Mother’s Day celebrations and gestures are just like any other Hallmark holiday: corny, but nonetheless appreciated. The particulars don’t necessarily matter — just do SOMETHING sweet and thoughtful. Following is a whole mess of festa della mamma restaurant suggestions. Also check Taster Tots archives for some of our favorite brunch places. But beware! This is a major restaurant holiday, just a few mere steps removed from Valentine’s Day. So scroll down to see other gift ideas and ways to show your gratitude. Or keep it simple and spend a little time in the kitchen before she wakes up this Sunday, May 8th. Because no matter what, make sure she gets to sleep in, OK?
Asia de Cuba: The newly rolled out brunch on the Sunset Strip is for Minimalist Modern Mom who digs the Mondrian. The $39.50 per person price tag gets you a shared bread basket, choice of entrée, and dessert buffet. Plus all-you-can-drink Sake Sangria, Bloody Marys or Mimosas from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Rock on.
8440 W. Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood; (323) 848-6000
Border Grill: The Downtown and Santa Monica locations are doing a $32 prix fixe for three courses deal. At the Downtown location, mention “DowntownLA.com” to get a complimentary mimosa for mom. As if you wouldn’t treat her to one anyway?
Border Grill Downtown LA: 445 S. Figueroa St.; (213) 486-5171
Border Grill Santa Monica: 1445 4th St.; (310) 451-1655
Chaya: All three Chaya locations (Beverly Hills, Downtown, Venice) are running their own holiday menus from 11 a.m. to 3 in the afternoon.
Comme Ca: Sure, some teetotalers would be into this brunch, but I’d recommend making sure your group has a designated driver for Mom. There’s the a la carte menu and famous burger and stuff, but the read draw? That would be…booze. A Mother’s Daisy with gin, orange curacao, raspberry and lemon? Or the Sparkling Greyhound with vodka, grapefruit juice, muddled grapefruit and sparkling rose? Both, please. Plus the Mimosa by the Bottle special for the whole table to share. Comme Ca Mother’s Day hours are 10 a.m. to 4, then 6 to 10 p.m.
8479 Melrose Ave., West Hollywood; (323) 782-1104
Delphine: The previous Saturday night’s debauchery at the W Hotel in Hollywood might still be a fresh memory to the hotel staff, but otherwise come Sunday morning, Delphine at the W is a perfectly lovely place for a wholesome celebratory meal. The peaceful, serene color scheme and South of France theme set the right tone. Go big with the Grand Plateau Fruits De Mer and other treats on the terrace during chef Sascha Lyon’s Mother’s Day brunch service from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
6250 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood; (323) 798-1355
Din Tai Fung: No specials that I know of, but who needs a set menu and special bubbly drinks as enticements? We spent Mother’s Day here a couple years ago, just a late Sunday afternoon with NO kids. Painless wait, peaceful meal. And that was a memorable treat.
1108 S. Baldwin Ave., Arcadia; (626) 574-7068
Drago Santa Monica: Executive Chef Evan Gotanda’s menu features zucca alla chitarra, carrot risotto, pan-seared sturgeon with romanesco and caviar cream, and warm wild strawberry tart with balsamic gelato. This meal costs $59, plus $30 optional wine pairing with each course.
2628 Wilshire Blvd., Santa Monica; (310) 828-1585
Fig & Olive: This new swank New York import on Melrose Place — perfectly located for a post-super-high-end-shopping-excursion-repast — opens its big pretty doors for Mother’s Day with a $40 per person brunch and complementary Mimosa, Bloody Mary, or Piscine cocktail proffered to the guests of honor. Pan-Mediterranean dishes include heirloom vegetable feuilleté and tomato concassé, lemon sole baked in papillote, and chocolate pot du crème.
8490 Melrose Place, West Hollywood; (310) 360-9100.
First & Hope: Throw in a little Downtown flavor to Mother’s Day at this supper club/cocktail lounge/restaurant tucked in a nondescript 80s building behind Disney Concert Hall. The “American Comfort Food Menu” (interpret as you will) is $45 for adults, and only $12 for kids under 12, with bottomless “Momosas” for $9. OK, enough abusing quotes. Brunch is served 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.
710 W. 1st Street, Downtown; (213) 617-8555
Four Seasons Los Angeles at Beverly Hills: They go ALL OUT here with brimming brunch stations for $95 per person, $45 kids 5 to 12, from 10 a.m. to 2 in the afternoon. (Hmm, so does that mean we can still get our kids in for free? We did at the divine Four Season Santa Barbara.) Lobster eggs Benedict and big Belgian waffles. That sort of thing.
300 S. Doheny Drive, Los Angeles; (310) 860-4000
L’Ermitage Beverly Hills: This 90210 hotel option is, not surprisingly, fancy and expensive. Brunch is $89 and includes bottomless Belllinis, plus bells and whistles. Go crazy at the shellfish bar and carving station with lamb and prime rib.
9291 Burton Way, Beverly Hills; (310) 278-3344
The Peninsula: Why stop with the uber-posh BevHills hotels just yet? We can probably keep going forever, but there’s obviously no need to, so this’ll be the last one in this guide. The Penin is also by far the most budget-busting, at $115 a head ($39 kids 12 and under). The Nicolas Feuillatte Champagne (included in the price) will be flowing all day long at the Belvedere restaurant’s service that goes until 9 p.m. Conveniently enough, the hotel’s lovely spa is located right there, too.
9291 Burton Way, Beverly Hills; (310) 975-2736
Malo/Mas Malo: The original Silver Lake Malo and the newer swinging Downtown location have both been on my brunch To Do list for some time. Why? Well, because they’re both fun, and I’m in love with the West 7th Street digs in the former Brock’s Jewelry building below Seven Grand (an old historic pres consulting project of mine back in the day). And check it — $5 kid brunch specials. I assume this package is honored on Mother’s Day, too. Five bucks includes chips, salsa and drink, with choices of two sides and one main dish. Spanish rice, fruit, fried bananas, omelet, quesadilla, carne asada, whatever they pick — this is a terrific deal. Save the tequila vault visit for another time.
4326 West Sunset Blvd., Silver Lake; (323) 664-1011
515 West 7th Street, 1st Floor; Downtown; (213) 985-4332
Palate Food + Wine: This fave neighborhood restaurant and wine shop was our Mom’s Day spot of choice last year. I don’t see the lamb belly on the Mother’s Day brunch menu again (that’s quite alright, frankly), but other dishes include pea soup, fried chicken steak n’ waffles, lobster roll, and beef brisket. Three-course brunch costs $39 per, $25 for kids 12 and under, served 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. and supper 5 to 8:30 p.m. And you can let the kiddos get their ya-yas out on the back loading deck.
933 S. Brand Blvd, Glendale; (818) 662-9463
Petrossian: This place oozes class and I think it’s an awesome place to wine and dine mom. But it is better suited to older kids, FYI. On the agenda for Sunday is a three-course brunch by chef Giselle Wellman ($40 adults, $20 speical kids meal). Among the choices are caviar scrambled eggs, steak frites served with caviar aioli, and strawberry shortcake (served from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.) Plus if you don’t get around to getting a gift before then, pop into the boutique and grab something super special. The lack of advance planning will be forgiven.
321 North Robertson Blvd., West Hollywood; (310) 271-0576
Playa: Time to enjoy those maize cakes at Playa in daylight! Come this Saturday, John Rivera Sedlar’s shiny, shiny venue on Beverly adds brunch. We found Playa perfect for a grown-up dinner date night, thanks to Sedlar’s intriguing pan-Latin food (pardon the over-simplification) and Julian Cox’s expert cocktails. The artful platters embellished with various images underneath a sheet of glass are a far cry from plastic ware. But sophisticated, adventurous, and well-coordinated younger family members will totally dig it all.
7360 Beverly Blvd., Mid-City; (323) 933-5300
Ray’s & Stark Bar at LACMA: My two BFFs and I had a fantastic time here last Friday night. The pleasures of a long relaxed Friday night dinner that was chock full o’ luscious cocktails by Michel Dozois along with Kris Morningstar’s cooking, were not lost on us. OK, so Mother’s Day brunch will have a different flavor, but the STUNNING design details and components that FINALLY bring some cohesion to this part of LACMA still will be appreciated. (There is, however, that odd bathroom arrangement.) Plus all those Knoll Saarinen Executive Chairs cushion the tush and back just so — an important part of a well-deserved relaxing meal. Brunch served from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. costs $39 for adults, $22 for children under 12. And don’t forget to check out Amelia Saltsman’s presentation at 2 p.m.!
5905 Wilshire Blvd., Miracle Mile; (323) 871-1151.
Royal/T: As long as you’re OK with the kids possibly seeing some mild nudity on display amidst owner Susan Hancock’s NO JOKE incredible art collection, this sounds like a good bet for all ages. The retail shop/gallery/cafe is teaming up with local designer justJENN. She’ll be there signing copies of her new book, O.G. Original Grandma’s Favorite Recipes. (Jenn herself is actually an O.G. L.A. blogger.) Tea sets, a la carte meal from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., crafts table… what’s not to love? And come Father’s Day, Royal/T smartly combines beer with its signature Japanese maid cafe theme schtick, if memory serves.
8910 Washington Blvd., Culver City; (310) 559-6300.
Susan Feniger’s Street: Whether on the chic patio or in the bold Neil Denari designed main dining room, Street on Highland can be an ideal celebratory venue. No cookie cutter anything here, a message that most parents would appreciate. The all-day Mother’s Day specials, such as deviled Dungeness crab BLT, Tunisian mushroom pastry and English trifle, can be ordered a la carte or as a complete tasting menu for $40.
742 N. Highland Ave., Hollywood; (323) 203-0500
Trés by José Andrés at SLS Hotel: Mother’s Day José Andrés style isn’t going to be for everyone, but will be appreciated by the right audience. The prix fixe $49 per person meal plus a la carte menu is served from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and mixes the signature touches with some Not Totally Weird Stuff. I’d love to try that SLS Eggs Benedict with eggs 63, toasted brioche, hollandaise “air” and Russ & Daughters smoked salmon or Jamon Serrano.
465 La Cienega Blvd., Los Angeles/Bev Hills; (310) 246-5551
Water Grill: This Sunday is the perfect reason to visit the Downtown seafood Mecca and skip the usual business/political power lunch crowd. (Although granted, it WAS kinda cool spotting Oscar de la Hoya during lunch a couple years ago.) Three words: Lobster Clam Bake. Three courses cost $49 per from 3 to 9 p.m., plus the regular menu and raw bar will be available.
544 S. Grand Ave., Downtown; (213) 891-0900
Whist: We spent our wedding night at the Viceroy Hotel and had dinner the evening after at Whist. I wouldn’t mind revisiting this venue for the Mother’s Day fete, and tasting Chef Tony DiSalvo’s food one of these days. The $50 brunch package bundles in a sugar scrub with choice of aromatherapy oils in the Viceroy’s Scrub Tent, and adults get a free glass of champers. Brunch for the kids is $16 per.
1819 Ocean Ave., Santa Monica; (310) 260-7511
Wilshire Restaurant: Unlimited cocktails, fresh farmers’ market salads, hearty entrees and desserts galore and are on tap at this Santa Monica mainstay. ($65 per, $25 kids 12 and under) Plan a stroll and visit to the ducks at Douglas Park across the street following the big meal.
2454 Wilshire Blvd., Santa Monica; (310) 586-1707
Beyond Restaurant Meals…
Whether it’s compiled by a bunch of food loving moms who know how to shop, or by sons and daughters with a knack for picking gifts, Tasting Table’s Mother’s Day gift guide is A-OK. If I didn’t already have a wicked table linens habit (hello, irresistibly fabulous Kelly Wearstler for Serra napkins on super sale at Gilt) I’d be itching for these rustic chic Commune linens, just like the ones I literally drooled over — hey, they ARE napkins, after all — at FarmShop. We’ve become new fans of Jessica Koslow’s locally made SQIRL jams, and currently have a jar of Seascape strawberry preserves in circulation in our kitchen. So a one year jam club membership, perhaps? Peruse these fine edible gifts via Find. Eat. Drink. I’d also be remiss to not mention the Valerie Confections’ set and Platine Cookies’ box. Magnolia Bakery is making adorable retro-styled cupcakes. (But as I tweeted last week, they’re kind of begging to be fodder for an undergrad feminist cultural theory paper.)
While we love to support groovy crafts and local businesses, some of us don’t exactly need another candle or pair of earrings. So instead share the love with other moms who could use help with the most fundamental aspects of being a parent and caring for their families. Support the Jewish World Watch Solar Cookers project in Darfur. Help a mother learn cooking and nutrition skills and stock her pantry with an e-card donation to Share our Strength. And check out Global Giving and BlogHer for more recs of where to purchase gifts that really count.
Any Mother’s Day family food traditions you’d like to share? Please leave them comments.