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Spago Bev Hills @ Lunch

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Dearest Hounds ~

In an attempt to check off a few must-try restaurants before we leave for the east coast for graduate school, my girlfriend and I have made plans to dine at such hotspots as Pizzeria Mozza, Campanile, and Spago (among others). Since many of these culinary treasures are out of our normal dining budget, we thought we might be able to save a few bucks by opting for lunch reservations rather than dinner. That said, I do have a few questions about lunch at Spago, and your insights would be greatly appreciated. If time and date matters, we're booked for Saturday, March 3rd @ 2pm.

So, here goes:

1) Indoors or out? I hear there's a lovely garden patio at Spago. Is that the place to sit? How likely is the restaurant to accomodate a request for a particular table?

2) Is the lunch menu any more affordable than the dinner menu? Or does it make no difference at a place like Spago? Also, is the lunch menu limited - meaning, are certain entrees not offered at lunch?

3) We'll have a budget of about $100. Neither of us drink, so we'll likely just order water to drink, as is our usual custom. If we split an appetizer, order 2 entrees, and split a dessert, should $100 be enough?

4) Is the tip included in the bill?

5) And finally, I'd be interested to hear what you all think are the MUSTS at Spago. Best options for appetizer? Entree? Dessert? My girlfriend rarely eats beef, so chicken/pork/seafood dishes are a better bet for her. As for myself, I like a nice hunk of beef every now and then, but will gladly try anything that's the house specialty.

Thanks in advance for any and all help!

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  1. 1. Definitely sit outdoors!
    2. Dinner is pricier. Check out the menus online: http://www.wolfgangpuck.com/restauran...
    3. See #2
    4. No.
    5. I love their agnolotti -- but, really, everything is quite good. Goulash and schnitzel are solid takes on the Austrian classics; if you want to go totally '80s, get the smoked salmon pizza. :) And although I haven't tried it, my husband says they make an excellent burger at the bar.

    Spago is an LA institution and I understand your desire to want to check it out before moving away. But if you really want a terrific, higher end dining experience that is signficantly less expensive, you've got to go to Hatfield's before you move. The place flat-out rocks.

    http://infinitefress.blogspot.com/200...

    3 Replies
    1. re: hungrygirl106

      the schnitzel is as big as a frisbee.
      i havent tried it, but it didnt look particularly fine. i mean, its a big piece of fried meat! ok, i know i've made someone mad...
      i've only had the tasting menu... and that was a few years ago... definitely sit in the patio, the main dining room feels cheesy...

      1. re: modernist

        The main dining room is beyond cheesy. It's where everything bad about '80s decor went to die. Which is astonishing because the original location on Sunset had a much better room and that actually was designed in the 80s.

        1. re: hungrygirl106

          yeah it feels orange county to the max in there. i liked the old spago location too, although i only managed to eat there like twice.

          i also agree on hatfields. tried to make reservations there for tonight for a party of five but there was no space.

    2. I don't know that I can answer all of your questions, because I was there last June while traveling and I don't remember everything, BUT it was wonderful! I am not sure that $100 will cover everything you want to order for lunch. We were there for my boyfriend's birthday and did splurge a bit, but I still think $100 won't be enough. We sat at a table that was half inside/half outside. It was pretty cool. The garden patio is lovely and if you call ahead as we did, I am sure they will do their best to accommodate you. I remember my boyfriend had a cheeseburger (yeah, believe that or not. LOL go to Spago for a cheeseburger!) I had the linguine with lamb meatballs. DELICIOUS! They brought out this fabulous chocolate layer cake for his birthday and it was so very, very tasty! For appetizers, I remember we had oysters, but I can't remember what else. The oysters were great!

      The tip was not included in the bill.

      Enjoy it! It really was a great meal and a fun experience.

      1. Just remember that smokers will be outside.

        1. I believe there was some discussion about this a few months ago, but basically it is allowed to smoke anywhere that is outside (except in Calabasas) and a few places that really seem like they are inside, such as the patio at Opus and the patio at James Beach. People have definitely complained about this at Spago but as of now I don't think they've changed their policy.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Chowpatty

            You can smoke at Spago on the patio.

          2. In my opinion, the agnolotti is the star of the show, though the whole tasting menu is very good.

            1. We dined there for lunch about 6 weeks ago. Same circumstances, my very foodie friend wants to try everything before she moves to the bay area. So, our tab was about $84 total B-4 tax,tip and a bottle of wine that we finished into the late afternoon. Here’s what we ordered

              Roasted Chino Farm Beet Layer Cake with $14
              Warm Sauteed Goat Cheese, Arugula and Shallot-Citrus Dressing

              Sweet Pea and warm Mascarpone Agnoletti with $15
              Marjoram and Parmesan-Reggiano

              Pizza with Duck Sausage which we took home entirely $16

              A Wolfgang Puck’s childhood specialty: Calves Liver in a wine reduction $27 approx.

              A delicious dessert that I can’t recall since I’ve traveled so much in the last 6 weeks. it was Pyramid of something with homemade ice cream About $12

              Wolf. came by and chatted for awhile, and we felt right at home. I would order the same thing, except for the pizza, because it was too heavy, although it was great the next day. Laurent, the Maitre-D, suggested we call ahead and he would arrange for a tasting menu at lunch, about $80 each.
              Enjoy!!
              Cecilai

              1. We ate dinner there on Sunday eveing. We hadn't been in a while but a friend was in from out of town and it was her birthday and they were staying at the Regent Beverly Wishire (and CUT was closed) so we were a party of 6 at Spago.

                Here goes:
                Our table was in the main dining room-- right in the way of the diners being seated and the food coming in and out of the dining room.
                I like the patio but the smoke would drive me crazy.

                My appetizer was the agniolotti-- celery root with shaved bluck truffle on top ($31, I think).
                The chicken entree also had shaved black truffle on top which brought the cost of the chicken dish up to $41
                My entree was the seared ahi. It was not seared. It was cooked. The server didn't seem interested in hearing that my fish was overcooked-- he never came by to check on our entrees.
                For dessert, we ordered the Kaiserschmarren with strawberries (against the suggestion of our server). It was wonderful and it was $14. The chocolate cake that the server suggested wasn't a big hit.

                Our server was nice but the entree snafu was annoying. I told the gentleman who took my fish away that it was overcooked and he said he'd tell the kitchen but nobody ever came by to say anything to me about it.

                It wasn't our best meal there. We hadn't been in about 2 years and I thought it wasn't terribly exciting.

                For something more fun, go to Sidebar at the Beverly Wilshire. It is the bar across from CUT. It is only open at night but they have a bar menu and I am pretty sure you can order off the CUT menu. My husband and I went on Valentine's day and we each had a drink, an order of Kobe Beef Roadslide sliders, we shared an order of onion rings and a dessert and I think it came to about $80+ tip. Lee Hefter (the Chef at Spago) is the chef there as well.

                1. 1) If it's a beautiful day, outdoors. Then again, there are the smokers...Indoors isn't too bad, but I'd request one of the large three booths on the north wall of the restaurant. It's spacey, and you're a little higher, so you get to see the rest of the crowd. Call and ask for that if you decide to sit indoors.

                  2) Is the lunch menu any more affordable than the dinner menu? More or less...yes.
                  Also, is the lunch menu limited - meaning, are certain entrees not offered at lunch? Yes, but there are also items offered at lunch that aren't available at dinner. For lunch, salads and brunch items are more abundant -- I love the lobster cobb, the omelette is good, too.

                  3) We'll have a budget of about $100. You might want to skip the appetizer because I don't want you to miss the desserts. They're fabulous, and artfully presented. Appetizers and desserts run in the teens. ($12+)

                  4) Is the tip included in the bill? No

                  5) If you were to get an appetizer, the beet layer cake, foie gras; Entrees see above, and beef goulash, scallops. Desserts change seasonally, but if there's a souffle on the menu, GET IT. One standby that never changes is Puck's traditional german dessert..I forgot the name, but it starts with a K, has some MARR..and ends with an N. :)

                  note: If you order water, ask for regular...but the waiter should let you know whether you want regular or Evian (bottle costs).

                  Have fun and best wishes in school.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: chica

                    Our server approached the water issue like this "Would you like bottled water (naming the
                    brands) or 'Beverly Hills' Finest'" which was pretty cute. We had a great lunch there and
                    if we didn't have 4 of their specialty martini's (Blood Orange, Pommegranite) and a great
                    Barbera from Giorgio Rivetti's vineyards our bill would have been $133.50 before tax/tip.
                    We did get a few complimentary items and I ordered a side of potatoes aligot which are
                    heaven on a plate. Add the limo ride there (we were on vacation with no car) and it
                    was an amazing afternoon. We sat outside and there was no smoking whatsoever. This
                    was a Thursday and they say that Friday is all the regulars lunching and it's very difficult
                    to get in. I look forward to returning maybe this year!

                  2. Has anyone had the tuna cones? I heard they aren't on the menu, but you can still order them? Are they worth getting?

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: allisonteal

                      The tuna cones are quite tasty, but I'd just as soon have a spicy tuna handroll at Hirozen.

                      1. re: allisonteal

                        The cornets are most certainly worth having. It's a small savory bite that's a perfect _amuse_.