I took my two assistants to lunch last week at Mariposa on the lower level of Neiman Marcus. Neiman Marcus still maintains three separate eating areas in the Beverly Hills store, all of which are popular.
Mariposa is the most formal, expensive, and the one that most recalls the "tea rooms" of other Grande Dame stores. I suggest reservations because during the week, and especially on Fridays, they are fully booked.
Interesting mix of older solo diners, like small bejeweled birds, mother-daughter pairs, and business lunches. Room upholstered in neutral colors, good modern art, parking is free with validation.
The room has the feel of a "ladies lunch place" but the food is pretty modern tasting. After you receive your menus and order, the waiter brings you a dainty cup of excellent chicken consommé. Excellent, clean flavor and alas, better than mine. This is an old-fashioned dish to be sure but it immediately makes you feel both more relaxed and energized.
In the next few minutes, the waiter brings you piping hot, freshly-made popovers. Big eggy puffs of deliciousness served with good butter and strawberry preserves. At this point, I am so happy and relaxed I don't care what I order.
The menu is a mix of old fashioned, well-prepared tea room items with some Asian fusion. I had the lobster club salad $24 with included the meat from a whole 1 1/4 pd. lobster, bacon, feta, mixed greens, avocado, and a sweetish dressing. Everything worked well and the lobster was fresh and sweet tasting. Lobster + bacon = magic.
The vegetarian in the group had a quiche she enjoyed. (And I got her consommé- lucky me.) The restricted diet member of the group had a good Caesar salad with chicken. She remarked that the chicken was remarkably good.
Lunch for three, with ice tea but no alcohol: $65. Great place to eat when you are shopping in Beverly Hills, need to have a hear-to-heart chat with someone, bid someone farewell, etc.
Favorite items: consommé, popovers, lobster club salad.