#1 rec for 10th Anniversary
I am from Bay Area but will be in LA vicinity for our 10th. Where to go? We're all about the food, wine/drinks not important.
A little research has me looking at The Dining Room (Pasadena), Melisse, or Maison Akira. Would you recommend one of these or something else?
I like the ritz. However if you are a seafood fan go to Providence and have one of their tasting menus with the wine flights (Awesome!)
If it truely is ..."were all about the food"...then forget about the Dining Room & Melisse, as you have all the high-end French spots back in S.F. IMHO, when you travel the thing to do is par-take what you can't get back home!! According to menupages.com S.F. has 121 French restaurants out of 2,173.
My Birthday was last month, I had the option of going anywhere I wanted, and I chose Mako as the owner/operator/chef has exceptional culinary talent!!!! And unlike Wolfgang, who you'd hope to be in the kitchen at Spago, but is actually doing a meet-&-greet at Cut (or selling some pots & pans on T.V.), is actually in the kitchen!!
I have a friend from Sydney with ample financial resources who chooses to stay for 45+ days every year at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel for 2 reasons; one of which is so that he can walk to Mako (which he does 1 out of every 3 nights while he's in L.A.).
Mason Akira v.s. Mako? I, obviously, would (did) choose Mako!
Mako Bonus Points - You can walk to Cut (Beverly Wilshire Hotel), Spago, & Mastro's if you want to check out some L.A. scene/vibe afterwards.......
~ Or ~ If money isn't a limiting factor, then you could go (2 blocks from Mako) to Urasawa at $250 per person (food only) = Ultimate L.A. dining experience which nobody from S.F., that I can remember reading, has posted anything similar in "QUALITY" in the Bay Area.
218 N. Rodeo Dr.
I concur with JBC that if it is really all about the food, then MAKO is a solid choice.
Also, if budget is of no concern, also consider URASAWA.
Lastly, if you want to be a bit different, I would suggest BABITA for Mexican. The atmosphere may be a bit austere (it's a little cubby-hole on a street corner), but it does fantastic haute-Mexican cuisine.
1823 South San Gabriel Blvd.
San Gabriel, CA 91776
From your short list, I would recommend Melisse. If budget isn't an issue, and you want something that isn't easy to replicate in SF, I would second the recommendation for Urasawa.
We usually eat Asian often, so I don't know about Mako for the special occasion, maybe we'll get to try it on another day. Urasawa does sound tempting but is more $ than planned, I would probably aim for up to around $100/pp for food.
if you're serious carnivores, and don't mind a bit of a drive, saddle peak lodge in calabasas. game-heavy new american menu in a truly special upscale-hunting-lodge-in-the-woods setting. it's my favorite special occasion spot. definitely doable for $100/pp for food.
Mako is very good, but it's not very romantic for a birthday dinner. I haven't been to the 3 places you are looking at, but if I would recommend the tasting menu at Providence. We did our anniversary there, and it was amazing. They always throw in some extra courses, so be sure to mention your anniversary so that you get an extra dessert course. :)
Yes I would agree-Providence. The tasting menu is fantastic-sophisticated cooking, but always surprising. service is impecccable and it's a place you can have a conversation Definitely let them know that you are celebrating an anniversary. Donato will treat you well.
Any number of great suggestions. Sounds like you've ruled out Asian, so I'll refrain from suggesting that. Given that it will close soon and that it has about as anniversary an ambience as you can get, I'd go for L'Orangerie. It'll cost a little more than your limit, but 10 years is a big deal.
As between Spago and Providence, I prefer the former, but at that point it really becomes a matter of preference and taste than absolute quality.
Also, you might want to consider TABLE ONE at the Hotel Bel-Air. Quite good. Dunno if they'll do a seating just for 2, but never hurts to inquire.
My vote considers whether ambience tilts the scales. I believe it does, and thus would say Spago. Yes, food is fantastic at Providence and I believe a meal there is incomparable for its ingredients sourcing and preparation. Somehow, though, Spago has never let its star quotient diminish the aim of serving up food that has a star power of its own. When you say that you celebrated your tenth wedding anniversary by flying into Los Angeles and having dinner st Spago's, well, that's just freakin' cool.
And rarely has it been said with dissappointment.