Andre’s of Beverly Hills
Andre’s of Beverly Hills was a chic and popular (but overpriced) restaurant located on Wilshire Boulevard. Its appeal must have been the attentive, obsequious service because the few times I dined there, that’s the main thing I noticed. It sure wasn’t the food, which was Sizzler quality at about four times the price. The menu was an odd, multi-national aggregate of American, French and Italian and I usually had a steak with a side of unimpressive spaghetti.
I have a theory as to what closed Andre’s. Located in a shopping center about two miles away — and still there at the corner of Fairfax and 3rd Street — was and is a less fancy Andre’s, owned by the same folks who owned the fancy Andre’s. This one is a small Italian cafeteria that does a fabulous business selling very good pasta and pizza at rock bottom prices. If you want a cheap meal in not-plush surroundings, hurry thine backside over to the Town and Country mall across from Farmers Market. Andre’s is located in a little courtyard a few doors to the left of the Whole Foods Market. It’s one of those places where there’s almost always a line.
That Andre’s was popular back when the Andre’s on Wilshire was up and operating, and local restaurant critics couldn’t resist comparing them. At one, you got fast service, shabby decor and great food for very little money. At the other, you got slow service, fine decor and so-so food for a lot more money. Every year or so, some writer in the L.A. Times felt compelled to ask why the two-dollar plate of pasta at the cheap Andre’s was better than the nine-dollar plate of pasta at the fancy one. That kind of buzz must have harmed the one on Wilshire to some extent.
The only other memory I have of the Beverly Hills Andre’s was one time my family was there, dining with some wealthy friends who were paying. We were waiting for the valet to bring us our car for a fee roughly equal to the cost of a complete lasagna dinner at the other Andre’s. Suddenly, about six limousines converged on the place, and official-looking men jumped out and began clearing the way for the passenger from one. It was Robert Kennedy. I waved to him and he waved back, and I regretted that I didn’t have the opportunity to warn him that he was going to the wrong Andre’s.
Andre’s declined in popularity throughout the eighties. Around 1995, it was sold to new owners who rebranded it as Andre’s La Trattoria di Beverly Hills. A few years later, it was sold again and remodeled to become a fine steakhouse called the Porterhouse Bistro. After approximately ten years, Porterhouse Bistro closed its doors so it will be covered elsewhere on this site. As of this writing, the building is vacant…but it still shows up on most maps and restaurant guides as Andre’s of Beverly Hills even though that hasn’t been the name of the business in that building for more than a dozen years.