Is that black Amex card burning a hole in your wallet? We know a few chefs who would gladly help you make good use of it. From sushi to steak to foie gras cotton candy, here are some of L.A.s most decadently delicious (and expensive) restaurants for when you want to spend some serious dough on dinner. — Katie Robbins
218 N. Rodeo Dr.
Beverly Hills, CA 90210
Sushi purists save for years to pay for a single meal at this simple, elegant Beverly Hills landmark. Dinner for two can easily set you back a cool grand, but Urasawa acolytes insist it’s worth it for Hiro-san’s unimaginably fresh fish creations like straight-from-the-tank sweet shrimp; chopped horse mackerel with miso; and a sublimely delicate sesame tofu bun filled with uni and literally topped with glistening gold.
2100 W Oceanfront
Newport Beach, CA 92663
It’s all about expense-account-excess at Newport Beach’s elegant homage to the classic, clubby steakhouse. Pair a three thousand dollar bottle of Cab from the award-winning wine list with the sensuous seared abalone steak ($130) or the market price surf and turf, and then sit back and enjoy the namesake oceanfront view.
176 N Canon Dr
Beverly Hills, CA 90210
Spago, the airy, elegant Beverly Hills flagship of Wolfgang Puck’s culinary empire, is still catering to L.A.’s high rollers and boldface names. For lunch, opt for Puck classics like the signature smoked salmon pizza. For dinner, splurge on an epicurean excursion into executive chef Lee Hefter’s ingenious tasting menu including an amuse bouche of spicy tuna tartare, tender, earthy roast duck and desserts made by master pastry chef Sherry Yard.
5955 Melrose Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90038
Providence is chef Michael Cimarusti’s two Michelin star rated ode to the ocean, featuring impossibly fresh seafood (and the occasional beautiful cut of meat) made with stunningly inventive preparations that combine the best of Japanese, French, and Californian cuisine. For $250 (including wine pairings), place yourself in Cimarusti’s capable hands for the chef’s menu that continues to wow with every course. For a sweet tooth splurge, try executive pastry chef Adrian R. Vasquez’s playful dessert tasting ($85 with pairings.)
SLS at Beverly Hills
465 South La Cienega Boulevard
Beverly Hills, CA 90048
Tucked inside chef Jose Andres’ James Beard Award-winning larger restaurant, The Bazaar, is Saam, the chef’s secluded tasting room, which three days a week serves an epic 20-movement meal. Each tiny course, from the surprising liquid “olives” to the effervescent hot and cold foie soup, makes up for its diminutive size by packing a powerful punch of flavor and creativity – and a hefty price tag. The meal will set you back $120 per person. Double that to try the beverage pairing with Dom Perignon 2000, or stick to the exclusive Saam wine list, which features plenty of bottles for more than a grand.
4200 East Palm Canyon Drive
Palm Springs, CA 92264
Much of the daytime menu at Norma’s — the upscale diner in the vibrantly lavish Parker Palm Springs resort — feels like a splurge. For a meal eaten before sunset, think decadent dishes like foie gras brioche French toast or the fruit filled waffle with a crème brûlée top. But the breakfast that really breaks the bank is the “Zillion Dollar Lobster Frittata,” toped with 10 oz of Sevruga caviar, which given the dish’s name, goes for a relatively reasonable $1000.
9500 Wilshire Blvd.
Beverly Hills, CA 90212
Any cut of meat served to you in this slick, modern steakhouse, designed by renowned architect Richard Meier, will send you on a joyous journey into beef-induced euphoria. It will also set you back a pretty penny. But for a truly extravagant evening (plan to spend around $500 for dinner and drinks for two), the rich, buttery Japanese waygu, coveted by carnivores the world over for its fatty marbling, cannot be beat.
Studio Restaurant at Montage Laguna Beach
30801 South Coast Highway
Laguna Beach, CA 92651
The sweeping views of the Pacific Ocean set the scene for Chef James Boyce’s seasonal French-California cuisine — the best of which is represented in the $200 tasting menu which includes wine pairings. This decadent spread guides you from sea (like the delicate hamachi sashimi) to soil (a gamey but succulent sautéed venison) paired with wines from Studio’s impressively vast cellars. For vegetarians, there’s also an excellent vegetable tasting menu.
6703 Melrose Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90038
The new incarnation of Hatfield’s, which opened its doors in February 2010, has been winning raves for its dimly lit, coolly austere interior and for chef Quinn Hatfield’s lively yet elegant takes on market driven French-California cuisine. At $98 the chef’s Spontanée menu is certainly a splurge, but for ten flavorful, creative courses made with the finest local ingredients, it may well be the best deal in town.