La Cienega: LA’s Restaurant Row

As a teenager growing up in Orange County, I knew how to get to two and only two places in L.A.: the Third Street Promenade and La Cienega Boulevard. On the rare occasions that my friends and I escaped the ‘burbs, these were the two places we journeyed to in order to — in our minds — blend in with urban cool. Third Street Promenade had packs of teenagers and quirky street performers, but La Cienega claimed the shopping mecca the Beverly Center, with its outpost of the Hard Rock Cafe. Years later, I now realize how tragically unhip we were to flock to these malls and pseudo-malls. And, of course, my palate has outgrown the likes of the Hard Rock Cafe. In those days, we drove right past what made La Cienega authentically cool — the venerable fine dining establishments of “Restaurant Row” — in our quest for burgers and fries and a taste of rock celebrity. Today, La Cienega beckons a new generation of hip seekers, with the arrival of new restaurants, bars, hotels, and design and fashion boutiques. Read about what’s opened within the past year on La Cienega in my little article for the Los Angeles Times.

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