Located in an upscale Beverly Hills section of Robertson Boulevard – an area that runs a close second to Rodeo Drive for its costly designer boutiques and celebrity traffic – sits The Ivy restaurant. The place is hard to miss given its mass of stark white table umbrellas and a white picket fence to separate the elevated terrace from the sidewalk. However, the restaurant itself is a little more difficult to see behind the umbrellas and a shroud of trees and plants, including what else but IVY.
Given the locale, the celebrity clientele, the ever-present paparazzi that keep watch for who they can photograph, and a never-ending stream of high-priced vehicles pulling up or pulling away from the curb, one might get the wrong impression of the restaurant and assume that it’s unapproachable for regular folk. One might also assume that the interior looks a particular way – private booths, dark wood with a lot of leather, and dimly lit perhaps? Or maybe the opposite – light and airy, and monochromatic with lots of class, glass, chrome and plants. After all, both descriptions seem to fit the bill when it comes to upscale dining. But whatever preconceived visual you might have, we’re almost certain that you’ll be surprised. Maybe even shocked.
The interior of The Ivy looks like a kitschy country cottage or perhaps even your grandmother’s house, with bold splashes of color everywhere you look, from the surplus of fresh flowers to the floral design of the Country French tableware to the bric-à-brac on the walls.
And, it’s crowded. The idea of private booths isn’t happening here, as the bistro-like tables are so close together that overhearing conversations and bumping elbows with the people seated adjacent is highly possible. Trying to escape from behind our corner table was almost a feat in itself, causing interruption to other patrons.
Nevertheless, it’s charming. Such a jovial atmosphere makes the dining experience fun and familiar. And if you’re there to star gaze, the close quarters allow you to get much closer. The experience is made even better by the friendly and attentive wait staff and, of course, the food.
Expensive? Yes! Most people these days wouldn’t dream of paying almost $8 for onion rings, or $30 for a hamburger or a plate of spaghetti. Prices increase from there, with steaks in the $45-$70 range and some seafood at $100+. But, it is Beverly Hills so it is to be expected. And, the fact is, it’s GOOD (we found the spaghetti and meatballs to be some of the best we’ve ever had, with a portion that was more than enough). The menu is varied enough to please most palettes and, all considered, where else are you going to get such an experience… except for perhaps Ivy at the Shore, located in Santa Monica.
The Ivy is a restaurant with a reputation that precedes it. If you live and/or work in Los Angeles, particularly if you are somehow involved in the industry, chances are high that you have dined there already multiple times. If you’re a tourist, put it on your list of things to see and do because it ranks right up there as an attraction. Maybe you’ll catch a glimpse of your favorite celebrity… or maybe you’ll just feel like one for the evening.