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Seeking for the WOW experience in LA

I will be in LA in a few weeks and hoping to try as many great restaurants in LA as my schedule allows.

Can you recommend: (price is not an issue)
- A Japanese restaurant offers omakase
- A restaurant for stargazing
- A modern or ethnic restaurant

Thank you!

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  1. Urasawa - http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/513612

    The Ivy on Roberston

    Bazaar - http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/573182

    Urasawa Restaurant
    218 N Rodeo Dr, Beverly Hills, CA 90210

    113 N Robertson Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90048

    The Bazaar by José Andrés
    465 S. La Cienega Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90048

    4 Replies
    1. re: Servorg

      Yep, that pretty much does it.

        1. re: Servorg

          3 for 3.... right on, Servorg!

          1. for more stargazing:

            Cut - Puck's new steakhouse
            Spago - his original, tho not the location
            Mr. Chow - Cal Asian, 344 N. Canon Dr
            Dominick's - Italian, 8715 Beverly Blvd
            all in Beverly Hills

            176 North Canon Drive, Beverly Hills, CA 90210

            9500 Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills, CA 90212

            1 Reply
            1. re: Phurstluv

              Katsuya Hollywood seems to be getting a fair share of celebs these days, too.

            2. Everything above sounds pretty good, just want to add Matsuhisa

              129 N. La Cienega Blvd
              Beverly Hills, CA 90211

              11 Replies
              1. re: A5 KOBE

                Make sure you get the private omakase room for better food. As for stargazing, stay in the main dining room at Matsuhisa.

                The rule in LA for stargazing: Go on a non-weekend for higher chances. Chateau Marmont and Whole Foods Market are frequented by celebs as well.

                1. re: A5 KOBE

                  All fine choices for the OP but Matsuhisa. That place is a dump with overrated food and rushed service, IMHO.

                  And that comes from someone who loves that cuisine.

                  1. re: epop

                    No one doubts your professed love of Japanese-Peruvian fusion cuisine (I am also a big fan!). The food from the main dining room at Matsuhisa these days is but a sad remnant of its former glory, true, but...

                    I think that the food found in Matsuhisa's private omakase room is an order of magnitude better, when compared with the main dining room. (BUT the stargazing factor suffers...)

                    1. re: J.L.

                      How is the food in the private room as compared to Nobu? I had their top tasting menu in Malibu recently. Some incredible items (as good as any I've ever had) but overall not a great tasting.
                      Too many regular menu items that I could've ordered. Overall I found the food and service far superior at Nobu (to Matsuhisa).

                      I'm glad not to be doubted all the time, JL. Getting some slack sometimes for controversial opinions.

                      1. re: epop

                        Hey epop, I'm a regular at Matsuhisa (50+ visits!)... I no longer do the main dining room - it's too disappointing.

                        I think the Matsuhisa (the flagship restaurant) private room is still the best way to experience the best of Nobu Matsuhisa's creations. It contains its own separate private kitchen & chef/staff, which is dedicated to the 8 or so patrons lucky enough to be seated in the room. Yes, sometimes orders for main dining room do come in to this kitchen, but for the most part, the chefs there are there to make sure the private room customers are happy and content. Expect lots of interaction with your chefs, and off the menu stuff (ask for the corn tempura) is possible.

                        This dining experience transcends any of the ancillary Nobu locations around the globe I've eaten at, including Nobu LA, Malibu, NYC, Tokyo, & Las Vegas. It's pricey, but also - it's special. Yes, admittedly, it does help to be a regular.

                        Chowhound thrives on different opinions. Constructive discourse is always welcome!

                        1. re: J.L.

                          kindred spirit then, JL.

                          I don't doubt you on it. PHD in Nobu Studies. I think I'm ready for the private room. Too bad my favorite dining mates live outside of LA. I'll see what I can do. Maybe a Hound Meal?

                    2. re: epop

                      The OP asks for a stargazing restaurant....and Matsuhisa is probably one of the best places in LA to watch celebrities.

                      I am not saying it is in the ranks of Urasawa.

                      1. re: A5 KOBE

                        I read the OP as asking for 3 distinct restaurants, one for sushi, one for stars, one for modern/ethnic. Since I could care less about celebrities I answered ignoring the second, perhaps erroneously.

                        After a lousy meal at Matsuhisa I take the opportunity to express my dissatisfaction.

                        1. re: epop

                          In recent years, Matsuhisa has really become a caricature of itself.

                          I think to get decent service and quality food at Matsuhisa you really have to be either an insider, or some important celeb or industry bigwig. Otherwise, you'll get treated like a customer at the Ralphs sushi bar.

                          1. re: ipsedixit

                            Funny. My guess is that the Ralph's sushi bar guys are quite personable.
                            I'd fear for my stomach though.

                            I've gone to Matsuhisa with major players and still didn't like it so much.

                      2. re: epop

                        I did have the most perfectly cooked lamb chop lollipop there at lunch the other day, though. But I guess that's not really what anyone goes to Matsuhisa to eat, though...

                    3. Stargazing ... any Starbucks in Manhattan Beach.

                      1. What a great way to start my day by reading all the wonderful responses! Urasawa looks like the traditional kaisaki we liked so much on our last trip to Kyoto. Thank you guys!

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: aquahot

                          It's kaiseki for the first part of the meal and then it becomes omakase when Hiro-san feeds you the sushi/sashimi/kobe beef that he feels is the best he has been able to find/put together that day. Traditional kaiseki dinners comprise someplace between 6 and 15 specific dishes (IIRC). Urasawa ends up being 30 plus bites/dishes.

                          1. re: Servorg

                            Our Urasawa experiences have been 45+ bites/dishes, with dinner time from 6:00 pm to 11:30 pm.

                        2. try michael mina's xiv for a fun experience. order the gamut (everything on the menu) and split by 2 or 3. also some stargazing and beautiful people to see there as well.

                          see perceptor's report. http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/635323

                          1. For Great sushi go to Hirozen on Beverly Blvd. i always let the sushi chef select our meal. he usually serve's it 3 different pieces of sushi at a time. My other favorite Sushi restaurant is Wa Sushi Bistro on La Cienega. The Sushi chef and Kitchen Chef left Matsuhisa years ago to open this place. The food and sushi are beyond amazing.

                            As far as stargazing - it can be hit or miss in LA but the trendy restaurants have been listed prev. i also allways run into actors at Joans On Third. it's a cute gourmet shop/restaurant on Third street near the Beverly Center. Also i live blocks from "The Grove" a very popular outdoor shopping center and i am there all the time and i must say that there is not a day that i dont see at least one celebrity. Also go to the Chateau Marmont have a drink in the bar - always some great celebrity sightings there.

                            For Chinese i like Mandarette on Beverly casual but since the food is so good i do see lots of celebrities. if you go get the deep fried tofu with gravy as a starter.

                            another casual place that alot of young celebrities like to hang out at is Urth Cafe on Melrose ave. and for sure at the Cafe at Fred Segals (clothing shop) and the foods pretty good too.

                            For brunch i love Campanille on La Brea. it's next door to La Brea Bakery. The food is great. last time i was there Gwen Stefani and Hubby Gavin Rossdale with kids were brunching. i actually think there is always a celebrity every time i go there and i go often.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: bibiana

                              IF someone wants to see celebrities they should just drive a lot. That's where I've seen them, in their cars. Fortunately by the time I get to a restaurant they've turned off on a different street.

                            2. Urasawa for the best omakase experience

                              Friday lunch at Spago - must sit on the patio - see photo below

                              Bazaar for modern

                              1. price not an issue...WOW i envy you. urasawa is # 1 on my wish list. too bad i dont have $500 to spare on a single dinner. have a spot for an extra guest?? :) hehe
                                enjoy! i havent heard one bad thing about urasawa.

                                1. i have not been to urasawa, and am waiting for someone with a very large pocketbook to take me as it is considered to be the most expensive restaurant in los angeles. that is saying alot. i'm sure it's a great sushi experience but the wow experience might just be from the bill!
                                  the ivy... food isn't so good. you just go there to star gaze during the day - go during the weekday. weekend is full of tourists trying to star gaze.
                                  of all the ethic places in los angeles, the bazaar is not the first place to go for spanish food. there is a traditional spanish resturant about 1/4 mile away. La Paella. great tapas, great paella, the best flan in town, and authentic spanish waiters from spain.
                                  otherwise check out the asian restaurants in the san gabriel valley as that area has the "best chinese food in america" according to gourmet mag.

                                  6 Replies
                                  1. re: foodmor

                                    I didn't think of Bazaar for ethnic food. I recommended it in response to the request for Modern food - (but I guess it hits on both elements so covers the spread).

                                    1. re: foodmor

                                      La Paella does NOT do a good job with their Spanish cuisine. Their paella is a soggy mess of a paella. For something that actually resembles what you can get in the Iberian Peninsula, get the paella mixta from La Espanola, available on Saturdays only (must order in advance on Friday).

                                      Agree with Servorg that Bazaar's concept is more modern than Spanish, in principle.

                                      Gourmet magazine is widely read, but Chowhound is about one's OWN opinions. I happen to agree that the SGV has amazing Chinese food. I can say this because I've actually had it, and not because I read that Gourmet mag says so.

                                      1. re: J.L.

                                        La Paella was voted for best flan in LA.

                                        1. re: Phurstluv

                                          Flan alone does not a Spanish restaurant make.

                                          1. re: J.L.

                                            I completely agree, my friend. Just found it interesting and wanted to throw it out there. In fact , I would say there is a lack of exceptional Spanish restaurants, that I know of, in this town.

                                    2. Don't know if you're willing to make the drive to the San Fernando Valley for sushi, but if so, you should book Katsuya's omakase bar at Kiwami. He only does it every couple of weeks and only Tuesday through Friday night, but it's Katsuya himself doing the omakase.