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May 29, 2011 10:53 AM

SAAM and what else?

I'll be going to LA (my first time) next month and already have reservations to go to SAAM with a couple of friends.

I want try out another top fine dining place, but probably will be dining alone. What else should I consider? It seems like Providence, Melisse, or Patina are contenders. Currently, I booked Providence and would do the full chef's tasting menu. And if I go on a Monday, there's no corkage fee.

Patina wasn't really only my radar, but it did just recently get 4 stars from LA times last year. But the Yelp aggregate reviews (i.e. ratio of 5 stars compared to 4 stars) don't stand up to that of Providence or Melisse. Spago?

FYI, I'm from and live in NYC, so I wouldn't go to say, Craft.

Thanks LA Hounds!

176 North Canon Drive, Beverly Hills, CA 90210

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  1. Check out Saddle Peak Lodge. Located in the canyon/hillsides of Calabasas/Malibu (NO ocean view). Lovely environment. Unique for its game meats.

    Also, very popular is Animal. Across the street from Animal is The Golden State. Fab burgers. I love the BLT. Ice Cream @ The Golden State very special. Both in the Fairfax area.

    Enjoy your visit.

    Saddle Peak Lodge
    419 Cold Canyon Rd., Calabasas, CA 91302

    The Golden State
    426 N. Fairfax Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90036

    1. Animal is a place to consider.

      Can't go wrong with Saddle Peak Lodge, as mentioned above, either.

      I like Patina very much, as well as Providence, Melisse and Spago. Can't go wrong with any of those.

      Other places to consider:

      - The Royce
      - Red Medicine
      - Cut
      - Hatfields
      - Urasawa
      - Kiyokawa
      - Totoraku

      I wouldn't put too much credence in Yelp reviews. Use Yelp for what it's good for, locating a restaurant's address and telephone number quickly.

      1. fwiw.........My wife and I, celebrating her birthday, ate at Saam last night.......service, food and drinks were all as I hoped they would be. In a word, WONDERFUL

        1. Think all the suggestions so far are great (especially The Royce and Hatfields 2.0) but since you're saying that you're from NYC, "so I wouldn't go to say, Craft", why not try something a little more SoCal in character? Patina, Providence, Spago and Melisse are all very much in the mold of Jean-George's or Eric Ripert's or Daniel Boulud's restos.

          Have you considered Lucques?

          8474 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90069

          8 Replies
          1. re: FranklinJefferson

            I wonder if Rivera or Playa might interest the OP?

            1. re: bulavinaka

              Thanks for all the great recs/advice. I was thinking some local "flavor" for lunch like all the great Mexican spots, maybe Chinatown or Korean food. 2 of the 4 nights I'm there are pretty much "play it by ear", so if some of these SoCal flavor places don't take reservations or have last minute openings and my friends and I happen to be in the area, I'd definitely try them.

              So the other 2 nights, one is definitely SAAM and I'm deciding on the last dinner. My feeling is that I want to try "the best" of fine dining LA - specific cuisine not as important.

              I thought Wolfgang Puck was one of the grandfathers of California cuisine. Just curious - what makes these other spots more SoCal than say, Spago?

              176 North Canon Drive, Beverly Hills, CA 90210

              1. re: deepfry7

                "I thought Wolfgang Puck was one of the grandfathers of California cuisine".

                At one time (early '80's, he certainly was), but I think time, and corporatization, has made for a less unique cuisine.

                Suzanne Goin - Lucques - (the Alice Waters of Southern California IMHO) and Jon Sedlar - Rivera and Playa - have carved their individual niches by utilizing what's unique to the local climate and "terroir". While you may find the ingredients they use applied in many other locations throughout the country, if not the world, their particular application and technique make them quintessentially Los Angelean.

                Having said that, there are numerous other restaurants that might fly under the radar which are also distinctly L.A. in nature, Mo-Chica comes to mind immediately. Remember, L.A. is a more casual environment so what is considered High End in NYC is certainly special occasion food here, but not necessarily the most unique, special, or indicative of the native cuisine.

                8474 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90069

                3655 S Grand Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90007

                1. re: deepfry7

                  don't miss Mariscos Chente - you can't get Mexican seafood like that in NY. be sure to go to the *Inglewood location* (i've included a place link)...and according to our resident expert westsidegal, the guy you definitely want preparing your food - Sergio - is off Tuesdays & Wednesdays so try not to go then :)

                  Mariscos Chente
                  10020 Inglewood Ave, Lennox, CA 90304

                  1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                    Awesome - a mile from the airport. Maybe I'll hit that up for lunch after I land just around noon. I'm doing Friday to Tuesday, so that works fine.

                    Why does the restaurant website (and Yelp) only list this address?
                    4532 South Centinela Ave

                    And not the address you pointed towards:
                    10020 Inglewood Ave, Inglewood, CA

                    Centinela Cafe
                    4800 S Centinela Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90066

                      1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                        Thanks for all the info! It's now added to my itinerary. The pictures in the first link are fantastic.

                        Any staples that are a must try, in your opinion? I'll run a search later as well.

                  2. re: deepfry7

                    Spago remains the epitome of LA/SoCal cuisine and fine dining. If you have never been, don't miss it. I love many of the other places listed here as much, or more, but always take my first-time visitors who love food to Spago.

                    176 North Canon Drive, Beverly Hills, CA 90210

              2. Darn. Michael Voltaggio's restaurant isn't scheduled to open until July. I read June a month or so back.