There's no 3 michelin-starred restaurants in LA. It's the second biggest city in the US, and it has zero restaurants on that hallowed list. That's strange. And you'd think if there was one place in LA where you could create a 3 michelin-starred restaurant, it would be Beverly Hills. The people here have a ton of money.

In general, Beverly Hills is pretty shocking when it comes to going out for a bite to eat. There's such a weird disparity between restaurant styles and standards. Sure, you've got big chain eateries like Cheesecake Factory, California Pizza Kitchen and Chipotle along Beverly Drive, but the quality you get for your buck at most independent restaurants rarely approaches even average for Los Angeles.

It's so hard to go out for just an unpretentious, simple bite to eat. The BLVD, Nic's Martini Lounge, Mr. Chow's, any of the half dozen Italian restaurants knocking around, are all, from what I hear and read, pretty overrated and fussy experiences. Bouchon and Kate Mantilini, though pricey, might be exceptions to that standard, but the mood in both places is kind of unfriendly. The staff act like they're running the Savoy in 1922. Very austere.

If, like me, restaurant austerity is your pet peeve (we're not french, after all), Roni's Diner is a sure-fire hit. It's so relaxed that it doesn't seem to care that it's never busy. The beer on tap is great, really well served, the red brick interior is brightly lit (too rare nowadays), warm and inviting, and there's always good sport on the TV. And the servers/owners are great people - really friendly, attentive, but not overbearingly so.

It happens to sit on a very dead strip of Little Santa Monica Boulevard, down the road from the torn down Friar's Club, across the road from what looks like a long-vacated movie house (can't find any information on what it once was), and a long-vacated bank (likewise). It's also just down the road from Maison Martin Margiela, which sells fancy couture shoes and has a distinctive building covered in sequins, which when they blow in the wind has the effect of making it look like a building made of milk.

Roni's is just a laid-back hangout spot. More Santa Monica than Beverly Hills. Their food sucks. Really sucks. Everything's basically bad. Which is fine. Who cares? The food is bad in Beverly Hills. We've established that.

Sorry about the quality of these photos!  It was dark in Roni's!
However, their burger as it turns out, is surprisingly OK! A big, flat slab of meat, some thousand-island dressing (just the right amount), with the tomato, onion and lettuce. IT'S A BURGER! Simple! It's not going to top our charts by any means, but it's thoroughly decent, and way better that most of the other stuff on their cluttered menu.

If Roni's simplified their huge menu (this is always what Gordon Ramsay tells failing restaurants on Kitchen Nightmares) and focused a bit more on quality (I hear their standards have slipped dramatically in the past few years - their pizzas used to be famous), they could be a vital part of the Beverly Hills community. Maybe they could become Beverly Hill's premiere Burger and Pizza joint (drop the sandwiches, the salads and the goopy pasta). As it is, their beer list is superb, their wines ain't bad, and we'll pop in for a quick drink and some sweet potato fries any day!

Oh, but the burger. Yeah, the burger...

The Scores:

Meatiness - 4
Succulentiousness - 2
Bun - 2
Flavor - 2
Stay Togetherness - 3
Joint - 5

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