Pandemic Al Fresco Dining Done Well

Are there any photos of their outside area?

Looks a little different now. Less tables - more heaters.

My Favorite Genre…

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I hope so (and, more to the point, I hope the relevant regulations continue to allow it). Year round al fresco dining is one of the great things about LA as it is, and this city can always use a more visible street scene.

After work, I headed to Eataly intending to pick up a piece of Roman pizza to go, but the pizza counter had already closed. The counters seem to be closing earlier and everything inside seems to be rejiggered.

I wasn’t intending to dine in, but as I headed out the door, I saw that they had opened an outdoor eating space right in front of Macy’s. It might not have been the most scenic, but they had heat lamps, the tables were really well-spaced and there weren’t very many other people, so I threw caution to the winds and sat down.

Ordered a Margherita pizza and a glass of sparkling Ferrari Brut Trento. The pizza was better than I remembered, or maybe it was the thrill of being served and not doing delivery or takeout. I had never previously had the Ferrari Brut Trento and it was delicious – kind of reminded me of a white Lambrusco because it had a bitter kick like Lambrusco – and went really well with the pizza.

P.S. I think they are serving both on the actual patio inside the store and in the space outside Macy’s. I’m sure the actual patio would have been more scenic, but I liked the outside Macy’s space as an impromptu place to plomp down by myself.

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We were planning to go to Cassia with friends, but the menu was so short that it wasn’t appealing.

Not so much about al fresco done well, but more about al fresco disappearing. I’m just getting comfortable going out to restaurants, but our pre-pandemic usual spots have quickly dismantled their temporary patios. South Beverly Grill hostess looked at me like I was nuts when I asked for a seat outside. And Din Tai Fung at Century City got rid of all their tables. Looks like Hai Di Lao did, too, and I was looking forward to trying that.

Guess I’ll have to wait a bit longer…

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It is a shame. Eating outside has been so great. I get their interest in tearing it down though - it must be a real hassle to continuously maintain and protect the spaces/equipment, and a tremendous burden on the waitstaff to cover so much greater distances from the kitchens.

They’re not tearing down so much as not rebuilding it day after day. Most of the outdoor dining areas have to be dismantled at the end of each night, and put back out the next day. I think they’re exhausted.

If you want the South Beverly Grill menu, and want to sit outside, go to R+D Kitchen on Montana Avenue where they’ve built a really nice patio out back.

My favorite outdoor dining remains Golden Bull in Santa Monica Canyon and Ivy at the Shore.

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Always forget about the Golden Bull, good call, they have a nice outdoor space

Alas, this one should be filed under Pandemic Al Fresco Dining Done Bad aka Breakfast at the Peninsula. Running an morning errand on foot in Beverly Hills and hadn’t had time to eat breakfast prior. Since I don’t plan on vacationing anywhere until say 2023, the thought popped in my head that wouldn’t it be nice to go to a hotel and have a beautiful breakfast outdoors and pretend I’m on vacation?

It was not to be. First, I headed to the Beverly Wilshire, which I assumed would be open for outdoor dining on Wilshire since I believe pre-pandemic, they had tables outdoors right on Wilshire. It was closed with a sign that they were applying for an outdoor dining permit.

Next debated between Jean-Georges at the Waldorf and the Peninsula. Chose the Peninsula, which I assumed must have a beautiful outdoor situation going (because it’s the Peninsula after all). I was wrong.

Up a small elevator to the fifth floor and then out the door to this small, unattractive gloomy space that felt claustrophobic because of the low hanging umbrellas that mostly blocked the sky.

I suspect the kitchen is not anywhere near the dining area because after a long wait I was brought a rubbery omelet that was starting to get cold.

The placard on the table that said you were supposed to keep your mask on until your food was brought and when you were done eating was ignored by every single diner except me.


It just seemed stupid to have those on the table when everyone was ignoring it, but presumably it is part of what I call “Covid theatre” – just like the high-tech iPad-like thing I had to stick my head in front of when I entered the hotel so it could take my temperature and flash that my temperature was normal.

Wished I had headed to Jean Georges. Haven’t really heard anything good about Jean Georges, but it had to be a better breakfast experience than the Peninsula. Edited - I just checked the website for Jean Georges and they no longer serve breakfast at the restaurant. Apparently, the only breakfast option at the Waldorf is now “Waldorf Cafe by La Colombe” with pre-packaged sandwiches – aka a glorified Starbucks. So much for the idea of a Beverly Hills staycation.

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Weird. Didn’t the Peninsula have a really cool cabana-style dining area around the pool pre-pandemic?

I have a dim memory from many years ago that the Peninsula had a nice outdoor breakfast setting. But haven’t been in years. This was just depressing.

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Hygiene Theatre is the more appropriate term.

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