Sunday's Oscars ceremony has the town chatting again about where stars are most likely to pop up for a bite. Leave Mr. Chow and The Ivy back in The Eighties for a second, we happen to have a great beat on where the famous dine as we regularly scan sites like "Celebrity Baby" and "Teen Daily" to bring you the latest in star restaurant sightings each week. So where will you actually see famous people dining in the next few days? Take a look at our top recommendations, and please, feel safe skipping SkyBar.
The Beverly Hills Hotel: With the Bel-Air closed, this legendary property is raking even more famous over-nighters and should be packed with stars before Sunday. Legends like James Caan often "do lunch" at Polo Lounge, though Billy Corgan is also a dependable regular. We once caught Harlem's own Puff Daddy pricelessly dressed in full Dodgers wear in the parking lot. So if The Peninsula's majesty is way out of your comfort zone, try to hang around this lobby and we practically guarantee someone really famous will enter your orbit.
Cecconi's: Could this super-sharp Italian, though an infant on the scene, be the new Ivy? We think so. Better yet, Cecconi's has stars you really want to see, not ones who are dying to be noticed. Each week, some au currant celeb stops in for dinner or like Christina Aguilera, Gwen Stefani, and Camilla Belle, host parties here. We also add Cecconi's because it is one of the best celeb haunts to actually relish the cuisine at while scoping for stars.
The Bazaar: While we don't think George Clooney is too hung up on the molecular gastronomy debate, if we were stars coming in from out-of-town, we'd be dying to know what all the hoopla was about at GQ's "Restaurant of the Year." Sure, the glamor is pitch-perfect, privacy assured, and the oddball décor is worthy of our stars' biggest eccentricities, but we really include it because celeb sightings seem to run rampant at all SBE-affiliated restaurants. So don't take Katsuya or XIV off your list either, as we spot many a young thespian and rocker making "appearances" at both.
Urth Caffé: This organic coffee chain is so star-filled, nobody even notices anymore when Jeremy Piven reaches for the agave nectar or Tyrese sips iced tea in the seat beside you. We can't think of a time we've stopped by the Melrose location and haven't seen someone famous sitting there unfettered by fans or photographers. If you need a celeb fix, more than one from caffeine, take a seat early in the morning and keep your eyes open.
These restaurants show up the most in our weekly celebrity settings column. We don't always think the food is the draw, but somehow these newer spots have been packing up-and-coming stars in their dining rooms since opening.