At n/naka, the highly-acclaimed upscale Japanese restaurant in West Los Angeles, chef Niki Nakayama has secured a place among the foremost chefs in the world of modern kaiseki. For chef Niki, the art of cooking all comes down to feeling, which can be shown through her devotion to the balance of taste, presentation and progression of dishes served. In a meticulous, thoughtfully curated order, with ingredients at the peak of freshness, diners are taken on a 13 course journey through chef Nikki’s kaiseki adventure. Although course dishes at n/naka change seasonally, the Zensai – seasonal ingredients presented as an appetizer – is a perennial favorite.
Spago Beverly Hills
The world famous Spago is the flagship restaurant of the Wolfgang Puck Fine Dining Group located in the heart of Beverly Hills. For lunch and dinner, guests can choose from a seasonal a la carte menu, or explore the best of the west with the chefs’ multi-course California Tasting Menu. The restaurant also offers two private dining rooms with a separate bar for receptions and functions.
Chef Curtis Stone opened his first restaurant, Maude, in February 2014 in Beverly Hills. Named after his paternal grandmother, Stone’s culinary mentor, the intimate 24-seat restaurant draws from seasonal ingredients to create a culinary adventure for guests. The restaurant recently evolved into a new concept offering four menus per year, inspired by the great wine regions of the world.
With a full dining room and patio, Gwen features a stunning interior thanks to a dream realized by Chef Curtis Stone (of Maude) and brother Luke Stone. Gwen is named after their maternal grandmother, who lived outside of a farm outside of Melbourne. This is where they were first exposed to livestock and food which led Curtis to become one of the best chefs (delete apostrophe) in the world. Surrounded by raw meat hanging in aging rooms, blue velvet booths and sparkling chandeliers, guests are in for quite an experience. The restaurant most recently progressed from exclusive tasting menus to an à la carte menu. A ten-course tasting menu, curated by Stone and Executive Chef Gareth Evans, is available to guests who choose to leave their dining experience entirely in the chefs’ hands.
Josiah Citrin brings his culinary philosophy, “In Pursuit of Excellence” to Melisse, a French-New American restaurant in Santa Monica. Using produce from the local Los Angeles farmers markets, Citrin and his partner/chef de cuisine Ken Takayama, combine their technique and finesse found in French cooking, to present forward-thinking tasting menus at Mélisse. With season-driven prix fixe menus, four, seven or ten courses, and a wine list of over 1,000 selections, guests can look forward to signature items, like Chef Citrin’s Egg Caviar in the restaurant’s elegant dining room.
Chef Marcel Vigneron, best known as the runner-up of the second season of Top Chef, opened Wolf in the Spring of 2016. Dedicated to gastronomy, chef Marcel has an affinity for using a knife as an extension of his hand and the kitchen as a lab where he gathers locally sourced and organic ingredients, to create beautiful dishes both in presentation and taste. Bringing his self-described “seasonal Los Angeles cuisine”, Marcel offers snacks, plates, sides which include the popular crispy potatoes, and desserts.
Scratch|Bar & Kitchen
Founded on the principles of preparing food the way it was meant to be, from scratch, Scratch|Bar & Kitchen is chef Phillip Frankland Lee’s personal concept dining experience in Encino. Guests can enjoy an experience tailored specifically to their individual tastes by creating a dialogue with the chef’s, choosing from over 20 ingredients that rotate monthly. For $125/person, guests can choose from this list and watch as the chefs prepare the food in front of you and parse out in 20 courses. Keeping in the “from scratch” philosophy, everything from the aged cheeses, butters, breads, sauces and are made in-house, guests can also enjoy wine pairing for an additional $65/person.
Scopa Italian Roots
At Scopa Italian Roots, chef Antonia Lofaso delivers her interpretation of old-school Italian food which is a reminder of her home in the boroughs of New York. The famed chef, tv personality, cookbook author, and restauranteur brings the simplicity of fresh ingredients with dishes that honors her Italian traditions. Chef Antonia aims to bring people together with old-school Italian food with a modern twist like their popular Rice Ball, which is filled with meat sauce, peas, ricotta, mozzarella, tomato sauce and an option to add an egg on top.
Chef Timothy Hollingsworth presents new American cuisine and strips away the formalities of fine dining at Otium. Located in DTLA adjacent to The Broad, Hollingsworth and his team focus on the quality of food which is on display to all guests through the restaurant’s open bustling kitchen. Guests can either dine inside, at the bar or outside and select from seasonal menus featuring the freshest ingredients, many of which are grown in the vertical gardens on the restaurant’s mezzanine. Menu staples include roast chicken, spinach bucatini and hamachi with mushrooms.
Plant Food and Wine
Located on chic Abbot Kinney Blvd. in Venice, Matthew Kenney’s Plant Food + Wine is a modern plant-based restaurant. Offering both raw and cooked plant-based food, their flagship location occupies what Kenney describes as their, “dream space for a restaurant.” Their menu highlights seasonal, locally sourced ingredients created by Scott Winegard with innovation and nutrition always in mind, and a large wine list of organic and biodynamic varietals. Sit in their backyard patio which hosts a number of edibles, including their own fig and olive trees, herbs, flowers, lettuces, tomatoes, and citrus and try their most-popular dish in the colder months, the cashew raclette.
Red O offers classic Mexican dishes as well as prime steaks and seafood from 2009 Bravo’s Top Chef Master and Red O Culinary Director, chef Rick Bayless. Bayless and his team keep true to the flavors of Mexico through flavorful and inspired preparations of local and sustainable ingredients. Red O first opened on Melrose Ave. in 2010 and since expanded to Santa Monica and other locations in Southern California. Choose from specials like the Mary’s duck taquitos or shrimp diablo and make sure to order the signature passion fruit butter cake for dessert.
Opened in 2009 along the Pacific Coast Highway in Redondo Beach, Hudson House is a gourmet gastropub by “Top Chef” Season 14 Winner Brooke Williamson and her husband and co-chef/owner Nick Roberts. Elevated fare, from light snacks to more substantial entrées for dinner and late-night bites, are paired with new seasonal items like the honeynut squash & wheatberry salad, grilled swordfish nachos and roasted purple yam & lamb Bolognese. To complement the menu, Hudson House offers over 50 domestic craft beers and specialty imports, with more than 25 hailing from California, divided into categories, Dark & Malty, Fruit & Sour, Hoppy, and Blonde & Belgian.
Formerly located on Melrose Avenue, chef Michael Voltaggio opened the highly acclaimed ink. in 2011, before relocating the concept to a larger restaurant and bar space in 2017 called ink.well. Now on La Cienega Blvd., ink.well offers guests a familiar, yet energetic new experience through its expanded concept. Guests can still enjoy Voltaggio’s cutting-edge California cuisine that incorporates classic flavor combinations into imaginative and modern dishes. Along with its main dining area where diners enjoy signature dishes like: salt and charcoal potatoes, egg yolk gnocchi, dill pickled shrimp, and jidori chicken thighs, the space also boasts a detached bar and walk-in friendly “well” area.
Trois Mec is the vision of Ludo Lefebvre, in conjunction with partners Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo (of Animal, Son of a Gun, and Jon & Vinny’s). Opened in June 2013 in an old pizza parlor in a strip mall, Trois Mec, offers a constantly changing five-course tasting menu and operates on a special ticketing system where ‘dining tickets’ are sold on the Trois Mec web site in advance. The small reservations-only spot with seating at 6pm and 8:30pm, features an open kitchen and offers guests an unpretentious fine-dining experience.
Opened in 2007 by the celebrity trio Nancy Silverton, Mario Batali and Joe Bastianich, the upscale casual Italian restaurant features exquisite handmade pastas to grilled beef tagliata to Pastry Chef Dahlia Narvaez’s rosemary olive oil cakes. Sit at the centerpiece of the restaurant, a white Carrara marble Mozzarella Bar where Nancy composes a long list of small dishes featuring fresh imported mozzarella as well as ricotta and cream-filled burrata. For a more formal dinner, take a seat in their dining room and choose a classic pasta dish paired with one of the best wine lists in the city.
The Ponte Ristorante
The Ponte in Beverly Grove marks celebrity-chef Scott Conant’s return to Los Angeles. Conant presents a contemporary Italian restaurant featuring a soulful menu and a mix of classic and modern cocktails along with an impressive wine list. Enjoy drinks, dinner or brunch in the elegant dining lounge and room; the sprawling bar; or the restaurant’s splendid backyard patio. Standout dishes include the veal & pork polpette, wood roasted prawns, peach and proscuitto burrata salad and the pasta al pomodoro.
Craft Los Angeles
Craft, brought to LA by Chef Tom Colicchio, features a focused menu of chef de cuisine Denis Crutchfield’s simple dishes designed to showcase the integrity of a single ingredient along with pastry chef Shannon Swindle delectable desserts. Highlighting the finest products from small farms and artisanal producers are shown through popular dishes like the avocado salad, sorrel and spiced peanuts and roasted octopus with romanesco.
The Bazaar by José Andrés
SLS Hotel, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Beverly Hills
Chef José Andrés, often credited as bringing the small plate fine-dining trend to America, offers a playful and cutting-edge Spanish dining experience at the SLS Hotel, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Beverly Hills. Andrés allows guests to choose from a selection of traditional and modern tapas, entrées, delicate sweets, and Spanish-focused beverages including unique and rare spirits, wines, ciders, and aperitivos. His cutting edge culinary style and bold Spanish flavors shine in plates such as cotton candy foie gras, coffee rubbed American wagyu flat iron, “philly cheesesteak”, and not your everyday caprésé.
At Urasawa, chef Hiroyuki Urasawa delights guests with a truly exclusive kaiseki feast in Beverly Hills. At the sushi bar that seats no more than eight diners, guests splurge on a multiple course tasting menu comprised of rare and organic ingredients freshly flown in from Japan and around the globe. The menu changes seasonally and the sushi is carefully crafted by chef Urasawa with warm rice and brushe with soy sauce and a touch of yuzu. Studying under the direction of sushi master Masa Takayama, Urasawa brings a more traditional twist on classics.
JAR serves retro dishes from the American culinary repertoire, including chef Suzanne Tracht’s signature pot roast, Kansas City steak, and perfect martinis. Vegetables and starters change with the seasons with main dishes featuring a variety of fish and meats from the broiler and the roasting pan.
CUT by Wolfgang Puck
Beverly Wilshire, A Four Seasons Hotel
Regarded as one of the best steakhouses in the city, CUT by Wolfgang Puck offers a contemporary twist on the classic steak restaurant. The menu highlights favorite dishes such as bone marrow flan, lobster & crab “Louis” cocktail and various cuts of the finest beef from regions across the globe, complemented by an extensive international wine list. Open for dinner only, CUT also features a private dining room, Petit CUT, complete with a private VIP entrance.