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Recommendation(s) for top 3 restaurants in LA? Cost not an issue

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My birthday is coming up and I get to pick 3 restaurants --only one will win-- to go to for dinner. I've been in LA for several years but I have not tried the really high-end places. I've been to AOC, Lucques, etc. I am wondering which 3 restaurants I should pick: Providence? Valentino? Spago (?)

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    1. My top 3 are Grace, Spago and AOC, and you really can't go wrong with any of the top flight restaurants. Perhaps you should refer to the Ultimate LA Restaurants list for 2006:


      I haven't been to Urasawa but I'm saving up my ducats to go there soon.

      1. AOC all the way! The skirt steak with olive aioli, bacon dates, and chicken liver crostini were absolutely amazing!!! Although, I might be a bit biased because it is the only really nice restaurant I've been too here in LA, and it was amazing. But I really want to try Providence next, so if you go there, please let us know what you think.

        1. Providence (tasting menu... but be prepared for a lengthy dinner and a lengthy bill)
          Cut (if you haven't eaten Kobe steak before and are curious)
          Madeo (sort of an oddball here and not as "high end" as the others, but it's good Italian food, and i've always seen a celeb or two when i've gone)

          1. If you've never been to Spago, you really should make it a top pick. It's one of the few things in life that lives up to it's hype. And the staff treats everyone who dines their like a star.

            I won't even list two others... go to Spago first. There's always next year for the rest ; )

            2 Replies
              1. re: Jennalynn

                Agree! You've hit the nail on the head! I loved Spago and had the best time imagineable! The food, the atmosphere the service was all top notch, we sat outside which was very pretty. They sent us home with lots of goodies which was great too! Bravo and vive la SPAGO!!!!

              2. La Cachette for French. Amazing service, amazing food and amazing atmosphere. It is worth going just for the Chocolate Souffle. Every french restaurant seems to have one, but this place goes above and beyond!

                1. Valentino isn't what it used to be, if you ask me.

                  Gun to my head, I'd say Spago, Urasawa, and Providence, all spectacular in their own respective tasting menus.

                  Once it was removed, I'd add AOC, La Cachette, Melisse, and Josie as top spots as well.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: Emme

                    au contraire, emme. VALENTINO and angelo are back!

                    but for your b-day, there is still construction. wait a month or so and they'll be done. the main room is gorgeous and the food on 4/2 was very good.

                    all the restaurants inquired about are great. and all will provide for a great birthday dinner.

                    1. re: revets2

                      good to hear. i'll wait til post construction to drop a wad to confirm. i still stick to my three nonetheless.

                  2. Happy birthday.

                    Melisse (you won't be disappointed)
                    Spago/Valentino/La Cachette/La Botte

                    1. Sorry guys but when someone tells me money is no object and they are asking for the top 3 in Los Angeles, small plates does not come to mind...A.O.C?
                      Here is my top 3
                      1. Sona
                      2. Providence
                      3. Patina (relax anti Patina clan)

                      1. Hatfields, which is truly a worthy (relative) newcomer.

                        1. Via Veneto

                          Spago is great, but not really for a birthday in my opinion, unless you are a big foodie.

                          1. Providence.

                            Heck, I'm going for the second time this Sat. I've been drooling all week in anticipation. The floor is pretty damp.

                            Spago is pretty good.

                            I hear the plates at AOC aren't that big, but cost as much as full sized entrees.

                            Ask for the tasting menu at Providence. But be aware that the whole dinner party has to do it-it can't be just you doing the TM and everyone else orders a la carte!

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: Diana

                              Urasawa is the only money-is-no-object place we have here.
                              I would want the comfort and reliability of the Grill in my top three and would end my birthday evening there with their best-in-town hot fudge sundae.
                              For a third choice, it depends what you want. If a steakhouse, Cut's a good suggestion; if Italian, Peppone; for French, La Cachette.
                              But really for a blow-the-wad night we only have Urasawa...

                              1. re: jcwla

                                PROVIDENCE!! Everything about it is amazing. Even the bathrooms. If you like chardonnay try the Peter Michael Ma Belle Fille. YUMMM.

                                KATANA- Love the patio. So many great dishes. Had a couple b'days there.

                                PATINA- Service is pretty intense there not a casual place but excellent food and great to combine with a museum visit.

                                Haven't been back to GRACE in a while but had fantastic meals there a few years back.

                            2. Spagos Tasting Menu- by far the best - not even close
                              Mozza Pizza

                              for some reason this board loves Providence & AOC - both overrated -- trust me

                              1. I would have to say...

                                Mori (if you can eat sushi, not rolls)
                                La Cachette

                                I just wish Bouchon would come to LA!

                                1. Happy birthday!

                                  I agree with Spago. I've always had excellent dining experiences there, and it's the one place I feel is not overrated. Really does live up to the hype.

                                  I also loved Melisse. It was so yummy, and the service was excellent... what I thought Patina would be and was not (and I tried Patina 3 times, so it wasn't just an "off" night)

                                  I actually haven't been to Providence yet, but every person that has been there raves about it, so that would be the third recommendation from me. I can't wait to try it myself!

                                  1. 1. Cut (Wolfgang's Latest Insane Steak Joint)
                                    2. Water Grill (Providence probably rating better, but im still a big fan of this place)
                                    3. Toss Up: Nic & Stefs; Mastros; Koi; Asia de Cuba.

                                    1. If this is a special birthday and if you are considering Urasawa, I'd say get reservations at the French Laundry and go there. If you can't afford Urasawa now (who can?), go have some slices at Vito's and save the money you'd spend elsewhere until you have the money for Urasawa--birthday or not.

                                      1. Providence for mostly cooked seafood
                                        Urasawa for mostly raw seafood
                                        Cut for land meats

                                        Hopefully you wouldn't happen to be a vegan/vegetarian. ;) and happy birthday!