by TaradeLis - 392 Reviews - 18 List
Los Angeles is home to some of the best restaurants in the country. From fabulous fine dining at Cal-French classics like Melisse to the outrageous creations of Jose Andres at the Bazaar, there's a wide range of tastes to suit a variety of different palates. Naturally, the price tag matches the quality of the food, so be prepared to put a dent in the plastic. (Photo: Patina, by Lauren Noble)
Updated: November 29, 2011
Melisse has become a mainstay among foodies since opening in 1999. The California-influenced French fare is second to none, and the service is stellar. Splurge with the chef's 15-course carte blanche menu, which is $250, plus an additional $95 for wine pairings. It's worth every last cent.
You won't find sushi like this anywhere outside of Japan, from where much of the fish is imported. The restaurant is omakase-only, meaning the chef serves from a set menu that starts at $375. Yes, that's per person. Not including beverages.
The Bazaar set the standard for molecular gastronomy when it opened in 2008. But whimsical dishes such as foie gras cotton candy and olive oil bonbons only tell part of the story. The other half of the menu is comprised of very traditional Spanish tapas such as stuffed piquillo peppers and pa'amb tomaquet. It's fun to mix and match a little of both.
There's a reason that Patina is part of Relais & Chateau, the French organization with strict standards for hospitality and individuality. The professional waitstaff beautifully orchestrate service, and sommelier recommendations are spot-on. Though the French menu is impressive overall, the cheese cart alone is worth the trip.
Legend has it that Hemingway used to go hunting and bring his kill here to be cooked. These days, game is still a specialty at this one-of-a-kind retreat, but it's no longer BYO. Specialties include ostrich, elk and antelope, though there are excellent regular red meat offerings and even vegetarian dishes for the less adventurous. The wine list highlights mostly West Coast producers, and the sommelier doubles as a beer expert.