Patti Stanger's Rules for Dating and Dining
by jen jones donatelli
It’s an impossibly perfect Malibu afternoon at Nobu, and Patti Stanger is more than ready to relax with a Lemon Chia Fizz libation and a table full of treats—from artichoke salad to scallop truffle chips to Malibu “Takumi” burgers. But before she can indulge, Stanger is interrupted by a friendly face: Suze Orman, a fellow former Oprah Winfrey Show guest with whom she’d appeared on The Wendy Williams Show just one month earlier.
Though star encounters are commonplace at this oceanside Japanese hot spot, this one is particularly fitting—after all, Orman makes millionaires and Stanger helps them find love. It’s all part of Stanger’s job as the brazen star of Bravo’s The Millionaire Matchmaker and the founder of millionairesclub123.com, an exclusive Marina del Rey–based matchmaking service that helps the wealthy snag their soul mates. Since founding the club more than 13 years ago, Stanger has seen it all—and she’ll happily dish about it over Nobu nibbles.
On the show, you espouse old-fashioned values like the man picking up the tab. At what point in the relationship should a couple go to dinner?
PATTI STANGER: If a man has money, he should take you to dinner on the first date. My philosophy is if you do coffee, you’re cheap; if you do lunch, it’s an interview; if you do drinks, you’re auditioning; and if you do dinner, it’s romance.
When coaching clients, what are your top tips on what to order?
PS: Guys like hearty food, girls like lighter fare. Seafood and sushi are wonderful because they’re light; you can’t really gorge on big pastas and heavy items like risotto until you’re in a relationship. I also wouldn’t order lobster unless the gentleman invites you to order whatever you want. As for cocktails, I believe in a two-drink maximum. Nothing good can happen after a third drink! However, I do love Rosa Regale sparkling wine, as well as espresso martinis—the only pick-me-up you’ll ever need. I’m also a big believer in mint mojitos; they make your breath taste fresher.
Do you have any tried-and-true aphrodisiac recommendations?
PS: I totally believe in seafood—salmon, oysters, and tuna all have aphrodisiac properties. That’s why I love it here. I also love sake because [most are] gluten-free and don’t have sulfites. They say pomegranate is also an aphrodisiac.
What are some of your favorite spots for LA singles to mix and mingle?
PS: LA is a rough town. It’s so spread out. You have to decide whether you want the surfer dude from Manhattan Beach or the artsy dude from Los Feliz. Manhattan Beach is filled with men—that town is cranking swinging singles. It’s full of really expensive restaurants like The Strand House and Shade. Fonz’s is a really great hangout; all the guys go to the bar and drink beers, then the girls come in, and they’ll all move over to get steaks. I’ve met tons of guys just sitting at a table with my girlfriends.
Private clubs like 41 Ocean and Soho House are gaining ground here in town. Are your millionaires part of that scene?
PS: I’m actually talking to partners and investors right now about building a Millionaire’s Club, which would be half-private and half-regular. It would encompass three levels: restaurant/bar/ hotel. In Florida, we have these dessert bars where you play backgammon and listen to great music, and you actually can hear yourself talk. [Here in LA], there is no place like that. I don’t need to hear techno music blaring in my ears. I want a quiet place that is upscale and caters to the 35-plus crowd. Got some pennies in your pocket? Want a nice place to lay back and lounge? That’s going to be my spot.
You met your boyfriend, David Krause, on the website POF (Plenty of Fish). What’s been your most memorable date in LA so far?
PS: Probably The Getty, where we went on our second date. He didn’t know who I was [yet], and everyone kept coming up for an autograph. We got really lit on boxed wine, and when we went inside, we went to the Arbus exhibit because we’re both really into photography; I was obsessed with Diane Arbus as a teenager. We made out right by Anderson Cooper’s [baby] photo!
What is the most lavish date you’ve seen your millionaires spring for?
PS: A big producer took someone to the Academy Awards on a first date. His movie was nominated, and he called me at 7 AM because his date had cancelled. I told him, “I know the perfect girl, but she doesn’t have a dress.” He said, “I’m taking care of it,” and Gucci brought a dress over—next thing I know, she was on the red carpet.
Do you believe the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach?
PS: One hundred percent. I’m actually writing a book called Mancatcher Meals, but it’s taking a while for me to perfect all of the recipes. [David and I] cook together all the time. We’re always in the kitchen.
Since founding the club in 2000, you’ve branched out so much—but it all comes back to matchmaking.
PS: I will never stop matchmaking, and I’ll still be doing it when I’m rich and old and gray. When I’m on my deathbed, I’ll be like, “You, doctor, over here! You need to meet the nurse.” That’s going to be me.
Nobu Malibu, 22706 Pacific Coast Hwy., Malibu, 310-317-9140
photography by david johnson
We go behind the scenes with James Marsden, and ask him about the shoot, living in LA, and what's next.