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Solo dinner on a Sunday in LA.

Will be in LA next Sunday for an interview on Tuesday and I'm looking for someplace excellent for dinner. Been to Osteria Mozza, All Angelo, Spago, Mastros, Bazaar, Koi, La Botte, Roscoes, Oomasa on past trips.

Was thinking Ortolan or Hatfield's, but unfortunately neither are open on Sundays.

Thoughts so far are Providence, Patina, Craft, XIV, or JiRaffe but am open to other suggestions.

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  1. uhockey, After reading a number of your reviews and viewing your blog, I would strongly recommend Providence. You enjoy tasting menus, and theirs is usually regarded as the best in town. If you called them in advance, you could make sure that things are planned to your liking, omitting any beef, for example. I think the food is excellent at Craft, but their menu is served family-style with dishes to share -- a solo tasting menu would not be their forte. Opinions on Patina range all over the map -- for some it is their favorite SoCal special occasion restaurant while others find it inconsistent, overpriced, and catering to a clientele where dinner is just a place to be seen before the symphony. XIV is interesting, but didn't you hit a Mina restaurant up north? JiRaffe is good but it is more of a neighborhood experience than the kind of dining the others can provide. Another possibility would be Sunday Supper at Lucques, but it focuses more on value than a gourmet experience, and after your reaction to the Cafe at Chez Panisse I don't think casual Cal-cuisine is your cup of tea.

    5 Replies
    1. re: nosh

      Had an amazing meat at Hatfield's a few weeks ago. The food there is top notch, very interesting, tasty, well executed. I recommend it highly.

      Osteria Mozza was ok, not a revelation. Mario Batali is a talented chef, but his restaurants are starting to read like a playbook of his old hits, which is never when you want to start eating at a restaurant.

      1. re: jcisrhiannon

        Hatfields is not open on Sunday.
        Mozza is not on par with Otto or Babbo.

        As to Nosh - thanks. Craft seems to do a tasting menu, though - seems good if I could sub-out the beef.

        Re: Chez Panisse - maybe the meal just wasn't very good and the waiter was awful? :-) And re: Mina - I've been to two of his joints now and enjoyed the food at one and service at both - the ability to select a myriad of small plates seems right up my ally.

        I'm just not certain I wanna drop $160 at Providence and I think anything but the full experience would be cheating myself.

        1. re: uhockey

          Craft also now has a bar menu, with lots of small plates. It looks pretty interesting....

          1. re: perk

            Just came back from Craftbar. It's bar food - a place for colleagues to grab a drink and some food after work. I wouldn't necessarily send an out-of-towner looking for L.A.'s best food.

            It was quite crowded. I was happy for the restaurant because everyone needs to stay afloat in this economy. But for me personally, I liked it better when the bar area was more sedate and you could grab a seat with no problem and order off the "real" menu (although I'm guessing they would still let you order off the regular menu if you asked).

            We had falafel with spicy feta cheese and hummus with zaatar. The falafel were tasty, but were not piping hot and crisp as good falafel should be. I'm guessing they were freshly made (at least I'm hoping so), but that in that kind of restaurant they just can't get them out on the table fast enough to be still piping hot and crisp. (Sort of like you never want to order tempura anywhere but at a tempura bar where they are going to hand you each piece seconds after it is made). The spicy feta cheese was good. The hummus was served in a jar, which was fun and fanciful, but anyone who considers themselves a connoisseur of authentic Middle-Eastern hummus (which includes me) will be disappointed. The tang and the spices were off - it wasn't terrible, but it wasn't mouthwatering addictive like good hummus should be.

          2. re: uhockey

            I thought Mozza was better than Otto, particularly the pizzas. I found the pizza at Otto to be pretty ho-hum, especially the crust.

            I would agree that Babbo is better than Mozza.

      2. Bashan restaurant in Glendale (Montrose border). Have been several times myself as a solo diner and never been disappointed. 5 course prix-fixe w/ wine pairing $95. 7 course w/ wine, $125. Very much in the Providence/Water Grill mode while being outside the see/be seen zone. Would equate it more with Hatfield's than Ortolan... Check them out.

        1 Reply
        1. re: FranklinJefferson

          Sweetbreads, Foie, Barramundi, and Bread Pudding - good gracious....if there was a gnocchi on that menu they'd hit my top 5 foods of choice when fine dining.....

        2. I can't believe there isn't a ChowChick offering to accompany Mike.

          1. I would choose Providence personally. Wonderful food and very good service.

            If you want interesting food and a real scene, XIV would work. But I would never choose it over Providence.

            1. between your given options, i'd say Providence, but also consider Hungry Cat.

              1. Aye, I would also choose Providence.

                Craft indeed does a tasting menu but Providence is better. XIV's dishes were hit and miss, etc etc.
                Providence is also much better than Ortolan, IMHO, and they are quite accomodating in terms of subbing out items. Their black bass sous vide is excellent and their seared foie gras is the best in town, IMHO (I haven't tried Melisse's though).


                  1. Of your list, I would go with Providence, but you might also want to consider Palate in Glendale. They've just recently started serving Sunday dinners. They have a single item prix fixe until 5pm at the wine bar. After 5pm they'll serve a full dinner menu.
                    I recommend it for the food, but also as a good social experience for a solo diner. I went several weeks ago, sat at the wine bar and everyone was friendly and lively.

                    1. Thanks all - reservations at Providence for 1 at 6:00pm Sunday - can't wait.

                      Going out with a friend for dinner on Monday to Valentino and still trying to think of something good for a lunch Monday and Dinner Tuesday.

                      11 Replies
                      1. re: uhockey

                        Depending on where you will be geographically on Monday, I'd suggest either a pastrami on rye at Langer's Deli (I know you don't eat beef, but don't know whether pastrami will count) or some of our good, inexpensive Mexican at a taqueria (my favorite is Carnitas Michaocan north of downtown, or Tacos Por Favor in Santa Monica) or get to the SGV for dim sum, soup dumplings (XLB) or regional Asian, or Jitlada for their southern Thai special menu in Thai-town.

                        1. re: nosh

                          Pastrami can be gotten anywhere - I skipped it in NYC too. :-)

                          If I'm going to do something that SoCal does WAY better than Ohio it is going to be Sushi - just trying to decide where is great AND open on Monday for lunch.

                              1. re: kevin

                                i second sushi zo for lunch on monday.

                                1. re: westsidegal

                                  Is Zo Omakase on Monday lunch, or per piece? Anyone know the current pricing?

                                  1. re: uhockey

                                    Zo is completely Omakase at both lunch and dinner and at both the counter and tables. Just tell them what you don't eat or have allergies to.

                                    100 and up per person, not including drinks for Omakase.

                            1. re: uhockey

                              Just for the record, Langer's pastrami is a unique foodstuff unto itself -- unlike any traditional versions you'd find elsewhere. That includes New York. Or anywhere else in LA, for that matter.

                              I'm not trying to persuade you to go out of your way to try it -- I'm actually not a big fan myself -- but it is an LA institution that many consider the holy grail of meat. So I wouldn't just write it off as something you can get anywhere else. It actually IS something that SoCal does way different from Ohio. Better is a matter of taste.

                              1. re: wutzizname

                                How does it differ, if I might ask?

                                Additionally - as Nosh noted - I don't eat beef and as such unless it is a pork or poultry pastrami it'll be wasted on me. :-)

                                Thinking Mori Sushi vs. Matsuhisa vs. Hungry Cat for lunch as of now. Wanted to check out Pizzeria Mozza but it seems a waste solo since I could only taste one or so Pizzas.

                                1. re: uhockey

                                  I wouldn't recommend Matsuhisa. My last time there the omakase is a total ripoff (http://gourmetpigs.blogspot.com/2008/... ) and even my first time there while good doesn't compare to Mori Sushi.

                        2. Doesn't Lucques have some sort of special deal on Sunday nights? Just another suggestion. I also like Jar a lot for their steaks, and if pork belly's on the menu, definitely get that.

                          4 Replies
                          1. re: foodie21

                            Yes, Lucques has Sunday Supper - a 3-course prix-fixe for $45. Just went this past Sunday and was very pleased.

                            -- burumun

                            1. re: burumun

                              doesn't lucques alos have a special steak frites and time that they serve it???


                              1. re: kevin

                                Yes, lucques has steak frites for $22 after 9:30 PM on weekdays and 10 PM on weekends (not 100% on the time, but i think that's right?)


                                1. re: burumun

                                  wow, i thought it used to be 16 or 18 bucks, it's not such a deal anymore.

                          2. I'll get reviews up eventually, but Providence was sublime.