208 Rodeo has been open since 1991 but there is a good chance you are not familiar with it. It is a small restaurant but between breakfast, lunch and dinner, they do 800 covers a day. So, if you are not aware of 208 Rodeo, it is time to get to change that.
The restaurant is set atop the stairs on Via Rodeo’s cobblestone street on Rodeo Drive in the heart of Beverly Hills. There is an intimate indoor dining area but the majority of the seating is on the outdoor patio that overlooks the Beverly-Wilshire Hotel. This is the ideal place to sit as it is a great spot to enjoy lunch and people watch. Or head there for dinner and enjoy a meal under the stars.
Open for twenty-five years, 208 Rodeo offers a menu focused on California cuisine with pan-Asian and French influences.
I went to 208 Rodeo for lunch on a classically warm and sunny Los Angeles afternoon and started with the Limonana, a refreshing ice blended drink made with mint leaves and lemonade.
We started with the Sesame Shrimp. The shrimp are sautéed in a tangerine reduction with sweet Thai chili, sesame and toasted coconut. A mix of tart and spice, the coconut added a tropical touch to the dish.
The Seafood Salad comes with Maine lobster, diver scallops, wild shrimp, blue crab meat, persimmon, pomegranate, market greens and lemon vinaigrette. This is the kind of salad I want to eat for lunch every day and I am not alone. This item has been on the menu for decades and is not going anywhere.
As all the pasta is made fresh in-house at 208 Rodeo, I had to order a pasta dish. And the Pumpkin Ricotta Ravioli with acorn & red kuri squash, pumpkin seeds and sage brown butter had those magic ingredients – ricotta and sage brown butter. The squash was cut in long thin slices and added a lovely earthiness to the dish.
The Grilled Squash Chiabatta with grilled autumn squash, avocado, sprouts, vine ripe tomatoes, edamame hummus and artisan ciabatta bread is a great sandwich for vegetarians and while light, it will fill you up.
If you have room for dessert, try one of the many freshly baked pastries and then just sit back and watch the people walk by on Wilshire Blvd.
Some extra things to know if you go to 208 Rodeo:
1) During happy hour from 4pm-7pm, you can get half off all the wines on the list.
2) There is free 2-hour parking available below the restaurant in the Two Rodeo parking structure.
208 Via Rodeo Dr
Beverly Hills, CA 90210