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sona, melisse or ortolan?

I think I've narrowed it down to these three - for one special dinner. I've read the reviews on the board but am looking for most up to date and recent advice for dinner in a week or so.

I'm from SF and am looking for something in the quality area of The Dining Room at the Ritz, La Fole or Manresa - to give you an idea of my taste

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  1. Although I haven't been to Melisse or Ortolan yet (will be going soon) I have always had great experiences at Sona.

    1. of these three, i'd say sona. i find melisse a bit stuffier for my taste.

      1. Of the three, I find Ortolan to be the most consistently interesting and enjoyable, while Sona is the most "hit or miss" and has the least attractive room. Providence is also well worth considering if you like Manresa.

        1. I know it's not one of the ones you mentioned, but I say go to Providence. Just dined there this past weekend and it was easily the best meal I've ever had. Had the 9 course with wine pairing and it was worth every penny.

          3 Replies
          1. re: TailbackU

            I'd say Melisse over Providence. In my opinion, Melisse's menu has a much wider range than Providence, is more flexible to accomodate tastes and desires, and the sommelier is better. Providence certainly has many devotees, and is clearly capable of delivering an amazing experience. It is also inconsistent. We've been twice for special dinners. The first time Providence hit it out of the ball park and the second time the experience was substandard largely because of numerous issues with the service; some of the food was incomparably good. At this point in time, I wouldn't recommend them for a dinner on a special night.

            1. re: TailbackU

              Had considered Providence but given lawdogs recent poor experience it just doesn't seem like a place I'd choose to patronize.

              1. re: estnet

                every restaurant will have customers not happy with their experience...no matter how good they are. Obviously it's your choice as to where you spend your hard earned money on a nice meal, but choosing not to go to a restaurant based on one bad review seems kind silly. Providence probably receives 20 excellent reviews for every one bad one like lawdog's.

            2. I have had one-of-a-kind dinners at both Melisse and Ortolan and would highly, highly recommend either of them. Haven't been to the Dining Room at the Ritz, but I would say the tasting menus at these two places are up there with the French Laundry.

              1. Tough call.

                I doubt you could go wrong with any of these considering they're all high level establishments that have survived in LA for a while.

                Why not check out their websites to get a feel for the menu, atmosphere etc.?

                1. I'm a big fan of Sona, one of the few places in Los Angeles that I feel is worth dressing and paying for.
                  I've always heard Melisse is kinda stuffy feeling and the menu didn't really appeal to me.
                  Ortolan was fine and the food was good, but nothing special.
                  A lot of people have mentioned Providence, which I have yet to try but have always heard great things about

                  1. Just giving you more options but Bastide, Spago, and Patina are also popular places. The dining room at the Langhem (Former Ritz) in Pasadena is also good.

                    1. i had dinner at Ortolan saturday night and it was fantastic. the food was rich and strong in flavor. the service was incredible. it was a very special occasion place.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Clyde

                        We went to a party at Ortolan a couple of weeks ago and my wife and I were both very impressed with the quality of the food and the outstanding service. The menu was interesting as well, and the dining room and bar area are very romantic.

                      2. Ortolan, though good, is not in the league of the other two. Sona is superb but I think I would give it, still, to Melisse - especially if you like The Ritz and La Folie. And Chef Josiah is a force of nature.