Seeing Stars: Restaurants Owned by the Stars

8478 Melrose Ave.,
West Hollywood, CA / (323) 655-6333

Ago restaurant, includes among its owner-investors: two-time Oscar winner Robert De Niro ("Taxi Driver," "Raging Bull"), actor Christopher Walken ("The Dead Zone," "The Deer Hunter"), Miramax's executive producers Harvey & Bob Weinstein ("Scream," "The English Patient," and "Pulp Fiction"), and director Ridley Scott ("Alien," "Blade Runner," and "Thelma & Louise").

And that's not to mention chef Agostino Sciandri - the restaurant's named after him. (It's pronounced "AH-go.")

Spottings at Ago include  Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie (on Oscar night), Jennifer Lawrence, Bruce Willis, Kristen Stewart, George Clooney, Jennifer Lopez, Robert Pattinson, Jessica Alba, Drew Barrymore, Leah Remini, Eva Longoria, Sylvester Stallone, Salma Hayek, Johnny Depp, Tobey Maguire, and Lana Del Rey.

Ago restaurant was the scene of an infamous lunchtime encounter on Oct. 22, 1997 between "Pulp Fiction." director Quentin Tarantino and producer Don Murphy ("Natural Born Killers"). According to news reports, Tarantino, angered at criticism about him in the book, "Killer Instinct" (which was written by Murphy's producing partner), attacked Murphy in the restaurant. The police were called and Tarantino spent some time in the back of a squad car before a truce was negotiated and he was released. Said Tarantino: "I really think I slapped some respect into the guy." Murphy decided not to press criminal charges, but later sued Tarantino for the assault. The casewas settled out of court.

In 2010, George Clooney showed up driving a Tesla electric.

The L.A. Times reports that Jerry Seinfeld, Peter Weller, Jim Carrey, Rob Lowe and James Woods are also customers of this "New Yorkish" Italian eatery.

E!Online reports 2003 sightings of Bruce Willis, Ellen Degeneres and Michael Keaton.

2000 saw Ago hosting the pre-Oscar party for "Cider House Rules" with celebs including Michael Caine, Lauren Holly, Tobey Maguire, Stephen Dorff, Dylan McDermott and Chloë Sevigny.


Columnist Army Acherd reported in January of 1999 that Elizabeth Taylor and Rod Steiger hosted "Life is Beautiful" stars Roberto Benigni & Nicoletta Braschi at Ago, and during the meal their table was visited by Brooke Shields, Lionel Ritchie, Drew Barrymore and Lorna Luft.

Mr. Archerd also reported that
Warren BeattySean Penn were meeting there at nights (in July of 2001) to discuss an upcoming movie project where Penn would direct Beatty. He also spotted Marlon Brando and Sean Penn at Ago one day in June of 1998, "cooking up a picture project," when they were joined at their table by Garry Shandling. reports spottings of Mark Wahlberg, Shannen Doherty, Rosanna Arquette and Sean Young.

And in March of 1999, Robert De Niro had a birthday party thrown for him at Ago, with guests including “Analyze This” costar Billy Crystal.

The roomy restaurant serves the same kind of Tuscan cuisine served at Sciandri's other restaurant, Tuscana (in Brentwood), including very good upscale pastas, pizzas from a wood-burning brick oven, risotto, and the chef's specialty: bistecca alla fiorentina, a 20-ounce T-bone steak grilled at your table. In fact, De Niro chose Agostino because De Niro has been eating at Tuscana for years.

They're open seven days a week for dinner, and weekdays for lunch. Prices are high. Service can be rushed.

Side note: Up until 1997, this same address was the site of Cicada, a popular country-French restaurant owned by Elton John's lyricist, Bernie Taupin (the man who wrote the words to hits such as "Candle in the Wind" and "Goodbye Yellowbrick Road") and Taupin's wife & maitre d', Stephanie Haymes (daughter of actor/singer Dick Haymes). Cicada has now moved to the old Rex site at 617 S. Olive St., downtown Los Angeles - where the Julia Roberts' famous escargot restaurant scene from "Pretty Woman" was filmed ("Slippery little devils!").]

Getting there: Ago is located on south side of Melrose Avenue, one half block east of La Cienega, about a half mile northeast of the Beverly Center mall.  

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