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The only really good restaurants in LA

Mori Sushi

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    1. You can go to Ohshima in OC for 1/10 the cost and equal ranking, if you can get in.

      1 Reply
      1. re: joebloe

        Hmm, been to Ohshima. It is indeed 1/5-1/10 the cost. The quality is no where near these guys. Sorry.

      2. Is this post meant to be a proclamation? If you're going to share your opinions some details would be nice.

        1. Definitely my favs.

          Try n/naka. You'll like it. A lot.

          1. You're obviously only talking high end as defined by something Michelin would award 2 stars to kind of thing if they still bothered to rank LA restaurants right?

            There are plenty of medium level restaurants and low end places that's excellent eats out here in LA. One can't eat high end every day or even twice a week. It gets so boring after a while. The low end stuff, the comfort stuff, never gets old.

            Glaring omissions include but are not limited to: Sotto, Red Medicne, Shunji, n/naka.

            7 Replies
            1. re: Porthos

              The OP mentioned, a few weeks ago when posting about Spago, that he/she *has alot of money* so maybe it *is* high end daily...
              Regardless, with all the money in the world, it's always nice to visit a stellar Mexican place here in LA where price isn't the issue.

              1. re: latindancer

                I saw that. Weird because OP has been around a while and I don't recall that or this being his/her MO.

                Money aside, high end cuisine all starts to feel and taste the same if done too frequently. At least that was the case for me even doing 1-2x a month back in NYC.

                1. re: Porthos

                  Well, I've taken trips where I've dined in Michelin 3 star and 2 Star restaurants every night. For a couple weeks.

                  And yeah, that's a bit too much. Still great though. But if you're doing this in a specific region, there are elements of redundancy. You start to crave things you might usually have, but stop having. Like...pizza!

                  I remember the end of one trip through Burgundy which landed me in Paris and I saw a McDonalds. Damn, that Big Mac and those fries were awfully satisfying.

                  Still, I would agree with OP - those are the only really good restaurants in L.A. But I'd add n/naka to the list.

                  On another level - just below, but very good - there are places like Angelini Osteria, Animal, and a few others.

                  1. re: foodiemahoodie

                    I make sure to buffer my 3*s with plenty of no stars. Even/especially in Paris.

                    One has a very limited range and palate if they can only find 4 "really good restaurants" in a given city.

                    It's important not to mistake "really good" with only high end places.

                    I would argue that high end places in LA are the most easily trumped and exceeded by other cities and that the lower end stuff is often unrivaled.

                    1. re: Porthos

                      Quote: "I would argue that high end places in LA are the most easily trumped and exceeded by other cities and that the lower end stuff is often unrivaled."

                      +1. My budget and work schedule limits from traveling much or spending lots of $ on food, but my impression is that LA actually does high-end fairly poorly (in terms of sheer number of restaurants that provide excellent food) but that the ease of finding cheap and tasty food from a fairly diverse array of cultures in many parts of the city is exceptional.

                  2. re: Porthos

                    <high end cuisine all starts to feel and taste the same if done too frequently>

                    That's exactly how I've always felt. It's fine for a few days, even exciting to look forward to some of the restaurants, but after awhile it's enough and all I'll want is something comforting and simple.

                    1. re: latindancer

                      you are absolutely right..sometimes just a grilled piece of chicken or fish and a good salad sounds so good to me!!

              2. I dunno.

                I think The Hat is "really good" too.

                It has better fries than Providence, and none of the cheese offerings at Melisse comes close to the stuff on The Hat's chili fries. And, unlike Urasawa and Mori, The Hat has Fanta soda.

                4 Replies
                1. re: ipsedixit

                  There are a lot of excellent dishes, from the low end to the high end, out there. I appreciate the hounds who come here to tell me about them and then I try to make time to sample some of them. Given personal preferences, I am going to hit up the chorizo bowl at Ronnie's Diner in Culver City this weekend once again, come hell or high water - because to me it's excellent...and affordable.

                  1. re: ipsedixit

                    Chili Cheese Fries at The Hat. It's a food coma in a sack.

                    1. re: raytamsgv

                      you mean chili cheese pastrami fries right?

                      1. re: ns1

                        It is the pastrami that puts it from the "good" to "really good" category.

                  2. I respectfully disagree. As someone who does not enjoy seafood in any capacity, not one of those restaurants are appealing to me. But thank goodness we live in a big city with tons of options- I'd be willing to bet that no two lists would be the same...

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: schrutefarms

                      Totally agree.
                      I do enjoy "some" seafood, yet never at Providence.
                      Way overpriced, with an ambiance that only be described as contrived.
                      When was the last time I wanted to eat Gourmet-style in a tuck&roll setting?
                      Does never come to mind?
                      Ambiance there is a total zero, and regardless of how good you may think the food is, I would never step foot in the place until they at least remodel it.
                      And no sushi is just fine with me.
                      Melisse - say good night.
                      but as others have stated, LA's best efforts come from more affordable operations. LA is never focused on the high end, as the population is too diverse with wallets to match.
                      How often do you really want to "dress up" for dinner?
                      And what is your idea of "dressing up"?
                      I hate dressing up, yet spending money in appropriate places, like Hatfield's, is no problem. Just wish I could do it more often.

                    2. Even if you are right, it's fun to keep searchin' to see what turns up. You might find a new candidate if you look enough.

                      1. have you ever tried Hatfield's? One of the best in the City & gorgeous

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: MIKEDJUDY

                          Why? Let the OP enjoy their four "good" restaurants. That means there's another table available at a substandard restaurant for the rest of us.

                        2. taken with a grain of jurassic salt.

                          1. I don’t know, with all due respect, I think this is a pretty provincial view of what a good restaurant is, a sort of Paris/Michelin-centric view of perfect service, precious dishes, etc. Fortunately, even Parisians are starting to reject this idea, favoring incredible bistros that make amazing food in a less severe environment (e.g,. Le Comptoir in Paris, which is harder to get a reservation at than say l’Arpege).

                            The great thing about the greater L.A. food scene, and chowhound in particular, is that it isn’t Michelin-centric, it embraces great food wherever it’s found. I love Providence and Melisse, the food is fantastic, but I personally find the service and atmosphere too extreme, too austere. They’re not fun places. The food is also great at Red Medicine, but it’s a fun place to eat. Sea Harbor would never get a Michelin star based because of the service, but great food and I’d certainly put it in the “really good” category because I go out to eat for the food and the atmosphere, not for incredibly rarified service.

                            So while I agree with the OP that those are all very good restaurants, it’s such a limited view of what a good restaurant is, looks like "what the Michelin guide tells us is good". I enjoy a broader view.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: Robert Thornton

                              Not fun? Really? Providence or Melisse?

                              10 years ago I would say that both felt very formal. I enjoyed the whole pomp and circumstance of that elegant, luxurious, decadent formality.

                              And though they still have that wonderful formality, it has definitely evolved. If you've ever dined in a Michelin ** or *** in the provinces - of France especially - you'd find the service to be much more formal and chilly than you would find in Paris (where I have yet to encounter the stuffy cliche French waiter).

                              And it feels differently - both the service and the crowd at both of these restaurants (though there is one guy at Melisse - the French guy who it a bit old skool in that regard).

                              Okay, I'm 10 years older now - but I used to be the youngest person in either restaurant. Now both restaurants are become attractive to a much younger, hipper crowd. Now I'm always in the older camp at either venue. Same with the four or five times I've been to n/naka.

                              I have a LOT of fun at Melisse. So much fun I really can't share it on a public forum. And Providence too. The younger crowd brings the perfect energy to these venues.

                              I suspect you're not wrong about Paris - but keep in mind they have a lot of ** and *** restaurants there. Maybe too many. I find L.A. is becoming a unique blend of both. You want fine dining? We got it. And we got it good (note that Grant Achatz was dining at Providence Sunday night). You want ethnic? You want small plate Heaven? Pizza? We got it. Italian? This town rocks.

                              BTW - the new Michelin Guide prezzie says he wants to come back to L.A. No plans yet, but he is American, and he did work at Michael's. And he gets L.A. (or says so).

                              I find the Michelin Guide to be a perfect reference of it's own kind. Sure there are great places without stars, but it's an easy guide to understand a very specific POV.

                              BTW - Forbes Travel Guide (FKA Mobil) just gave Melisse *****.

                            2. I find this list laughable, and am hoping its intent is strictly nose-thumbing provocation.

                              As others have pointed out, and I tend to agree, LA shines not at the narrow "Michelin" level, but at almost all others ("obscure" regional ethnic, "farm-to-table", etc).

                              I'm not arguing they are not "good" (whatever that means), but the implication is either they are the "best" - with which I somewhat disagree - or that LA is devoid of any truly superlative dining options.

                              Either way I'm not on board.