7156 Santa Monica Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90046
When you first step inside the Formosa café, you will swear it looks familiar. Probably because L.A. Confidential, Swingers and Jim Carrey’s The Majestic (an homage to old-fashioned movie theaters) were all filmed here. The Formosa Café has been around since 1934, so its history goes back much further than recent movies. Gangster Bugsy Siegel reportedly hid some of his illegal gambling profits in a secret floorboard, and everyone who was anyone has graced the bar or booths of this iconic restaurant: Marilyn Monroe, Humphrey Bogart, James Dean, Natalie Wood, Frank Sinatra, Clark Gable, Grace Kelly and Elvis, to name a few. You can see for yourself: Hundreds of signed black and white glossies from yesteryear line the walls. At first, the Formosa Café seems composed only of a long, narrow train car interior, but if you veer left upon entering and walk toward the back, you’ll discover a second bar outdoors with much more room. No one would accuse the Chinese food of being authentic, but the fried rice and chicken satay are pretty scrumptious. Down a sake bomb as well if you like, arrive early for $4 happy hour drinks, or make like a classy star from the 1940s and sip a Manhattan.
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