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Best restaurants for dessert?

I'm a pastry chef & will be travelling to LA in a couple weeks. Where do you recommend I go for the best restaurant desserts? I'm well-versed on the area bakeries, but I don't know much about the restaurants. Where do you recommend I go for the best desserts, both in terms of flavor &/or appearance?

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  1. The best dessert I've had, both in terms of flavor and appearance is at Red Medicine.

    The birch ice is beautiful and the mixture of sour and sweet and rich and icy is phenomenal.

    1. Agree with Red Medicine. Wholeheartedly.

      Try Shunji & Kiriko (both in West LA) for their housemade ice creams, mousses and sorbets.

      For the best gelato outside Italy, try Bulgarini in Altadena.

      7 Replies
      1. re: J.L.

        Red Medicine and Providence are the best in town. At Red Medicine I prefer the green gage plum or green strawberry desserts (depending on season) and the coconut bavarois.

        Bazaar has a big showy dessert bar. After 7 or so visits, I haven't found anything better than average.

        1. re: Porthos

          +1 Red Medicine.

          Hatfield's desserts are pretty terrific, too.

          1. re: Porthos

            The Coconut Bavarois at Red Medicine is the best dessert I've had anywhere.

            For the OP's benefit, Red Medicine's Chef, Jordan Kahn, was part of the French Laundry's pastry team at 17 and later worked as part of the pastry team at Per Se and Alinea.

          2. re: J.L.

            I'll second the recommendation of chocolate mousse at Shunji's.

            It's half the reason why I go there.

            Better than most bona-fide French restaurants in town. Well, come to think of it, there really isn't many French restaurants in town to begin with.

            1. re: kevin

              the lime ice cream there is just crazy good.

              1. re: linus

                I'm not a lime fan, and even I find myself dreaming about Shunji's lime ice cream for days afterwards...

                1. re: J.L.

                  Wow. That's fine praise.

                  And I hate lemon meringue and key lime pies.

          3. For a large and well-done brownie or blondie sundae, Milk is good.

            Not sure if same in the Mozza restaurant, or better, but the desserts at pizzaria mozza are dynamite.

            in the molecular gastronomy vein of red medicine (a polarizing place and im in the "no thanks" camp), the deserts at bazaar are exotic and, in some cases, actually satisfying. There's a chocolate and cookie "bar" too. recalling a clever chocolate mousse with chocolate covered pop rock things inside that worked well.

            the chocolate lava cake has been done and done some more but there is none better than the bento box version at matsuhisa for me.

            new french bakery on beverly drive called chaumont....4 different flavors of eclairs and other goodies.

            the kaiserschmarrn is this outrageous austrian pancake thing with strawberries, berry sauce and load of whipped cream/custard stuff, at spago bh.

            pies at apple pan...not shabby

            3 Replies
            1. re: jessejames

              +1 for Pizzeria Mozza.

              Went there for lunch recently and had the Espresso Granita. Looked simple but was the perfect balance of not too icy coffee granita, chewy coffee gelato and unsweetened whipped cream. Every bite popped - rich, flavorful, great contrasting textures and not too sweet.

              And her baked goods are divine - the cookies at Mozza to go always tempt me!

              1. re: happybaker

                +1 for Pizzaria Mozza. Nothing beats the budino, IMO.

              2. re: jessejames

                Had the kaiserschmarrm at bar beisl recently -- made with plum compote not strawberries....blew wolfgang's away.

              3. Anyone been to Ramekin (Los Feliz) lately?

                3 Replies
                1. re: ns1

                  The lack of replies to this inquiry tells me Ramekin is 5 steps away from closing shop.

                  1. re: ns1

                    Not lately, but I went pretty early on. Had a scoop of ice cream and a sumo mandarin tart. There are too many good ice creams out there these days for me to make a trip back for that. The custard in the tart was pretty much liquid, which I thought was a mistake. I asked them about it and they said that's how they intended it. I don't know if that's how custard is supposed to be anywhere, but it was strange to me, so I haven't been back since.

                    1. re: ns1

                      I too went fairly early on and was grossly underwhelmed. Haven't returned since even though I live in the neighborhood.

                      1. re: ipsedixit

                        Providence also has a dessert tasting menu.

                        1. The Ivy has the best ice cream sundae and cobbler in town

                          12 Replies
                            1. re: maudies5

                              have to try that - im a sucker for a good sundae -- my favorites are the ones at Milk and Lawry's.

                              1. re: jessejames

                                Yes to the CC Browns hot fudge sundae at Lawry's

                                1. re: wienermobile

                                  i love that and can always find the room even after the Diamond Jim Brady cut...the little things like the chilled silver bowl, and fresh whipped cream and table preparation really make it better.

                                  FYI not sure you hounds have heard of this guy who has a roast beef slice named after him, but this is awesome


                                  also had a really nice strawberry sundae at the lobster with fresh made ice cream, sauce and berry compote...

                                    1. re: wienermobile

                                      That does look good.

                                      Too bad CC Browns is no longer in existence.

                                      1. re: kevin

                                        Lawry's now owns it, serves the sundae and sells the hot fudge. The original CC Brown's on Hollywood Blvd was pretty run down at their end when they closed in 1996.

                                        1. re: wienermobile

                                          can buy jars of the fudge at lawrys...

                                          1. re: wienermobile

                                            Ok, thanks. Too bad I can't just grab that.

                                        2. re: wienermobile

                                          whoa! got my attention! -- delish!

                                          gotta say it looks even better in person -- more whipped cream, toasted almonds and the frosty chilled silver bowl....i ask for chocolate ice cream but i would have no problem polishing that off!

                              2. I had a homeade Snickers bar thing at Tavern a few years ago, it was one of those desserts that you remember...

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: schrutefarms

                                  That "Snickers Bar is incredible. Tavern has a great pastry chef, Christina Oluffson. I think she also is the pastry chef for AOC and Lucques.
                                  Here is Tavern's dessert menu:

                                2. I've had some really wonderful desserts at Craft the last few times I've been there.

                                  3 Replies
                                  1. re: la2tokyo

                                    I'll second this. Also, Providence and Craft are good choices.

                                    1. re: la2tokyo


                                      Shannon Swindle may be the best "traditional" restaurant pastry chef in LA. No tweezers, no micro flowers, just satisfying combinations of sugar/butter/flour.

                                      1. re: TonyC

                                        which joint does shannon swindle ply her or is it a his wares ????

                                    2. My friend is a pastry chef from Paris. He ran all the Angelina's out there. Pretty much he just eats Mexican food and Asian food when he visits LA.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: tenxtone76

                                        Angelina's has the best Mont Blanc I have ever tasted.
                                        And their hot chocolate is thick and delicious.

                                      2. I have to give a strong 2nd to the recommendation of Craft. The best restaurant desserts in the city. Second best would be Hatfield's.

                                        You won't go wrong with either.

                                        1. Under the radar, dessert omakase and Jinpachi in West Hollywood. She was a pastry chef at Spago and gets to get extravagant with her own restaurant.
                                          Call first, I'm not sure they still do it all the time.