I’ve always been a little bitter towards the “Hollywood proper” area, after working 2 years on Hollywood Blvd in the thick of that hot mess I have to admit I found myself despising Hollywood as a whole at quite an alarming pace. But between tourists with no common sense, terrible excuses for character impersonators, excessive road closures, bomb threats on a regular basis, and stressing out trying to avoid “rappers” with CDs to sell, there is some good in Hollywood. It’s hiding in a hotel named the Redbury, and she’s a true Hollywood gem.
Cleo actually happens to be one of my favorite restaurants in all of LA. Yes, despite being in the middle of the worst part of Hollywood this is one of the special cases where it doesn’t even matter. During my first few months at my job on Hollywood Blvd, my aunt and uncle were coming in to town to visit and were staying in Hollywood. As much as it would have been my preference to shield them from the sh*t show that is Hollywood Blvd, they were staying at the Renaissance right there at Hollywood and Highland. This clearly meant I was stressed, uncomfortable, and forced to think outside the Westside box. A friend of mine at work suggested we try Cleo as it was relatively upscale, in pretty close proximity to their hotel, and they served a modern take on Mediterranean cuisine: aka me, my uncle, and my aunts favorite. Knowing that Cleo was part of the luxury powerhouse that is SBE was the cherry on top, I knew it would be hard to disappoint. Turned out it couldn’t have been any further from a disappointment, it was pure perfection.
Cleo is located inside the Redbury Hotel, and already from the outside you get a sense that you will be walking in to a dark, sexy, cool vibe. It’s a Middle Eastern restaurant with and old Hollywood glam flair; that goes for the food and the decor. First things first, once you are seated they bring you hot pita bread that is to die for, and it will keep coming throughout your meal. As you gander the menu you may feel overwhelmed with what to order as the menu is extensive, but if you are familiar with Middle Eastern/Mediterranean food you may be overwhelmed with joy once you discover just how authentic all their dishes are. My favorite thing about the menu/food is that the portions are tapas inspired; all the items are relatively small and very good for sharing. If you, like me, love to try a little bit of everything, make sure you attend with someone who doesn’t have sharing issues, way more fun! If you’ve been to Cleo, or have heard about Cleo, you’ve likely heard “Cleo… brussel sprouts!!” somewhere in a sentence together. Because they’re f*cking incredible. You have never had a vegetable that tasted this good. They’re crispy, flavorful, and unlike any brussel sprouts your mom has ever made for you. Cleo is actually known for several dishes besides the brussel sprouts, and with such a large menu I love that every time I go I can try something new. I like to think of myself as the Queen of “hummus foods”, as I like to call Middle Eastern cuisine, and Cleo does not fall short of Mediterranean/Hollywood perfection.
Cleo is the perfect place for a date, it’s a great place to take visiting friends or family members, and it’s a great place for a fancier girls night out. The service, food, the delicious craft cocktails, and attention to the overall dining experience is nothing Cleo takes lightly, they have certainly mastered the art. Dining at Cleo is the perfect package, it may be a little on the pricier end but it’s beyond worth it. If it weren’t in Hollywood I’d be at Cleo more often, but for the time being it will be that special place, in the heart of Hollyweird, that will always keep me coming back.