As a local LA resident, I am subject to high rent, high crime, horrific traffic, no weather, and a high risk of murder. Luckily for me, though, it also means I get to go to and rate all of our lord and savior Lisa Vanderpump’s restaurants. To be able to eat and drink at fun and nice establishments as “work” is literally my dream, so please let my editor know in the comments other fun/nice places in Los Angeles you really want reviews on. Seriously. That said, my super supportive and Vanderpump Rules-loving friends accompanied me to LVP’s finest establishments so we could try as much as possible to give you an honest review of what these places are like IRL. Let’s begin.
We started our adventure having dinner at the place that started our favorite reality TV trash, SUR. We’d been once before and while the food was great, it was 9:45pm on a Friday and there was a DJ. We literally ate our meals and screamed to each other like we were in “da club”. I say that like a person that does not go to “da club” because I f*cking hate “da club”. But knowing this, I booked our reservation far in advance and was able to get a v normal dinner res at 7:30pm, and we had a way better experience. We went to the famous SUR lounge first, where we ordered the most coveted of items, GOAT CHEESE BALLS, cocktails (Big Pinky’s), and the chicken steamed dumplings.
First of all, the goat cheese balls are really f*cking small. Like, teeny tiny little baby balls. They were also amazing, so yes, Stassi is right about them.
Here is a photo for scale:
I look really sad, but I ended up being really happy because they are v good and their small size did not stop my friends and I from ordering 3 more plates of them. We spent $44 on goat cheese balls alone. There are 3 balls per plate, so it’s roughly $3.67 for each tiny ball. Worth it? Yes. There is some sexual innuendo here that would hilarious, but I do not care to make it.
We sat down to dinner and our server was super helpful. Probably because he is not on Vanderpump Rules so he actually cares about his job. We got filet mignons and a roasted lamb (right), all of which were amazing.
We sat in the middle room near the host stand, which I decided is not where I’d like to sit in the future. SUR has a second room to the right, as well as tables outside that seem to be way better to sit at, especially if there is a DJ being loud in the lounge. Thankfully, we were not victim to any DJ this time, particularly woman-hating DJ James Kennedy, so we got out unscathed. Guillermo was there both times I’ve been to SUR. I love to see that he’s around checking on the quality of the restaurant, because it shows.
We ordered many of Lisa Vanderpump’s Big Pinky: a cocktail full of Vanderpump vodka, lime, mint, and cranberry. It is sooooo good.
We ran into Max Vanderpump Todd himself on the way out (he and I have other issues, we will get to that later). We also ran into Ariana’s brother, to which my friend shrieked within two feet of him, “THAT’S ARIANA’S BROTHER”, to which Ariana’s brother turned and looked at us and it was extremely awkward. I do not remember the name of Ariana’s brother. Overall, we loved SUR and would definitely go back.
Did I love Pump? Yes. In fact, it was almost my favorite. But let’s just talk about it chronologically. When we first arrived, the two bouncers decided they are also struggling comedians, as they told us we were in “Jacob’s Lounge” and welcomed us. This was super weird and awkward, also because the strip that SUR, Pump, and TomTom are all on is super crowded and the signs aren’t necessarily visible when you’re directly under them at night. Had I not been going there with a specific intention, I probably would have just assumed I was in the wrong spot and left. Pro tip: maybe don’t tell paying customers they are in the wrong spot when they are not.
Despite the really awkward entrance, we went to the bar and were greeted by many a beautiful gay man. Like literally, everyone who works there is incredibly attractive. With really high cheekbones. The bartenders were very disinterested in speaking to us (“because we have vaginas,” my friend interpreted), but the cocktails were really good, so we could not complain. We tried the famous Pump and Glory, Pumptini (both fabulous), and a new cocktail called the Smoke & Mirrors, pictured, which was the best. It tasted like orange blossom heaven and was our favorite cocktail out of all the restaurants.
The highlight, though, was when we were seated for dinner in the gorgeous garden (which my friend called a “magical elf garden”), and ran into LVP herself. She was there with Ken, Giggy, and Puffy (?). She’s somehow even more gorgeous in real life (and TINY). She graciously took a picture with me and said she would definitely read Betches for my article (Hi Lisa, we love you!). They sat right next to us and put Giggy on the table like a little furry purse. Good thing we weren’t the health department. Then again, I kiss my dog on the mouth so I don’t care. I think we need more dogs in places and less people. And way less children.
Our server and busser were both adorable and super friendly, telling us exactly what to order. It was actually hilarious, the busser was chatting so much with us that he finally was like, “ooh sorry, I have to go work, my boss is right there,” like yeah buddy, we are totally aware we’re seated next to LISA VANDERPUMP. But I love that she’s at her restaurants so often checking everything out. My favorite item was the Rock Shrimp Tempura appetizer. It was just sooo good. We also got the Chicken Milanese, the Pan Seared Sole (pictured), a Pump Burger, and a Mushroom Chicken.
All were really good, and our bill was somehow cheaper than SUR by a lot. I will be back in a heartbeat, and I particularly want to try the brunch menu. Also, I asked our server what Lisa usually orders here and he said, “Oh, Lisa does not order off the menu,” which is my favorite thing I’ve ever heard.
Okay, so I told Lisa I would definitely give her restaurants amazing reviews, but also, this was before we actually went to TomTom, so Lisa, please look away. Or also, maybe you shouldn’t, because TomTom needs some work.
Can I just say I love the decor at TomTom so much? It’s so steampunk chic. It’s aesthetically my favorite, although it is way tinier than all the other restaurants. I wanted to love TomTom. My first experience here was actually a few months ago, when my friends and I were drinking in the beautiful garden, only to be told that the garden was closed and we had to move inside. We did so, moving to a teeny dark booth across from the bathroom, only to see Max Vanderpump Todd go out to the garden and take our table. Needless to say, I was a little bitter that we were obviously removed just so Max and his friends didn’t have to sit next to “regular people”. But I was like, “hey, fine, I’ll go back to TomTom and have dinner. I love the decor, it will be fine.”
TomTom is the only one out of the four Vanderpump restaurants that does not take reservations so we got there early (~7 on a Saturday) to ensure that we didn’t have to wait long. We didn’t have to wait at all and got seated out in the garden, next to the table that was stolen from us last time.
Okay, so here’s what’s hilarious. Betches recently did an article on the Worst Dressed of Vanderpump Rules. Betch Dressed wrote that Sandoval “always adds in some element that takes it over-the-top and makes it instantly repulsive”, referring to his style. This is literally exactly how I feel about TomTom’s cocktail list. Self-proclaimed master mixologist Sandoval treats his restaurant the same way he treats his hair—by adding an unnecessary gray streak to everything that could have been good. Every single cocktail had something in it that made it weird and unpalatable such as mezcal, bee pollen, and pea tea (wtf). Also? The menu here was somehow the most expensive.
I tried the Clockwork Pink first. I took one sip and was like “f*ck no”. I stirred it a bit and it made it better. By better, I mean drinkable at least. Maybe the bartenders didn’t make it right? We still had hope.
My friends ordered the Alchemy Rose, pictured left (which tasted like straight-up gin, who is mixing these drinks?) and the Kentucky Muffin, pictured right (which is a hilarious drink name, I’ll give props for that).
It also prompted this text exchange with her boyfriend:
At least they look pretty. Our server—which btw, love their outfits, they wear little suspenders and it is adorable—recommended we try the Madame Butterfly, which tasted exactly like extremely watered-down Mike’s Hard Lemonade except it also cost $16.
It was hugely disappointing considering Sandoval’s “many years in the food service industry” and “mixologist” skills. Hey Ariana? You should probably finish your cocktail book because clearly your boyfriend needs help.
Unfortunately, it got worse with the food. The menu is all supposed to be shareable, but they have items like burgers and steak on it which is sorta weird to share. We started with the Cauliflower Wings (which were actually really good) and the Portobello and Zucchini fries (fine). We then got the Kobe Sliders (pictured), which were also good and came with a little piece of potato on top—like that little bite is your side of fries (kind of disappointing). So far, all of these things we could get at any other restaurant in LA, and tbh, for a lot cheaper.
But then we ordered the Shrimp Salad (unfortunately pictured) and the Shrimp Flatbread. Big mistake. Huge. The shrimp tasted like it was reheated from a frozen package, i.e., weird texture and kind of like cardboard. It was so bad, we were all eating just the lettuce out of the salad and avoiding the shrimp. What does that say? My friend that literally never eats bread, took the flatbread and scraped off all the toppings just to eat the bread. That is how strange and gross it was. Like, how do you ruin pizza? If the best thing on your menu is cauliflower, we have a problem. I think there is a reason Lisa was eating at Pump and not here. We seriously debated sending it back, but like, were we going to send back everything? Is it rude to ask our server to just send us something edible? So we did not.
TomTom was packed and we wondered if everyone else was as disappointed as we were. Then we saw the table next to us get up and leave their full cocktails on the table. We decided to look at TomTom’s Yelp page, and what do you know? It wasn’t just us. According to Yelp, TomTom has a policy where you can’t return a drink, which I’ve never heard of. Also? Any bar that doesn’t swap drinks obviously has no confidence in their cocktails. There were other accounts on Yelp of people leaving full cocktails on the table, so it wasn’t just us.
Toms. We want to like TomTom so bad, but I can’t even go there for a decent drink. I’m hoping maybe they were just having an off night, as they are a new restaurant. The bartenders and chefs were maybe all having an off night. Also? Our bill was the same price as Pump but we had one less person. You’d think shareables would make things cheaper. It was still so early in the night but we didn’t want to spend any more money on drinks that sucked, so we left by 8:30pm to go to a bar in our neighborhood for some $8 amazing cocktails and good food. Sandoval, maybe these bartenders are butchering your genius cocktails? If you want to invite us for a redo with your supervision, I will write a new review.
Villa Blanca was a literal Godsend after our experience at TomTom. It is the only one in a different spot, being in Beverly Hills instead of WeHo. It’s so beautiful, calming, and the perfect place to meet up with friends and talk sh*t about everyone you know. The decor is just incredible. But here was the real test: How are the drinks?
We tried the #RoséRules, Peach Bellini, Chambord Spritz, and a flowery take on a French 75 that I think was called something like a Gala 75 but it must be new because it’s not on their online menu. Every drink was absolutely fabulous. They also have the Pump & Glory and Pumptini on their menu, which we already knew we liked as a backup in case the drinks sucked here too. They weren’t needed, as everything was perfect, including the staff that were super friendly and amazing to us. Our favorite cocktail here was the #RoséRules.
We also got crab cakes at the bar, which also did not have anything weird and were amazing.
Now here is where I would post pictures of our calamari and artichoke appetizers and my divine lobster ravioli. But I was so excited to eat, I literally forgot I was supposed to take pictures and just unhinged my jaw like a snake and swallowed everything whole. I was basically licking the plate clean when my friend was like, “oh we didn’t take pictures”. But. It’s really a testament to how good all the food was. The food here was easily the best of all four restaurants and I loved the relaxed vibe. I will definitely be back for brunch, dinner, happy hour, everything.
Here’s the lobster ravioli from Villa Blanca’s Instagram instead:
Let’s be real, all these restaurants have weird, dark (and occasionally pink!) lighting, so this is way better than my sad photography skills anyway. Here’s the calamari:
Seriously, just go look at their Instagram if you’re bored at work and salivate. Here’s the thing too: with Villa Blanca, both drinks and food and just overall experience are worth every penny. And the drinks there are actually $14, whereas at TomTom they are $16. That two dollars adds up when you have a bunch of people. Who are alcoholics. Villa Blanca cost us only a bit more than TomTom, but once again we had four people instead of three this night. Villa Blanca is nothing but class and I could eat there literally every day of my life. Except I would also not be able to pay my rent. SUR was the most expensive overall (but again—for four of us), but I think that was more user error considering we got four orders of goat cheese balls.
TL;DR: SUR is my pick for happy hour in the lounge or cocktails later in the evening. I would go back for dinner too, though. But you have to get all the goat cheese balls. Both food and cocktails were equally great. Pump has the best cocktails overall. It’s such a close second favorite for me, but also the vibe is so different than Villa Blanca, I’m going to go ahead and call them dual favorites just for completely different evenings. Pump is like the perfect place to get dinner before you’re going to go out. I also cannot wait to go back for brunch because the garden is just so pretty. TomTom sucked. Go in, look at the gorgeous steampunk decor, order nothing, leave. Villa Blanca is my true favorite hands down, but it’s more for a relaxed, nice dinner, like for date night or catching up with friends over a bottle (or four) of wine. But also get cocktails because they were awesome. Villa Blanca’s food is also easily the best and the staff doesn’t even judge you when you ask for more bread five times.
Overall, I loved the restaurants (not you, TomTom) and I love being paid to go eat and write about it even more, so if there are other places you want me to review, let me know in the comments. PLEASE.