Even if Beverly Hills isn’t part of your Los Angeles agenda when next heading to central California, a must visit is the Polo Lounge for brunch, located in the infamous Beverly Hills Hotel. This place has so much history and culture that you could spend an entire day taking it all in, whether or not you stay at the hotel or not.
As we drove into The Beverly Hills Hotel’s driveway, I felt a wave of melancholy I hadn’t felt in years. Although I had passed this hotel on numerous occasions while in Los Angeles on business over the years, or heading elsewhere, I hadn’t dined at the Polo Lounge since I was a child, visiting my grandparent’s friends in the 1970’s. It had been that long — yes, really!
After we parked and walked around for a bit, I went far back in time and in so many ways, it was as if this iconic hotel hadn’t changed at all. And so, I was able to be a child again for one long afternoon earlier this month, and time had stood still.
That epic red carpet was still there as was the sign where you could take photos and pretend for a moment, you were part of some Hollywood and Beverly Hills celebrity kingdom.
I love this part of the experience, for whether I had precious childhood memories of this place (or not), the traditional aspect of all things Beverly Hills, comes together under the Beverly Hill’s roof.
It is my friends, one of the things that makes the hotel and the ever so epic Polo Lounge so magical and a must visit if you’ve never experienced it.
We still have never stayed at the hotel, so one of these days, I’d love lie my head down on one of its hotel room pillows, but in the meantime, join me for an eclectic yet elegant walk down the Hollywood Lane of old at the Beverly Hills Hotel’s Polo Lounge.
The outdoor veranda is not just romantic and chic but it’s one of the best spots for people watching if you want to catch a glimpse of some oldies but goodies.
While there are certainly more modern hot spots for millennial celeb spotting in Beverly Hills, the Polo Lounge is one of those gems where you may just run into some of the earlier classics of our time, from actors and musicians to sports figures and everyone in between.
We ran into NFL pro Ben Scotti, who is about as Italian as you can get. At 80, he still has wit, humor and a warm smile and the large build that he still holds today, reminds you why he was such a strong American football defensive back in the day. He enjoyed reading us some of his favorite inspirational quotes while we sipped on our Chardonnay, waiting for a cheese plate to arrive from the kitchen.
Charm, culture and history isn’t the only thing that sets the Beverly Hills Polo Lounge apart from the umpteen other places you could choose to dine at in Beverly Hills.
Polo Lounge Plates & Drinks
Okay, okay — so, it’s iconic, historical and epic. It’s full of so many stories, your head will be full for months after leaving. But, what about the food you may be wondering?
Let’s start with the wine menu, so wine snobs know they’ll be covered the moment they walk in the door.
I ordered a lovely Summerland Chardonnay from Santa Barbara the first time around and a Chateau Montelena Chardonnay from Napa Valley for my second class, both of which pair well with salads and the seafood appetizers on the menu. They have luscious wines by the glass as well as champagne, sparking wine, Rose from Provence and plenty of red wine options if you’re more of a red meat lover.
They also have delicious Port-style wine options by the glass, Grappa, Sherry and sweet wines, the latter making a lovely accompaniment if you start or end with their Artisan Cheese Plate.
From Soup & Salads to Oysters, Burgers & Salmon
We love the range of options on this simple but fun menu, from classic Tortilla Soup (so California) and a homemade Hummus Plate to the Ahi Tuna Tartare that I wished I had ordered. They serve it with a Avocado Puree, Asian Pear, Pine Nuts and a Pimento Vinaigrette. Perfect, right?
If you want to splurge, they also offer a one ounce sampling of Russian Osetra Caviar, which they serve with Potato Blinis, Red Onions, eggs, parsley, lemon and deliciouso Creme Fraiche. Can you say yes please?
Because they’re known for their brunches, it should be no surprise that they have five salads on the menu and you can opt for additions from the grill, including chicken, Atlantic salmon, Skirt Steak, rare Ahi Tuna, marinated shrimp and a New York steak.
We started with a half a dozen oysters, because why not? They were fresh, available and served with Ketel One Vodka Migonette and Horseradish (another addition that brought me back to yesteryear – my grandfather loved both on his oysters) as well as cocktail sauce and lemon of course.
They also had a Lobster Nicoise, which I had to try. This decadent but scrumptious salad was a perfect choice for our early October afternoon in the Polo Lounge garden.
They serve this Nicoise with poached potatoes, organic eggs, French green beans, olives and shaved radishes over a bed of baby lettuces and tossed in a lemon whole grain mustard vinaigrette.
Anthony went for the perfectly balanced salad with steak (and extra olives of course). He is Italian after all. This was a great choice with a Pinot given the time of day and warm sunshine hitting our faces on that glorious day.
If salads nor oysters are your thing, they have plenty of other options, such as a Burger with delicious Applewood Smoked Bacon, a Wagyu Burger (my favorite), Grilled Chicken, Steak Frites cooked with Parmesan Herbs or a Scottish Salmon with smoked eggplant, cherry tomatoes, fennel and yoghurt.
We love this venue. Hats off to executive chef Kaleo Adams, the chef de cuisine Jeromy Sung and sous chef Joshua Gray. We’ll be back!
The Polo Lounge @ Beverly Hills Hotel
9641 Sunset Boulevard
Beverly Hills, CA 90210
Its website has a ton of information on its past with photos.
Note: we were hosted by the Polo Lounge Beverly Hills restaurant but all opinions expressed are entirely my own.