The Ivy surprised me. I had always thought of it as the only true rival to Spago in terms of impossibility to get a reservation and I thought them to be similar establishments, but they're not!
As I waited at my hotel for a car, the Valet made polite conversation and asked where we were heading. When I replied he put the heart across us when he said "The waiters are very snobbish there; but then the food is so excellent that they sort of have to be."
The Ivy isn't at all like that - the snobbishness I mean. The look is cottage garden, pefectly done, with climbing roses on the walls outside and a true cottage look inside. My Mother's ancestral home is called Ivy Cottage and the restaurant is a mirror image of it! I must take a pic and post it here sometime. It has featured many times in Country Homes and Gardens and similar publications - the restaurant, that is. One of my favourite touches were the big ornate vases of cottage garden flowers on each table - roses, sweet pea, and other country flowers brightened up every seating.
The waiters are attentive and friendly and without the slightest touch of the snobbery we were warned about. They wear pink shirts and ties scattered with rose pattern, and although it sounds a bit too much, it's not.
Were there celebrities? Of course there were. It's not as obvious as Spago, and people don't get quite so dressed up, but you'd know it was the right place to be dining.
Favorite Dish: The food also surprised me. It really is country food with a true homecooked taste.
Vegetable soup looks more like a vegetable stew, with flavoursome chunks of colourful veg.
I had a crab dish to start - it consisted of one translucent little crab fried shell and all to a perfect edible crunch. I don't think it would appear at every country dinner table, but served with a green garnish and home made tartare sauce it worked very well at completing the whole food image.
I ordered prime rib for my main course. Forgive my ignorance but I thought this would be beef ribs on the bone. I forget Americans have different names for things. I have never seen such a huge steak. It was chargrilled in cajun spices, and was just a bit too spick for me - this was my fault though, not theirs.
I finished with wonderful home made ice cream and really enjoyed the night.
I give this place four out of five. I'm sure they'll be surprised at that and I don't know why I take the one rating away. However I just can't give it a five. I'll think more on this and come back later.
Very nice little restaurant in the most expensive category.
This is the restaurant known by and because of the rich and famous who come and eat here.
It's very cosy, with a very nice little patio, right at the street (not that you notice, exept for the expensive cars and limo's that show up).
Choice on the menu is limited (as in every expensive restaurant), but the food is very good.
We took our time for dinner there (hey! we spent over 200 dollars there) and we did get the idea that they wanted us gone early: the starter came within ten minutes, and the main dish soon after we finished the starter.
Guess a three hour dinner is not wat people do at the Ivy...
Favorite Dish: I had the vegetable soup, which was delicious.
Main course was lasagna and that's one of those dishes that can't go wrong, so I really cnnot judge.
Desert was super: we shared a banana split, but it looked more like a fresh fruit cocktail with ice, banana and chocolate sauce with it.
Last visit, and I mean last, we brought guests from overseas (at their request), and the nasty hostess would not honor our reservation made 2 weeks earlier, and called us liars. The manager did intervene and said he would be happy to give us a table, if we could wait an hour or so ( til 10pm) but after being insulted (this is the standard and consistent treatment of non-superstar customers) we opted for a friendlier Beverly Hills eatery with better food and a nicer attitude towards patrons. BTW, food here is really ok, but overpriced and unimaginative. Is it worth it just to possibly see a celebrity chewing?
Favorite Dish: nothing outstanding to eat, you take LA visitors here to people watch.
They say anyone who is anyone goes to the ivy. My first impression was how small it looked, I must admit I did reserve a table to see any celebs but the mistake I made was going at night and about an hour before it closed.
Although the only celeb I did see was 'jason bateman' from arrested development leaving but I love that show anyway.
It was dark and everybody seemed to outtalk each other, I was in the back though so with the added darkness you could barely see anything.
Favorite Dish: The food portions was huge and not that great, it seems you pay for the name, the only decent thing I had was the 'key lime pie'.