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Is Spago still as good as ever?

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Need a really nice place in Beverly Hills to take a wonderful guest who is an older lady and a traditionalist and loves good food, service and comfortable surroundings. Haven't been to Spago in about a year, but in the past, it always seemed to please. Is this still a good choice?

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  1. spago is definitely still a good choice.

    for a mellow atmosphere for elder guests, i always think La Cachette is a good option as well.

    1. For your situation, I think Melisse might be better. Maybe also Michael's or as Emme suggests, La Cachette.

      1. Spago is as good as ever -- which is to say, great.

        But Melisse is quieter, and arguably better (though I'm somewhat comparing apples to oranges here since I've never had a Spago tasting menu).

        1. Had dinner last night at Spago, and we were disappointed. Sure Spago remains a very good restaurant, but it's not exceptional. With the prices they are charging, it should be exceptional. Appetizers including simple dinner salads are all in the upper teens to low twenties. A rather mediocre crabcake was $22 (or maybe $23). Entrees are all in the mid-thirties to the forties (including a staggering $150 for a 6 oz. wagyu filet mignon! I had the duckling which was about $40, and it was good, but not great. Dinner for three including tap water, two cocktails, a half bottle of one of their least expensive wines, two appetizers (a simple salad and a crabcake), three entrees (not the filet!), one dessert and one coffee was $360 including 20% tip. We actually ate very modestly and were definitely not overwhelmed by the food. If we had ordered three cocktails, a bottle of wine, three appetizers, mains, desserts and coffees...basically a normal meal, the tab would have been at least $175 pp. For that price, I would expect an extraordinary meal. We recently had a full dinner with drinks, excellent wine at the four star Le Bernardin in New York for about $225/pp and it was absolutely head and shoulders above Spago,

          Bottom line...Spago is a very good, but not extraordinary restaurant and based upon our experience last evening, is way too expensive for what it is.

          1 Reply
          1. re: josephnl

            I think that the tasting menu experience is significantly different than ordering a la carte. That is where Spago truly shines as an "extraordinary" restaurant. I would agree that a la carte it is only very good and expensive.

            To the poster below, the chef's name is Hefter, not Hafter.

          2. There is no doubt in my mind that Spaga is resting on it's laurels. The menu hasn't changed much in years and the prices keep rising. It appears that Hafter and Puck are not interested in making the menu exciting. However when I eat the tasting menu there are times I'm thrilled but it is still pricey and I can think of many other places I'd rather spend that kind of money. Having said that i do love to eat at the bar there.

            1. Just went last night 9/16/08. Service wonderful and food was wonderful. I started with the mussels, my wife had the risotto, which both were out of the world. For entree's I had the salmon, which I regretted because it was about 4oz. My wife had the crispy duck which was good. They did have about 3 items that were out of, which I thought was a little odd for such a restaurant. Puck was there himself cooking and going to table to table. The rest of our company had lovely things to say about the food, though I do think the appetizers are better than the entrees. The worst part was the noise and the music. Here you are spending easily over $100 for two people and they are blasting green day, red hot chili peppers, oasis. It was ridiculous!

              1 Reply
              1. re: vikajeff

                You really were able to eat for $100+ for two people? We were really careful (see post above) and it came to $120pp. As I said above, if one orders a cocktail, wine, appetizer, entree, dessert and beverage...I can't see it being lest than ~$175pp with tax and tip. That was my major complaint. I thought Spago was very good, but not great...and I thought that for the prices they are charging it should be great.

              2. i was there 2 weeks ago. ordered a la carte. had the grouper and short beef ribs. was exceptionally underwhelmed. service was certainly not as good as many other places i've been to. i'd try almost any place else.

                i asked the same question...take the boards advice and try some place that's hungry to get to a 2 star michelin level...

                now maybe Cut is a better choice if you want to go Puck...
                my $.02