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Need a very elegant high end dinner for a big birthday for my wife. Would you go to Spago, Patina or ???? Thanks for the help

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    1. Melisse is the first place that comes to mind for your needs. Not sure how the food is nowdays but decorwise, Cicada downtown might be worth a look if you love Art Deco.

      1 Reply
      1. re: New Trial

        Went to Melise last big birthday. Food was not up to par, but it was the night before Easter.

          1. re: J.L.

            I second Providence. Their tasting menu is the best meal I've ever had in Los Angeles.

          2. If your wife loves fish, then it's gotta be Providence. Even if you think you're "medium" on fish, God, is this place wonderful. One of the best meals I've ever had in my life. Each dish was seemingly more magnificent than the last. The service was impeccable, extremely attentive and yet down-to-earth friendly. Expensive and worth it.

            If your spouse-lette is something of a romantic, I think Melisse would work. They specialize in making women feel special. No, that's not a slogan on their menu!! It's my opinion only! But, c'mon, there's a chair to hold her purse, for God's sakes! (I actually appreciated it!) Melisse is also very expensive (so are most all of these - but Melisse stands out in my memory, price-wise).

            If your wife is a real mush, The Raymond House in Pasadena is very romantic. Food is not excellent -- good, but last I had it, not excellent. If a person is not a gfoodie, this restaurant is perfect (!!) The actual place -- an old home -- is genuine, antiquey but not overly cluttered or pretentious... just really gorgeous.

            I found Spago to be formal and business-oriented. We had a great meal there, don't get me wrong, but there were a lot of "suits" and business deals going on all around us.

            Patina is fine.... good food, pretty enough, but maybe -- at least to me -- is not the place with the "oomph" that you want for a very special birthday... Maybe I'm jaded(!) Been there a few times (more than a few). My husband likes it there a lot. Me, I can't figure out their faucet in the restroom!! Do In remember my food? The service? The table? NO - I remember that stupid bathroom! (What can I say? I had to ask for help w/ the friggin' faucet and I wasn't the only one by any stretch -- talk about embarrassing and stupid! Just get a normal faucet, Patina!)

            The Bel-Aire Hotel is beautiful. I haven't been to their restaurant since they re-did it, but it gets great reviews.(When we went there, pre-renovation, I honest-to-God overheard this conversation between a 60-something year old man with a 20-something year old blonde bombshell: He: Did you hear they're making Hillary Clinton Secretary of State? She: What state? (OY!)

            The grounds put you in a different world; you have no idea you're in Los Angeles. It's breathtaking. So, eat your special meal there, kick out your pals, and book a night at the hotel. That would be The Ultimate. If I were your wife, that'd sure say LOVE! ( Okay, that's a little bit "eeeew" for both of us, but you get the point.)

            One last place: The Chateau Marmont is very pretty. The outside gardens are lush. But the service is probably the worst I've ever experienced, period. Rude, snooty and completely uncaring. Stay far, far away. (And our food was overcooked too.)

            Tell her Happy BD from all of us -- and have an incredible time!!!

                1. re: maudies5

                  If the idea of eating while watching a swan navigate the local waters strikes you as romantic, this is your place. If it strikes you as kitch, well, Providence.

                2. Providence if you really great food in a very nice setting.
                  The Bel Air if you want very nice food in a great setting.

                  1. Melisse. If no Melisse, Providence (must love fish) or n/naka. Never been to Bel Air, though. I actually think Spago is great -- very easy menu, comfortable. Very tasty food -- but neither outstandingly delicious nor outstandingly creative.

                    1. Neither Spago or Patina.

                      Melisse, n/naka or Providence.

                      If it's about the food, I'd skip Hotel Bel Air.

                      Surprised you had a sub par experience at Melisse (but you've been before I assume?). I've been many times - never really had anything close to a bad meal, but once, on a Valentine's dinner - the soup could have been warmer (they warmed it up - was delicious when returned). And around 10 years ago my GF had some salmon I didn't like.