Monday, September 23

Boulevard Bites: Fountain Coffee Room’s vintage vibes not enough to overcome high prices

The Beverly Hills Hotel's cafe Fountain Coffee Room serves expensive breakfast such as a buttery waffle for $15 and a side of fruit for $7. The iconic hotel provides a backdrop perfect for people-watching on Sunset Boulevard. (Angelina Ruiz/Daily Bruin)

The Beverly Hills Hotel's cafe Fountain Coffee Room serves expensive breakfast such as a buttery waffle for $15 and a side of fruit for $7. The iconic hotel provides a backdrop perfect for people-watching on Sunset Boulevard. (Angelina Ruiz/Daily Bruin)

The Coffee Room 9641 Sunset Blvd, Beverly Hills, CA 90210

Be prepared to pay the price of eating among the stars at the Fountain Coffee Room.

Tucked away on the lower level of the iconic peachy-pink Beverly Hills Hotel on Sunset Boulevard, the Fountain Coffee Room has served as a retro breakfast spot for Hollywood stars since 1949. Its all-day, American-style breakfast, vintage theme and Beverly Hills location contribute to a quintessential Los Angeles experience. However, despite the hotel’s glamorous reputation, the restaurant and the food it serves are not worth its sky-high prices.

After entering through a pair of glass doors, the sweet smell of pancakes and waffles permeate the air. Although the lighting is dim – the only windows open ontoa descending spiral staircase – the general atmosphere is brightened by curious characters and animated conversations.

Nineteen white barstools sit around the kitchen with green leather cushions that match the restaurant’s signature banana-leaf wallpaper. Across the countertop, pink placemats and pink napkins feature the Beverly Hills Hotel crest in white embroidery. The counter setting and lack of tables create a cozy 1950s diner vibe.

The bar also fosters easy conversation between the friendly servers and the guests, making it feel like a meal at home. One customer complimented a server’s new haircut and another customer shared pictures of his dog.

Young British men ordered freshly squeezed orange juice and planned their itinerary for exploring LA. On the other side, men in sharp suits grabbed coffee to go next to two older women wearing knit cardigans and chatting over their white ceramic mugs of hot tea. The kidney-shaped seating arrangement allows for a great people-watching experience.

The menu features typical breakfast goods such as classic eggs Benedict and Silver Dollar Buttermilk Pancakes, as well as brunch selections such as hot grilled sandwiches and healthier mixed-greens salads.

Contributing to that nostalgic 1950s charm, customers can order old-fashioned milkshakes and ice cream sundaes topped with whipped cream and chopped nuts.

However, be warned – the five-star hotel serves five dollar-sign meals.

The $15 Belgian waffle came on a large plate with a simple sliced strawberry and a tiny scoop of butter on top. After pouring a pool of syrup, the golden-brown waffle offered a savory crunch that complemented the amber-colored, sugary maple flavors.

The waffle by itself fell short of anything exciting or particularly remarkable. Although a small bowl of mixed strawberries, blueberries and blackberries provided more color to the waffle and extra bursts of zesty flavor, its hefty cost of $7 make it an expensive addition. Added together, with the price of a $6 cup of ordinary black coffee, the subtotal of such a lackluster breakfast for one was about $28.

The simple breakfast did not capture the Hollywood dazzle that such a price suggests. Students can get the same breakfast at the De Neve dining hall for the same quality at a much cheaper price.

The throwback vintage vibes, interactive servers and capacity for people watching made for a positive LA brunch experience, yet the food was nothing extraordinary. The Fountain Coffee Room is only good for students looking to cross off iconic places from their bucket lists, but is not recommended for anyone on a budget.

Read more Boulevard Bites: 

Three ramen shops battle to be the best bowl on Sawtelle Boulevard

The Butcher’s Daughter’s healthy, versatile menu is a vegetarian delight

The Tuck Room Tavern offers tasty options for Valentine’s Day dates

Taste of Tehran provides wide range of Persian dishes

Tacos Tu Madre’s bland tacos fall short despite shop’s colorful aesthetic

Hamasaku boasts quality sushi, vibrant presentation

The OP Cafe’s beachy bites make for a solid brunch

Inconsistent quality eclipses original flavors of Cake and Art

Ramayani offers authentic, affordable Indonesian cuisine

8oz Poke floats above the rest with dynamic flavors, high-quality fish

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  • hankscott

    And then there’s the fact that the hotel is owned by the Sultan of Brunei, who has implemented a vicious form of Sharia law that calls for death by stoning for gay people and women who have sex outside of marriage. Give your wallet, and your conscience, a break and try IHOP instead.