Dining with the Stars: 10 Best Restaurants for Celebrity-Spotting

Dining-with-the-stars.jpgHave you been dreaming of dining with Bradley Cooper since you first saw The Hangover? Been dying to share a steak with the sultry Scarlett Johansson? Now you can. Perhaps not at the same table. But there are many restaurants that play host to some of today’s hottest celebrities. What makes some restaurants a draw for famous folks over others? Says Noora Raj from Alison Brod Public Relations, “Celebrities tend to frequent the same places, such as STK, because it’s easier for them to go somewhere where they know their presence won’t cause a sensation.” Find out the top 10 restaurants where you are most likely to break bread alongside some of today’s biggest names and brightest stars—in your hometown or while on vacation—while also enjoying a delicious meal.

1. Blue Duck Tavern, Washington, D.C.
This restaurant continually earns critical accolades year after year for its farm-to-table American cuisine, prepared in time-honored techniques that honor our nation’s culinary history. Foodies love it as do big-name celebrities and politicos. Renee Sharrow, Marketing Communications Manager for Park Hyatt Washington D.C., says, “While we are still waiting for President Obama to join us, we have welcomed Bruce Springsteen, Bono, Richard Gere, and Condoleezza Rice to name a few.” The secret to the restaurant’s success with famous diners? “I think celebrities like to go somewhere that is comfortable.  I once read about a celebrity frequenting a specific restaurant numerous times but kept getting heckled by fans so this celebrity eventually stopped going there,” she shares.

2. BOA Steakhouse, West Hollywood, California
If Los Angeles is the land of celebrities, BOA Steakhouse could well be its capital city. This meat mecca, also known as Balboa Restaurant and Lounge, serves up super-fresh seafood as well as superb steaks. Fans of this hotspot include Paula Abdul, Scarlett Johansson, Sharon Stone, Sheryl Crow, Kate Beckinsale, Audrina Patridge, Jaime Pressly, Garcelle Beauvais-Nilon, and Ryan Seacrest. BOA credits its popularity among the rich and fabulous to the fact that celebrities are drawn to a “quality restaurant that understands their needs, keeps things confidential and does not overly fawn over them or take advantage of them. It should be noted, whether you are a celeb, a doctor, or a regular, we offer everyone who dines at BOA the same level of hospitality,” states IDG (Innovative Dining Group) Partner Lee Maen.

3. Butter, New York, New York
Butter might just be as yummy as its name. There are three distinct dining areas and a Wine Spectator award-winning wine list at this chic NoHo hotspot. Owned by Ashley Olsen’s ex-boyfriend Scott Sartiano, the seasonal menu and the notorious Monday night parties have attracted bold-faced names including Travis Barker, comeback kid Mickey Rourke, Beyoncé, Shakira, perennial party girl Paris Hilton, P. Diddy protégé Aubrey O’Day, Emile Hirsch, Leonardo DiCaprio, the Olsen twins, Sarah Jessica Parker, and “Gossip Girl” Leighton Meester.

4. Il Cantinori, New York, New York
Nestled on a sleepy street in Manhattan’s Greenwich Village, this neighborhood favorite features classic Tuscan cuisine served with a smile in a decidedly cozy setting. Mega stars that are drawn to the perfect pastas and romantic lighting include co-stars Jennifer Aniston and Bradley Cooper; designer Isaac Mizrahi and muse Veronica Webb, Tom Cruise, Katie Holmes and Suri supping with the Beckhams and their three sons, and Twilight heartthrob Robert Pattinson. Sarah Jessica Parker also notably filmed scenes here for her 35th birthday celebration for the popular “Sex and the City” series.

5. Japonais, Chicago, Illinois.
A super-stylish Japanese restaurant, Japonais might as well be in Los Angeles with a steady stream of celebs dining here when they’re in the Windy City. Reveals Ashley Berg of LFB MEDIA GROUP, “Generally if a celeb is promoting a project they will come into Japonais and sit where they be seen and photographed (It’s part of the job.). However, they can also visit at a time when they don’t want to be seen and request a private lounge where they can sit back, relax and enjoy their favorite dishes in an intimate environment.” Japonais has accommodated countless celebrities, including the Jolie-Pitt’s (a.k.a Brad and Angie), Jennifer Aniston and Vince Vaughn, Claire Danes and Hugh Dancy, Charlize Theron, Goldie Hawn, Hugh Hefner, Nicolas Cage, Samantha Ronson, James Woods, and the one and only Oprah Winfrey.

6. Katsuya, Los Angeles, California
It shouldn’t be any surprise that this sexy sushi restaurant, designed by Phillipe Starck, is popular with health-conscious celebs. With innovative appetizers and rolls along with cuts of tender Kobe beef, Katsuya’s menu draws stars including Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher dining with Moore’s ex, Bruce Willis, and his current wife Emma Hemming, Eva Longoria-Parker and Tony Parker, Nicole Scherzinger, Janet Jackson, Jay-Z, Jessica Simpson, Audrina Partridge, Stephanie Pratt, Joe Jonas, and odd It-couple of the moment, Kathy Griffin and Levi Johnston.

7. Sam & Harry’s, Washington, D.C.
One of the capitals’ hottest power dining spots, this classic American steakhouse serves up some of the best beef in town as deals are often sealed over a steak and a handshake. Sam & Harry’s (along with sister restaurant The Caucus Room, which also attracts many A-listers) remains a popular choice for high-profile diners. “In an environment like DC, we seem to be more accustomed to seeing VIPs, especially politicians, in our day-to-day lives, so they can typically sit in our main dining rooms and have their privacy respected by other diners and by our staff,” says Abbie Elliott, Director of Public Relations & Marketing for Sam & Harry’s Management Company. Sam & Harry’s has hosted former Presidents George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton, the late chef and author Julia Child, actor (and dad to Angelina Jolie) Jon Voight, head of US Central Command General David Petraeus, the late singer and actor Roy Rogers, astronaut Neil Armstrong, Nicolas Cage, Mel Gibson, the late broadcast journalist Walter Cronkite, and many more.

8. STK, Los Angeles, California
You may think that super-fit celebs wouldn’t be as drawn to a place called STK – but you’d be wrong. Raj points out, “Restaurants that are used to catering to celebrities usually anticipate their needs. For example, STK LA is primarily a steakhouse, but they also have a slew of healthy and/or vegetarian options – which are great for celebrities who are preparing for a movie or big event.  As a result, they still get to go to these scene-y places without sacrificing their diets or appetite.” High-profile guests have included Rihanna, Shenae Grimes, Kim Kardashian, Sheryl Burke, Paula Abdul, Lance Bass, Lauren Conrad, Ed Westwick and Jessica Szhor, Kanye West, and Nicole Richie. STK also “guest-starred” in a recent episode of HBO’s “Entourage.”

9. ‘21’ Club, New York, New York
No list of celebrity hotspots would be complete without ’21.’ This venerable Manhattan institution started out as a speakeasy and has since become home to some of the city’s most powerful tables. Chairman of the Board Frank Sinatra was a regular—as were Presidents John F. Kennedy and Richard M. Nixon and Marilyn Monroe. Still exercising copious amounts of star appeal, ’21’ draws the likes of film stars, television personalities, and politicos, including Dan Rather and Eliot Spitzer, Morley Safer, Bob Scheiffer, and Chris Matthews, Kathie Lee Gifford, quarterback Peyton Manning, and Daniel Craig and Hugh Jackman. Earlier this year, Harrison Ford and Rachel McAdams filmed scenes here for the upcoming Morning Glory.

10. Table Fifty-Two, Chicago, Illinois.
Celebrity chef Art Smith, recently seen on “Top Chef Masters,” opened his 36-seat eatery in 2007 with a Southern-inspired menu, highlighted by Smith’s famous buttermilk biscuits. His most famous regulars are Oprah Winfrey (his former employer) and longtime beau Stedman Graham (and, one can only assume that Gayle King, who handles foodie duties for “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” has stopped by, too!). In addition to the most powerful woman in TV, the most powerful couple in the nation have shared a table at Table Fifty-Two. President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama spent this past Valentine’s Day here.

So, if you’re ready to make your dreams of dining with the stars come true, reserve tables today at these restaurants.  Now, you’ll know where you should keep your eyes peeled for fellow diners who may look more than a little familiar. And, when those sightings occur, be prepared by checking out exclusive tips from Lizzie Post great-great-granddaughter of Emily Post and author/spokesperson for The Emily Post Institute on what—and what not—to do when you spot a celebrity at the next table.