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
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!!!