behind Mulholland Drive and offers stunning panoramic views of Los Angeles, as well as opportunities to play basketball, hike and picnic, and find respite from the city. Take heed of local knowledge and head to the park later in the afternoon for a much cooler and quieter atmosphere.

Franklin Canyon

Franklin Canyon is the case supporting local’s beliefs that neighbourhoods in Los Angeles do not define people or places in the way visitors first assume.

L.A urbanites seek solace in this ultimate rural setting, despite it being so close to the buzz of the city and only five minutes from Beverly Hills Hotel. In a perfect geographical location and with a capacity to allow this permanently busy artisan with an ‘escape’: Franklin Canyon sounds ideal.

Little Dume, Malibu

A true local’s beach hangout –it’s one of the few coastal areas of Los Angeles yet to feel the force of tourism. It’s not surprising that tourists have yet to spot Dume Beach given its nearly impossible access, but if you can find a friend with a coveted “key”, the picturesque walking trails, amazing beaches, and memorable views are worth it.