Is Tom Tom Restaurant & Bar in Los Angeles Actually Good?

Getty Tom Sandoval and Tom Schwartz

Real Housewives of Beverly Hills star Lisa Vanderpump, whose slew of restaurants are featured on her spin-off series, Vanderpump Rules, has officially added a new hot spot to her block of Los Angeles eateries. Now, in addition to SUR Restaurant and Lounge, PUMP, and Villa Blanca, there’s Tom Tom Restaurant & Bar, aptly named for Vanderpump’s co-owners, Tom Schwartz and Tom Sandoval. The new restaurant is located in the heart of West Hollywood, right around the corner from PUMP and SUR.

According to Eater LA, it took 15 months to transform the 2,000 square feet space located at 8932 Santa Monica Boulevard. While Tom Tom held a private soft-opening party in July 2018, the restaurant didn’t officially open its doors to the public until August 9, and even then, the kitchen wasn’t fully up and running, they were only serving drinks. Come 2019, the restaurant is now in full swing, and regularly has a line patrons waiting around the block to get in.

The space is designed by Nick Alain, who also styled Vanderpump’s upcoming Las Vegas spot, Vanderpump’s Cocktail Garden in Caesar’s Palace, which is set to open March 30.

At Tom Tom, Alain’s industrial style of decor is instantly evident. The main area inside features a massive gold clock behind the bar, brass chandeliers hanging from the ceilings, with pops of color stemming in from the magenta, violet and dark blue velvet benches and bar seats. Overall, it’s a completely confusing mishmash of steampunk and luxury.

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🕰 Decor by #TomTom!

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The partially covered back patio is the restaurant’s most appealing area for dining. It’s extremely spacious, and with natural light flooding in over plant and flower arrangements, it’s a chill, modern garden party vibe that’s perfect for Sunday brunch.

Price wise, Tom Tom is cheaper than Vanderpump’s other locations, but keep in mind that the focus here is on drinks, not the food. And like any of the Vanderpump restaurants, nobody is actually going there for the top-notch dining. This is Tom Tom, not Tom Colicchio’s Craft LA.

People go to Vanderpump restaurants because they love the show, and are hoping to see one or more the beloved cast members. Plus, who doesn’t love a good fruity cocktail?

Tom Tom’s is like the Monk’s Diner of Seinfeld or Central Perk from Friends. Even though Jerry Seinfeld and company filmed the series in LA, people still flock to Morning Side Heights in New York City to see the familiar awning, and people pay to take the Warner Bros. tour just to take pictures on the iconic couch holding a giant coffee mug.

People spend money to go and visit Monk’s and Central Perk, and there’s zero chance of walking in and seeing Jason Alexander eating a turkey sandwich, or Jennifer Aniston having a cup of joe with Courteney Cox. Vanderpump is a genius because not only can fans have dinner and drinks at any one of her bars and restaurants regularly seen on TV, you could find yourself one table away from Lala Kent, Stassi Schroeder, James Kennedy, Ariana Medix, and Kate Maloney-Schwartz.

While the dream is to be immersed into the glamorous world of Vanderpump Rules, the reality is, if you go during peak hours, you’ll wait in a long line outside, before going inside and sitting down in a crowded restaurant that serves mediocre food. Plus, the odds of seeing a cast member is extremely rare. You’d have be there on the right night, and at the right time, which could be any night, and at any time.

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FINALLY AT TOMTOM

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However, there’s always the hope of seeing non-show celebs, too. Lady Gaga, Chrissy Teigen and husband John Legend, Selena Gomez, Miley Cyrus, rapper Eve, and Darren Criss with wife Mia, have all stopped by in 2019.

While Jerry O’Connell wrote Tom Tom a rousing review on Yelp, the restaurant is rated 3.5 stars based on 361 submitted evaluations. The mediocre rating is likely due to patrons going to the famous establishment and expecting their dinner, which can include brioche kobe beef sliders, spicy cauliflower “wings,” Ken’s crispy chicken sandwich, London tandoori chicken, Bubbapump shrimp jicama tacos, and Lisa’s vegan rigatoni, to be the best part of the evening.

While Bravo proudly touts that Tom Tom was named the best bar in Southern California by Los Angeles Travel Magazine, it’s an award based purely on reader’s votes. And because the contest was promoted by the stars of Vanderpump Rules, each having about a million of followers on social media, the competition was almost unfair.

Overall, there’s an unquestionable enigmatic pull to the new Vanderpump restaurant, and if you’re a die-hard Pump fan that must dine at Tom Tom, wait a year to go. By then, the line to get in will have likely died down, and the food quality might’ve gone up.

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