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Where should I take my best friend????????

My best friend and his wife are comming into town and I would like to treat them to the cities finest restaurant.Money is not an object but I would like a wonderful ,delicious meal.Where should I take them for a meal they will not forget and be truly impressed?

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    1. What kind of food and ambiance are you looking for? Any location restrictions?

      Edited to add: Here's a link to a recent thread on "high end" dining in LA with some great suggestions to get you started:


      1 Reply
      1. re: DanaB

        DanaB's inquiry for what kind of dining experience might help narrow down your list. It's hard to go wrong with a place like Urasawa when the focus is pulled in tight like a 110mm macro lens on the exquisite food, its uncomprimising level of quality, preparation and presentation, and the personal attention. However, if this type of eating experience and/or sushi/kaiseki isn't your idea of the ultimate meal, you might want to throw the gang a bone. Where are your friends from? What's their dining profile? Do they have any huge likes/dislikes? Are they starved for ethnic? Celebrity sightings? The latest hottest places in town?

      2. I would put Spago, Providence, Osteria Mozza, Saddle Peak Lodge, Inn of the Seventh Ray, Edendale Grill, and The Little Door on the list.

        1 Reply
        1. re: nick_r

          i'd remove inn of the seventh ray if the focus is the food.
          if the focus is ambiance, though, it is a lovely place.

        2. Jar. AOC. Sona. Lucques. Cut.

          1. Chaya Brasserie (Beverly Hills), Mastro's, Sushi Katsu Ya. And as far as Spago goes, take them there only for the celebrity of it... the food leaves much to be desired and there's far better in LA to waste a meal there.

            9 Replies
            1. re: mrshankly

              Yikes! I would disagree. Spago is still considered one of the best restaurants in town because of its consistently great food, not because of the celebrities. Maybe you're talking about the Ivy?

              And there's much, much better sushi to be had in LA than Katsuya.

              1. re: mollyomormon

                No, I meant Spago... not because of the celebrities but the celebrity status of the restaurant itself. My experiences have been far from great there... steaks were overcooked and tough (when ordered medium), sides were flavorless and only a filler (hey, I may as well go to Sizzler for that), and the service was above average at best. I'm sure I'll give it another try soon to see how things go. Believe me, I REALLY want to appreciate this place because no restaurant can survive this long without being good (unless of course there's a celebrity chef tagged to it... but I think Spago isn't surviving only on Wolfgang's success). Is there something there that you would recommend? Maybe I'm ordering the wrong things. Let me know and I'll give it a shot.

                And yes, there is better sushi than Katsu Ya... but Katsu Ya isn't exactly terrible either.

                1. re: mrshankly

                  You should order the tasting menu.

                  I think a lot of people recognize it as a Wolfgang Puck restaurant, but it stays relevant because of Chef Lee Hefter.

                  176 North Canon Drive, Beverly Hills, CA 90210

                  1. re: SauceSupreme

                    Ahhh... the tasting menu. Will do. BTW, Sherry Yard (pastry chef) actually came out and sat with us for a little while one time when I was there. She's quite nice and down to earth. I think it's that experience that keeps me from writing that place off for good. Thanks for the recommendation!!

                    1. re: mrshankly

                      Ordering the tasting menu is definitely key to having the best Spago experience and I think the same probably holds true for Providence. I hope that if you do end up heading back it's better the next time around!

                      1. re: mrshankly

                        Spago is not known for their steaks but more so for their agnolotti, chicken, smoked salmon hand rolls, austrian dishes from wolfgang's childhood.... and of course their DESSERT. for steak I would head up the street to mastro's. which i think is the best in the city hands down.

                        1. re: Schweinhaxen

                          Steaks at Spago have never been the best..but the Veal Chop is one of the city's best dishes.

                    2. re: mollyomormon

                      you may be right that there's better sushi than Katsu ya, but there is nothing... nothing at all... that compares with their Crab Roll. That little savory concoction, stuffed with the most delicious crab meat with flavor that just bursts with every bite. That one thing alone is why I will keep going to Katsuya. Oh, and speaking of celebrity sightings, you get that there too.

                  2. For fine expensive dining, Spago, Urasawa, Providence, Cut, Lucques, Jar, Melisse, Josie, Saddle Peak, AOC... concur on these.

                    Also, Bin 8945 for the 11 course tasting menu!!

                    Pane e Vino for the great patio.

                    For *great food,* perhaps Babita or Guelaguetza for Mexican depending where they're from.

                    Jitlada Thai or Sanam Luang Cafe for Thai

                    Rahel or Meals by Genet for Ethiopian

                    Shamshiri for Persian

                    Dim Sum in SGV

                    The Restaurant at the Getty for an unforgettable view with a meal

                    Just my ten cents!

                    1. I sort of tire of the "money is not an object" cliche'. Sorry. Spago, Spago, Spago. C'mon. Spago is stuffy and overrated. At places where money is no object, the people are pretentious and stiff.
                      I'd go to 17th Street Cafe on Montana, Babalu, or Fritto Misto in Santa Monica. Orso in Beverly Hills. Ca'Brea is great, Campanile is great, Katsu-ya on San Vincente and Montana, Chinois on Main.

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: FDawson

                        I've enjoyed Fritto Misto and 17th Street Cafe as well, but those are "grab a dinner with a friend on Friday night" places, not special occasion places.

                        In my experience (and everyone I've been there with has agreed with me) Spago really does live up to the hype and is totally worth it.

                        1. re: FDawson

                          If somebody wants high end dining in LA, I certainly wouldn't send them to Fritto Misto. I ate there in my 20s when we wanted good cheap pasta. While being a decent place if you want to spend under $25 per person, it's the antithesis of fine dining.

                          Ca'Brea, Orso and Campanile are good but also are nothing close to the best food in town today. Katsu-ya is a pretty restaurant and expensive, but you can do SO MUCH BETTER in LA if you venture out of Brentwood. Haven't been to Babalu, so wont comment there, but Chinois, come on! While a Spago restaurant, and consisently good, Chinois has not been notable for its food since 1990.

                          FDawson, I think you need to get out of Santa Monica, or at least try some of your local places like Melisse, Joe's or Josie.

                          1. re: DanaB

                            I don't know where your friend is from, but Spago certainly won't give him what I consider "the L.A. experience." In my opinion, what makes Los Angeles special is the proximity to the Ocean, Pacific Coast Hwy, and Malibu. I would consider Nobu in Malibu or Geoffrey's Locationally, Spago is nothing special.

                            1. re: FDawson

                              Fritto Misto?? Are we in college?? Orso?? not even close...... If you are serious about Italian one would go to Angelini or La Buca. I do not go to Spago for the people but for the food, and yes it lives up to all expectations......

                        2. link-a-dink-a-doo

                          1823 S San Gabriel Blvd, San Gabriel, CA 91776

                          8022 W 3rd St, Los Angeles, CA 90048

                          Bin 8945
                          8945 Santa Monica Blvd, West Hollywood, CA 90069

                          5233 1/2 W Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90027

                          Sanam Luang Cafe
                          5170 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90027

                          Grace Restaurant
                          7360 Beverly Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90036

                          Little Door
                          8164 West 3rd Street, Los Angeles, CA 90048

                          Pizzeria Mozza
                          6602 Melrose Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90038

                          5955 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90038

                          Urasawa Restaurant
                          218 N Rodeo Dr, Beverly Hills, CA 90210

                          9500 Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills, CA 90212

                          Jar Restaurant
                          8225 Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90048

                          401 N. La Cienega Blvd., West Hollywood, CA 90048

                          Mastro's Steakhouse
                          246 N. Canon Drive, Beverly Hills, CA 90210

                          2424 Pico Blvd., Santa Monica, CA 90405

                          Melisse Restaurant
                          1104 Wilshire Blvd., Santa Monica, CA 90401

                          Saddle Peak Lodge
                          419 Cold Canyon Rd., Calabasas, CA 91302

                          Meals By Genet
                          1053 S Fairfax Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90019

                          3014 W Olympic Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90006

                          Edendale Grill
                          2838 Rowena Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90039

                          Pane e Vino
                          8265 Beverly Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90048

                          Valentino (Santa Monica)
                          3115 Pico Blvd., Santa Monica, CA 90405

                          Inn of the Seventh Ray
                          128 Old Topanga Canyon Rd, Topanga, CA 90290

                          Chaya Brasserie
                          8741 Alden Drive, Los Angeles, CA 90048

                          Katsuya 2
                          16542 Ventura Blvd, Encino, CA 91436

                          Rahel Ethiopian Vegan Cuisine
                          1047 S. Fairfax Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90019

                          8474 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90069

                          1. Two takes on French: I am a big fan of the cooking at Ortolan (3rd near Sweetzer). The recently reopened Bastide (Melrose Place near La Cienega) has also gotten very positive reviews on this Board and offers its own "wow" factor.

                            1. Spago, Valentino, Providence, Grace, Lucques are ome of the top top places

                              Also good are West, Cut, Craft and the Mozza's

                              Those cost a pretty penny.

                              Or, you can go to other wonderful places:
                              Anglei Caffe, Angelini, Asanebo, Any of the Ethiopian, All around the original Farmer's Market,m Little Tokyo for a day trip, 888 in The SGV for dim sum (lunch only)m, Leda's for Cupcakes

                              Sometimes, guest love to explore the city!

                              1. If they are Japanese eaters this is the easiest question ever placed on this board...Urasawa.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: Ciao Bob

                                  "If they are Japanese eaters", for heaven sakes keep them away from Japanese restaurants -- unless you don't mind your guests eating the sushi chef ...

                                  Angelini Osteria
                                  7313 Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90036

                                  10100 Constellation Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90067

                                  11941 Ventura Blvd, Studio City, CA 91604

                                  8338 W. 3rd Street, Los Angeles, CA 90048

                                  Geoffrey's Malibu
                                  27400 Pacific Coast Highway, Malibu, CA 90265

                                  888 Seafood Restaurant
                                  8450 E Valley Blvd, Rosemead, CA 91770

                                  Leda's Bake Shop
                                  13722 Ventura Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 91423

                                  Angeli Caffe
                                  7274 Melrose Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90046

                                  Bastide Restaurant
                                  8475 Melrose Place, West Hollywood, CA 90069

                                  Nobu Malibu
                                  3835 Cross Creek Rd, Malibu, CA 90265

                                2. hmmm... money no object, I'd say Sona, tasting menu (chef's carte blanche). unforgettable--esp. for those who are adventurous about their food. Although the tasting menu at melisse is pretty incredible too (with a great cheese course/cart!!!).

                                  I was a fan of the food at spago, but not the atmosphere. it was so cramped and hectic, it felt like being at denny's for sunday breakfast; the staff was pretty humorless and busy. Perhaps the experience is better in the outside dining area?

                                  1. Elite Restaurant in Monterey Park. I haven't had dim sum there, yet, but the dinners are awesome. It's some of the best Cantonese food I've ever eaten. If money is really no object, you can get a 10 course meal for 10 people for only $2,288. But there are other options, too. :-)

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: raytamsgv

                                      What a bargain! More CH reviews ...


                                      Elite Restaurant
                                      700 S Atlantic Blvd, Monterey Park, CA 91754

                                    2. A.O.C, grace, lucques, hatfields, craft, jar, campanile, opus, blue velvet, bastide, ursawa, matsuhisa, sasabune, Mako, foundry, ortolan, providence, Sona, babita

                                      Get the tasting menu at ANY of these places and game over man. At sushi places its called omakese. Some places are only average if you dont get a tasting menu, so get a tasting menu and have a great time.

                                      angelini osteria, angeli-caffe-pizzaria, pizzariea mozza are also great places if you like italian.

                                      If they love sake, take them for a sake tasting at bar hayama.

                                      In my opinion, spago and cut are a waste. Skip them.

                                      If you are too poor, get a 5 course tasting menu for 3 at Opus. That would be 150, but they will love it. In my opinion though, dont skimp. The best way to showcase LA's huge array of culinary artists you HAVE TO GET A TASTNG MENU!!!

                                      Babita, AOC may not have one, but the rest do.

                                      5 Replies
                                      1. re: jlrobe

                                        Sadly, Opus no longer offers tasting menus.

                                        1. re: hrhboo

                                          You have to be kidding me!?! That was the only thing good about Opus. Well, that is a big hit to the dining scene here. One of the cheapest tasting menus in the city.

                                          Wow.....that really sucks

                                          1. re: jlrobe

                                            Their a la carte dishes are excellent too. The tasting menu will be sadly missed but I enjoy all their food.

                                        2. re: jlrobe

                                          I enjoyed the Hell out of Spago's tasting menu!

                                        3. Saddle Peak is the most SoCal experience, in the mountains, with an unusual menu. But only if they're into game meats. Angelini Osteria for Italian. Cut or Mastro's for steak. Chinois on Main for California fusion seafood. Anywhere in SGV for Chinese regional. Chosun Galbi for Korean.

                                          1. For my money, there is no better experience dining in L.A. than a Jamaican Jerk bird plate at Cha Cha Chicken on Ocean Avenue in Santa Monica, sitting on the colorful outdoor patio while watching the bikes and bikini blondes pass by. Or a specialty hot dog from Jodi Maroni's Sausage Kingdom... the original one... on the boardwalk of Venice. Money may be no object, but the true experience of "L.A." is priceless.