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Apr 12, 2008 11:21 PM

Spago - Ortolan - Melisse - Providence?


My sister's birthday is coming up next month and we're trying to decide which restaurant to go to for her birthday dinner.

She was interested in French Contemporary food...or any fine dining that had innovative dishes and stuff. Preferably one with a prix fixe menu...

Here are a few that we have narrowed down to:

- Spago
- Ortolan
- Melisse
- Providence

Can anyone who has been to these places tell us which is best?
If anyone has any other places they would like to recommend, please do!


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  1. Spago is one of the best restaurants in America for good reason. I've always been impressed when I visit and I'm not easy to impress. I sitll dream about the lobster cobb salad - imagine making a cravable SALAD! If you've never eaten there, it's a must.

    1. My personal favorite is Providence but I've been to all 4 and you can't go wrong with any of them. They are all superlative and they all have multi-course (and multi-hour) tasting menus that are prix fixe. I personally prefer Spago and Providence but that probably has more to do with my own taste preferences (veering away from French) and continued enjoyment of chatting with Wolfgang as he brings me dishes. If French contemporary is favored I'd give the nod to Ortolan as I tend to find Christophe Eme's cooking to be a bit more innovative and playful than Josiah Citrin's. Others may well disagree.

      1. With Providence, make sure she wants to eat seafood. As to rating them, I place Providence and Melisse below the other two, yet if she has not been to Spago, then by all means, that should be the choice. And if weather permits, the patio is truly a wonderful setting to be dining in true LA style. To me, Ortolan is a little over the top in the decor category, while Melisse feels quite stuffy.
        You could surely add Lucques and Sona to the list, with Lucques my personal favorite. Very recently rated atop the Michelin rankings for LA and deservedly so.

        1. To make things even more complicated, I would add Sona and Lucques to the mix. Both are excellent. Although I love Spago and think is special, it is probably more contemporary Austrian than French (with their selections of Wolfgang's childhood favorites...which I love).

          1. Chef's tasting menu or any of the tasting menus at Providence. You can't go wrong. Fine Dining, innovative, fabulous service. Let them know it's her birthday when you reserve!