Kid Hit Menu Items: Many traditional deli faves will easily please the little crowd. Because I recently wrote about the top matzo ball soups in Los Angeles, you might correctly guess that both my boys love the stuff, the best of which is found at Nate n’ Al in Beverly Hills. For our itty bitty toddler, this perfect soft training food is all the better eaten without utensils, mashed up into smaller bits, and shoved directly into his mouth. The older one is a bit more civilized about using a spoon. And delis are good at making potatoes in many unhealthy forms, from knishes to fries. For lovers of half-sour pickles, which are milder, crunchier, and a smidge sweeter than their tangier counterparts, you’ve come to the right place.
Adult Perks: In addition to stellar food that includes deli meats made with certified Angus Beef®, Nate n’ Al is about the people watching, which the room brilliantly facilitates. Iris Apfel’s Beverly Hills doppelganger was enjoying lunch with her equally adorable, thick-bespectacled husband during my last Nate N’ Al visit (granted, not as cool as seeing Ms. Apfel herself at Chelsea Loehmann’s a couple years ago.) Rows of booths with low backs keep the sight lines open. For a restaurant where delicate business discussions happen, discretion and privacy isn’t a priority. Even Canter’s has higher booth dividers. But all the better for us lookie-loos and eavesdroppers.
Pros: Lively, loud, old school atmosphere. Service is speedy. Easily wipe-able brown Naugahyde booths and faux wood-patterned Formica tabletops.
Cons: As my friend Marissa observed, reaching a table in the back of Nate n’ Al takes a long time when when you have to make your way through a maze of walkers. But those fold up more easily than some strollers, so consider yourself warned. The two waiting areas are small. A note about that quick service: it might be accompanied by affection (“huns” and “darlings” and whatnot) mixed with a distinct directness (“Is my tip already in there?”). This attitude might be construed as rudeness to some folks who aren’t used to the classic deli experience. Nate ‘n Al doesn’t have a bakery and the sweet selection is very limited.
Changing Station: No
High Chairs: Yes, but only room for them at select tables.
Parking and Access: Metered spaces along Beverly Drive, or two hour free parking in nearby City of Beverly Hills public parking structures.
Other Tidbits: As I’ve said before, delis are a natural family favorite restaurant genre, and I’ve had them on the brain lately. Many of my earliest memories are waiting for tables — with face pressed to the bakery case when possible — at Canter’s, Junior’s, and in the packed waiting space of Nate N’ Al. Just because going to a deli is obvious doesn’t make it any less awesome. That said, we as a family now spend MUCH less time in delis than I did and certainly my parents did growing up. (The cultural guilt about the younger generation’s lack of deli time weighs heavily.) Despite potential for stroller vs. walker conflicts, I can think of fewer better venues to experience and learn inter-generational harmony than at Nate N’ Al. The relatively new Thousand Oaks location is probably bigger and shinier, but decades of deli grit and character is impossible to replicate.
P.S. This news is from the B.H. Chamber website, but not to be confused with the Brooklyn Bagel on Beverly Blvd. near Alvarado: The Original Brooklyn Water Bagel Co., together with legendary broadcaster Larry King, will open the doors to the company’s inaugural West Coast location in Beverly Hills at 262 South Beverly Drive, on Friday, March 18 at 6 a.m. The first 100 customers will be welcomed with a free half-dozen bagels.
414 N. Beverly Drive, Beverly Hills
Hours: Daily 7 a.m. – 9 p.m.