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There’s a huge misconception about dining in Hollywood that glares bright like an Oscars statuette. While the Walk of Fame may be littered with national chains and subpar fast food options, the area now boasts an abundance of restaurants, cafes, bakeries, and bars that offer trendy, fresh, and innovative cuisine rivaling any Los Angeles hot spot.

To celebrate these businesses in honor of Oscars week, I took a trip to Hollywood for the latest iteration of our Take 5 dining series. But rather than relying on five different local celebrities and influencers to pick five different restaurants in five different categories, I went straight to L.A.’s most trusted food Instagram experts, Ben Waters (@lafoodie) and Corey Marshall (@missfoodieproblems), for their top Hollywood picks. Be sure to watch the Take 5 vlog above and check out all of the places below. After a few bites and sips, you’re guaranteed to see stars..and we’re not just talking about Leonardo DiCaprio.

Sweet Indulgence: The Pie Hole

My mantra “fries before guys” has officially been replaced with “pies before guys” after indulging at this Hollywood Boulevard bakery. In fact, it’s going to take weeks to burn off the calories from their diverse array of pies and pie holes (think doughnut hole’s delicious BFF) in flavors like Cereal Killer, traditional Mom’s Apple Crumble, and Mac ‘n’ Cheese (yes, the savory pot pie options are equally as divine). There is truly a slice for everyone and it will absolutely be your temptation to sample them all. So, by all means, never shut your pie hole when dining at The Pie Hole, or you may miss out on your new favorite dessert.

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Hidden Gem: Oi Asian Fusion

Oi Asian Fusion truly puts the “hidden” in “hidden gem” as part of an unassuming strip mall anchored by a Rite Aid. It also puts the “gem” in “hidden gem” by offering some of the best Asian food I’ve ever experienced in Los Angeles. Rooted in Filipino cuisine, each dish is made-to-order with other Asian influences in both preparation and ingredients. Highlights include the Fried Chicken Adobo Bowl, Pork Belly Jicama Tacos, and Dynamite Sweet Potato fries, which are topped with garlic confit, spicy mayonnaise, and fresh cilantro. Needless to say, it’s probably a good thing that there isn’t a NYC location (yet), considering it’s something I would eat daily and with all too great of ease.

Healthy Recharge: Kali

If you’re searching for what is, perhaps, the best uni pasta dish you’ll ever have in your life, look no further than Kali. Aside from this quick carb binge, the bright and airy restaurant (with a live moss wall!) offers a diverse selection of fresh, healthy, and light options presented among colorful and vibrant herbs, vegetables, and edible flowers. This is the place to impress a guest, especially if they come with dietary restrictions, and is a perfect escape from the over-the-top, caloric cuisine you’ll find closer to the area’s major hotels. Endless Summer vibes all around.

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City Classic: The Frolic Room

This nearly-a-century-old, no-frills dive bar houses more Hollywood history than every establishment on the Boulevard. In fact, it probably holds more secrets than most places in California. Once frequented by the stars post-Oscars (it connects directly to the Pantages Theatre, which held the award ceremony for  decade), the speakeasy-turned-Judy Garland favorite was a true celebrity hot spot. After quizzing the bartender (Tarek, if you’re lucky!) on the Frolic Room’s past, don’t leave without ordering a bloody mary (or three). They’re some of the best (and spiciest!) you’re going to find.

Most Instagrammable: Sqirl

Much like my diet in 2019, I cheated a bit by adding this one to the list. The location is *technically* in East Hollywood and not Hollywood proper, but the cheat is so worth it. Perhaps most famous for its sky-high brioche toasts topped with homemade ricotta and jams (which puts any basic slice of white bread to shame), the bustling business is also known for its hearty salads and puffed rice bowls—all suitable for trendy sidewalk dining. Sqirl is the place where anyone would like to horde their food before hibernating for winter.

Header image courtesy of Shutterstock.

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