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Birthday Dinner with a nice bottle of Bordeaux?

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I'm turning 35 this weekend, and want to not only celebrate the birthday, but commemorate last summer's trip to France.

First thought was Melisse in Santa Monica, but the reviews seem a bit mixed and slipping down.

Is there still some luster at Melisse? Is there a better place? If I'm going out to have a once-a-year type meal, what's the place to look for now? I like French, and French-infused cooking, love a good cheese plate, and the bottle of Bordeaux or a lusty St. Emilion seem to be the guiding force behind this meal.

Suggestions?

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  1. Oh, Melisse still tops many fine French restaurants in LA. That, along with LaCachette, L'Orangerie, Jiraffe, and Bel-Air Dining Room. I suppose it depends on what sort of ambience you want. Melisse has quite the lighted, airy dining room, and the chef can be a bit experimental (he once worked at Patina, and was a surfer - not that that matters to his cooking =); Jiraffe has a very romantic upstairs; LaCachette is truly a quaint restaurant, and the chef is quite a conversationalist and also an experimentalist - his specials are quite novel creations with great pairings; L'Orangerie and Bel-Air have some of the most grand settings (I love the garden at Bel-Air); and Mimosa is for something a bit more traditionally French - I'm only listing this because you'll probably find something here that you normally won't find elsewhere but in France.

    Best wishes, and HAPPY birthday!

    1. I'd take it to Sona. Just look at the menu:

      www.sonarestaurant.com

      I wouldn't consider Jiraffe a top restaurant in LA and Bel-air wasn't that impressive either. The garden is nice, but the food isn't standout.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Porthos

        Sona looks like an excellent recommendation. It's now on my list.

      2. Great suggestions, thanks for the ideas! It's a coin flip between Sona & Melisse right now.

        La Cachette sounds terrific too, and has made the list as well.

        Happy Birthday to me! How can I lose?

        1 Reply
        1. re: Detroit Slim

          You know, if you let the chef and sommelier know which bordeaux you have, maybe they can create a custom spontanée tasting for that. If that happens, you MUST post on the experience.