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New to L.A. restaurant scene looking for great food but ambiance is my main concern.

I have recently been trying new restaurants every couple weeks or so and I find a lot of reviews are based mainly on quality of food, which is not surprising. At this time I am looking for the restaurant with the best ambiance.

I'm not really into crowds or "celebrity hot spots" unless they are actually nice places to eat as well. I prefer restaurants with a clean chic look. Price is not a concern.

Some places I've been so far:

Sona - loved it, my favorite so far
The Little Door - pretty good, but the ambiance was a bit too cluttered
Yamashiro - overrated, view wasn't all it was made out to be
Il Cielo - didnt think it was as romantic as a lot of online reveiws make it out to be.
Ritz Carlton dining room, Pasadena - not bad
Providence - not a big fan, also was a bit overrated.

Some places I was planning on visiting soon:

La Cachette
The Restaurant in Hotel Bel-Air

Any other places I should try and visit? Any opinions on my upcoming choices?


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  1. If ambiance is number one for you then Inn of the 7th Ray in Topanga should be on your list for dinner as well as Saddle Peak Lodge in the Malibu hills.

    1. cut, to me, has exactly what i would describe as a "clean chic look."
      la boheme has a very pretty setting, more along the lines of the other restaurants you mention.

      1. i'd add these two to your list:
        michael's in santa monica
        cafe del rey in marina del rey.

        1. The Restaurant at the Getty
          Pane e Vino - the back patio is lovely
          Wilshire - like the patio as well
          The Lobster in the evenings
          Go for drinks at The Penthouse at the Huntley for the view

          1. Unfortunately, I think that the Hotel Bel-Air should come off your list...at least for now. It makes me depressed because this is one of the most beautiful settings in all of Los Angeles, but sadly the restaurant has slipped enormously.

            I agree that Sona is one of L.A.'s best. Melisse is outstanding and surely worth a visit. Also, although the food is not spectacular, the garden and service at Michael's in Santa Monica, makes this a quintessential L.A. restaurant. Patina is a beautiful restaurant, but sadly Joachim Splichel is more interested in being an entepreneur than in providing good food and caring service. I do not recommend any of the restaurants in the Pinot chain. Patina is not worth the money...forget it! I haven't been...because of the high cost, but surely Cut, Wolfgang Puck's steakhouse in the Beverly Wilshire, designed by Richard Meier is a beautiful restaurant with supposedly great food and service. If this is within your budget, I would certainly go.

            Happy dining!

            1. not what I'd call "clean and chic" but Cicada on Olive down town is a very beautiful art deco room and the food is good

              1. Edison
                Blvd 16 (at the Hotel Palomar)

                1. What about the back patio at Lucques? It is festive, the food is wonderful and not pretentious, and ten years in, neither the servers nor the diners have anything to prove. It isn't exactly cool and chic, but it isn't overly ornate or ostentatious, either.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: coffeebrownies

                    Definitely Lucques should be added to the list...especially the patio for a pleasant environment. Also, Ortolan as mentioned by New Trial, is an excellent French restaurant with pleasant ambiance.

                  2. Perhaps Ortolan and Vincenti are worth a look.

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

                    Vincenti Restaurant
                    11930 San Vicente Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90049

                    1. Not fancy, but I love eating around the outdoor firepit at Bar Hayama. I think Ortolan is gorgeous.

                      1. For ambiance, can't beat Hidden's patio. The food is either fantastic, or not so great, it's best to stick to the Italian menu.

                        Chaya is great for ambiance, and great food. Both Chaya's.

                        Whist at Viceroy, outside, has fantastic ambiance. Food, to me, is quite good.

                        Catch at Casa del Mar is one of my favorite rooms in town, I've had excellent meals there.

                        Wilshire's patio can't be beat - food is excellent.

                        Michael's, also in Santa Monica, on the patio. Food is inconsistent, however.

                        Penthouse at The Huntley, fantastic view, loud, so-so food that can sometimes surprise you and be quite good.

                        1. Thanks for all the advise guys. I appreciate it.

                          I've liked what I've seen from The Penthouse, Catch at Casa Del Mar, Michael's, Cafe La Boheme and Ortolan.

                          Keep 'em coming if there are any other suggestions.

                          1. Clean chic look = Craft. Food is good too.