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Aug 21, 2008 06:55 PM

Melisse or Ortolan?

If you were to only pick one to try, which would it be of the two? They seem rather similar in price (which doesn't really matter for this comparison) and style. Help me out. Thanks!

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  1. i shockingly prefer Ortolan, even though Melisse is a Los Angeles institution in terms of French food. I find the atmosphere at Ortolan fresher yet still warm and inviting, the service just as good and perhaps less simpering. I also find the food at Ortolan to be more innovating and more flavorful. Melisse leaves me flat.

    1. I have to offer the counter opinion and would choose Melisse. I had high hopes for Ortolan but many things were off for me when we went - flashlights to read the menus, foams in test tubes, and a duck dish over macaroni that was way oversalted.

      Melisse had a few minor service missteps at the start of the evening that surprised me for a Michelin 2-starred restaurant, but the quality of food was outstanding and the most memorable meal I've had in the past few years.

      1 Reply
      1. re: TracyS

        Regarding you comment re: service. My recollection is that Michelin ratings apply only to food, and expressly do not take service into account.

      2. Had the carte blanche menu with wine pairings at Melisse recently. The place is stellar. Ortolan is good, but Melisse is simply great.

        Ortolan has one of the best, if not THE best contemporary-styled rooms. Very sexy. I would say there similar in style - well, not the interior. As far as good goes, they're about the same in terms of ambitiousness, but I feel strongly that Melisse is the superior of the two.

        1. I prefer Ortolan, though Melisse is certainly very good. Although I live much closer to Melisse, I tend to go to Ortolan more often. Ortolan is more cutting edge in its preparations--but not absurdly so and still delicious--and I find the atmosphere there more charming.

          1. Both have their own strength and specialties. It's really a tough choice picking one of the two. I would pick melisse over ortolan by a hair. The experience I had was amazing and the carte blance tasting menu is one of the best i've had, everything was exquisite. 13 courses for $175 and the cheese course was divine. Our service supervisor gave us a choice of 8-9 cheeses, very generous!

            Not to say Ortolan isn't great, I've had a great meal too but in terms of the "wow" factor when it comes down to the taste and presentation, I would hands down go to Melisse, except when im craving for a panna cotta.