Food & Recipes, Lifestyle, Travel

Fran Berger Restaurant Guide Featuring Chopin Vodka

Whether at home or traveling (as I so love to do!) there are always opportunities for turning the ordinary into the extraordinary. Chopin is one such luxury and my drink of choice when I’m not enjoying a wine or Champagne. My own bar is stocked with Chopin and I won’t have a vodka neat or a classic martini at a bar or restaurant unless they serve Chopin – it’s my first question when ordering a drink. If the answer is no, then I go!

In this guide you’ll find some of my select spots to toast with Chopin in Beverly Hills – where I live and spend most of my time – and the cities I land in most often: New York, Tampa and London. I hope my favorite haunts become yours too…

Cheers to celebrating the extraordinary!



Beverly Hills 

CUT Lounge by Wolfgang Puck
The Beverly Wilshire Hotel
9500 Wilshire Blvd. Beverly Hills, CA 

Of note: Cut Lounge by Wolfgang Puck is the intimate and super chic bar at the back of the historic Beverly Wilshire Hotel, located right across from CUT.


South Beverly Grill
122 S Beverly Drive Beverly Hills, CA

Of note: This restaurant is a favorite to sit at the bar with friends, savor one of the best burgers in LA (I sometimes order it wrapped in lettuce instead of the bun) and drink Chopin, naturally!


Steak 48
9680 Wilshire Blvd. Beverly Hills, CA 

Of note: Steak 48 is my go-to spot. I love the bone-in filet or the grass-fed NY strip paired with a Chopin in a rocks glass. The steaks are served on 500-degree plates so order your steak a little ‘under’ as it will continue to cook when at the table. And for a pure Chopin drink experience, I always tell the bartender not to shake or stir with ice as that dilutes the vodka. I prefer a clean pour over one large cube of ice with a lemon twist. Get to know the bartenders here – they are amazing guys!


The Rooftop by JG at the Waldorf Astoria
9850 Wilshire Blvd. Beverly Hills, CA

Of note: Incredible views of the city skyline abound during the day or at night from this garden-inspired rooftop setting. The monogrammed extra large ice cube is a fabulous touch - there’s something so sophisticated about it.


Polo Lounge at The Beverly Hills Hotel
9641 Sunset Blvd. Beverly Hills, CA

Of note: Located within the landmark Beverly Hills Hotel, the Polo Lounge is the most iconic place to enjoy a Chopin beverage in the late afternoon or after work. An absolute must for any local or visitor to experience quintessential Los Angeles.


The BLVD Restaurant and Lounge
Beverly Wilshire Hotel
9500 Wilshire Blvd. Beverly Hills, CA

Of note: A classic Beverly Hills spot. Whatever your mood or fancy – on the rocks, shaken or stirred – the Chopin serve will be perfection. I especially find the martinis here to be on point.



New York 

The Whitby Bar & Restaurant
The Whitby Hotel
18 West 56th Street New York, NY

Of note: The Whitby is a wonderful place for a power lunch and high tea. I love the eclectic decor, rich colors and airy room designed by Kit Kemp. Not one detail is overlooked here. I had the smoked salmon plate with my Chopin. Divine.


RH Guesthouse
55 Gansevoort Street New York, NY 

Of note: RH Guesthouse in the Meatpacking District is the newest outpost from RH in New York. The gorgeous dining room on the main floor features indoor/outdoor spaces and live-fire dining. Tucked away on the lower level is a somewhat secretive, very intimate Champagne & Caviar Bar. The ultimate spot for Petrossian Caviar and one of my favorite adult beverages (hint: it contains fine and dry bubbles). We had the housemade chips and dip with caviar. Incredible as a start to a meal or the meal itself! To make it a full night of extraordinary, the upper floors feature guest rooms, suites and a handsome residence – so chic!


The Gold Room at The Lotte Palace
455 Madison Avenue NY, NY

Of note: Here I am sitting at the bar at The Gold Room at The Lotte Palace drinking my new favorite Chopin, Family Reserve. Chopin Family Reserve is a special treat. The young potatoes are harvested, distilled and then the spirit is rested in 50-year-old oak barrels for two years. The result is absolutely amazing! And just because it’s dinner time doesn’t mean you have to order dinner. Sometimes Spanish jamón and a beautiful selection of cheeses is all you need with Chopin. Ask for the bartender Mile – if he’s there, tell him Fran sent you.


47 East Houston Street New York, NY 10012

Of note: Super authentic and incredibly buzzing, Estela is a favorite NYC dining experience. The cozy space is perched above Houston Street and serves up Michelin star dishes to write home about. The bison tartare and endive salad are legendary.


10 Lincoln Center Plaza
David Geffen Hall New York, NY 10023

Of note: Tatiana is as dramatic and emotionally thrilling as any of the operas next door! This Afro-Caribbean spot from young star Chef Kwame Onwuachi is a delight from the theatrical décor to the decadent and beautifully flavored dishes. I still cannot stop talking about the wagyu short rib pastrami suya and that dreamy caraway coco bread. 




Bern’s Steak House
1208 South Howard Ave. Tampa, FL 33606

Of note: Even though this restaurant has a world-famous wine list, I always order my Chopin to start. Be sure to try the French Onion Soup, Tableside Caesar and Dry Aged Porterhouse – all favorites all the time.


323 West Palm Avenue Tampa, FL 33602

Of note: Rocca is as fabulous for its housemade pastas as its whole roasted turbot flown in from Spain. The hand-pulled to order mozzarella that rolls up on a tableside cart with a flight of olive oils is a must-taste. So good!


500 Channelside Drive Tampa, FL 33602 

Of note: Lilac is a sophisticated adventure in dining. The dynamic four-course Mediterranean prix-fixe menu is a toast-worthy experience. Not to mention the velvet emerald green banquette seating!




13-15 West Street  London WC2H 9NE London

Of note: Louie is a fantastic restaurant located in a 19th-century townhouse. I love the lively Alligator Bar as well with its New Orleans meets Paris vibe. Try the Oysters, Crispy Calamari, Risotto, Halibut and the Short Ribs (whichever they are serving as the menu changes) BUT do not miss the Red Berries Pavlova. It is nothing short of amazing.


Claridge’s Restaurant
Brook Street Mayfair London W1K 4HR

Of note: Sunday lunch is postcard perfect at Claridge’s newly reopened signature restaurant. Everything is presented just-so! Make sure to have a nightcap at the handsome Fumoir cocktail bar. No trip to London is complete without a taste of this art deco landmark hotel. 


The Wolseley
160 Piccadilly London, W1J 9EB

Of note: Classic, stately, superbly grand. The Wolseley dining room is where you go to satiate all the senses. They are committed to every detail and the dishes are dressed to the nines. 


Mount St. Restaurant
First Floor 41-43 Mount Street London W1K

Of note: The lobster pie at Mount St. Restaurant is as much an art piece as the original works by Matisse, Warhol and other famous artists lining the walls of this super stylish dining room. A stunning spot full of conversation starters. 



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