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Is Spago worth it?

  • k

New to LA, birthday fast approaching. Is Spago worth the trip & expense? If so, what do you recommend, or of not, any other suggestions for a romantic dinner? Thanks!

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  1. r
    rabo encendido

    At the risk of sounding like a broken record, it bears repeating:

    SPAGO is worth it ONLY for the tasting menu. A multi-course, multi-hour affair that is one of the better eating experiences to be had in the city. It's not cheap ($120pp., $180 with wine pairings), and you will have to go early (no later than 7PM). Despite all this, it's worth it, and very special.

    If one merely orders off the menu, SPAGO is expensive and not particularly impressive.

    Wherever you go, have a happy birthday.

    1 Reply
    1. How's Spago for a vegetarian?

      2 Replies
      1. re: Jon

        go there, try the sweatbreads, then tell me how much you love life as a carnivore!

        ohhh... i'm salivating right now. NOBODY does'm up like puck. nobody.

        1. re: pescador

          Had Sweetbreads twice in the past week and they were both excellent and each qite different from the other. Fioretto had them with Risotto and Max had them "Glazed". Both were amazing.

          Tasting Menu is not a requirement. Jewish Pizza, Foie Gras Tasting, Beet Salad, Kaiserschmeren. That is a great meal by any comparison. The pizza is splitable by 4, salad big enough for 2. Foie is just for me, don't even ask. Kaiserschmeren will feed up to 4 depending on how hungry you are. It doesn't have to be expensive to be great at Spago. For it to be spectacular, you have to spend the big bucks and also invest 5 hours of your time eating. There are worse things that a person could be forced to do.

        1. I think it's worth it. If you go one item I highly recommend is the dessert that's strawberries and some kind of pancakey thing (can't think of what they called it).

          1 Reply
          1. In any event, PLEASE DON'T GO FOR PASSOVER DINNER. Worst gefilte fish I've EVER had in my entire life. Totally insipid, the frozen stuff sold at Eilat Market is waaaay tastier. And the fish was the highlight, I guess... (To avoid adding insult to injury, I won't mention the $175 so-called charity fee.)

            1. In a general sense - No, not worth it.
              BUT the tasting menu does have its moments.

              1. j
                John Gonzales

                I'm not sure other people can accurately reflect on "worth" to you. Of course the place is expensive. So a part of the answer lies in whether a $100 PP meal seems worth it to you.
                If you are apt to dine at least occasionally in the most expensive dozen places in town, then absolutely it's as worth it as most others. In fact I'd say it's as probably more worth it than most others. I think a wise foodie puts Spago among the "five to make a point of trying" in the high-end category.
                Though it's the most pricey option, the tasting menu indeed is a better value than spending $60 (pre tax,tip) on ala carte app,entree,dessert. That said the ala carte dishes are still very good.
                What I will say is that Spago isn't particularly "romantic". The room is nice, and service good; it's just that neither is special.

                1. Not in my opinion.
                  Here's my experience from July '04.

                  Link: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...

                  1. I've been many times and always enjoy it. Lee Hefter (the exec chef)just won a James Beard award -for what that's worth these days-for best chef. Not the most romantic place in town really, although sitting on the patio would be quite nice....

                      1. I know that the boards tend to be rather divided re: Spago, but I will say that their agnolotti with truffles is one of my top dishes anywhere, and is worth the trip alone.

                        1. Without debating/arguing, once again, the pros and cons of Spago's food, it is not a great place for a "romantic dinner", that is unless you like to spend the night shouting at your SO so you can be heard and observing how the folks at the tables either side of you are enjoying your words of endearment!
                          Try the Bel Air, it's definitely more romantic.

                          1. While I had a good experience at Spago for my birthday (we had a veal chop that was one of the best I've ever had), there are quite a few other places for a romantic dinner:
                            - Saddle Peak Lodge in Calabassas. Unique setting (a 100-year-old hunting lodge), delicious carnivore-friendly menu, memorable flavors.
                            - Mastro's -- not everyone's definition of romantic, but it's a high-class steakhouse with low lighting, fantastic meat & great sides like lobster mashed potatoes.
                            - Hotal Bel-Air: I agree it's a romantic setting, but I can't remember what I ate when I went there.
                            - Off Vine. One the less expensive side, but a wonderful romantic dinner in an old house in Hollywood next to a fireplace with the town's best souffle dessert.