Best restaurant in Los Angeles
March 22, 2016 11:46 PM   Subscribe

What do you consider the best restaurant in LA and why? I'm willing to spend money on this, it's for a special occasion.
posted by kamikazegopher to Food & Drink (14 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Do you have a preference as to type of food? Italian? American? French? Sushi? I would have varying suggestions based on that. For ex: Bestia in dtla is reliably one of my favorite Italian spots, and not too pricey. The most recent spectacular meal I had was at Providence in Hollywood. It has such an innovative, filling menu and unparalleled service.
posted by sprezzy at 11:51 PM on March 22, 2016

Response by poster: We eat everything except for shellfish. I just want it to be an "experience".
posted by kamikazegopher at 12:20 AM on March 23, 2016

Buying tickets here is an experience. Trois Mec. #4 in Jonathan Gold's 101 list of 2015. (Providence is #1.)
posted by dogstoevski at 12:50 AM on March 23, 2016 [1 favorite]

If you could manage an invite to Wolvesmouth that would surely be an experience, also agree about trois mec
posted by sprezzy at 1:23 AM on March 23, 2016

If you're into an 'experience' the Magic Castle is one of those things. It's not about the food. The other thing that springs to mind is Club 33 at Disneyland.

In both cases, you'll need a hookup, but if you get in, you'll have bragging rights for the rest of your life.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 5:07 AM on March 23, 2016 [1 favorite]

I rarely visit LA, but when I went last year I decided to find the best places to treat myself to dinners I wouldn't normally have access to. (I live in a very foodie town, for context.) I went mostly by Jonathan Gold's Best Restaurants and poked through the reviews to see what I might be able to get to and what I was in the mood for.

On my first trip, I went to Providence (his top pick), as stated above, and I had a wonderful time. The experience was different and formal but not oppressively so, and I didn't feel out of place even though it was unlike anything I'd been to before. The cocktails, particularly in the bar area, are delightful. Note that their menu is heavy on shellfish, and they have several amuses-bouche, so whether you're allergic to shellfish or just avoid for other reasons, you should probably mention it to them and check out the menu. Still, I'm sure they have enough other stuff to be enjoyable.

On my second trip, I was with my husband and 7mo baby, which made things a little more difficult, but we ended up at Lucques (#8 in 2015) and, again, had a wonderful time. SO welcoming, even when we had a potentially squirrelly baby that might have gotten loud and interrupted dinner. Really nice atmosphere, with couches around a hearth and low lighting. Of course the food was wonderful.
posted by St. Hubbins at 8:13 AM on March 23, 2016

Do you have a location preference? (You know, if you're in Los Feliz, do you super mind diving to Santa Monica, etc?)

Providence is supposed to be amazing, but it's a lot of seafood. I love Lucques, but it's more...homey wonderful and not like, OMG WHAT IS HAPPENING HERE?? wonderful. Spago is a classic for a reason; it's also one of the only places in LA that feels....really really LA, but that also has extremely warm service, and the food is great (#3 on Gold's list; I've never had a bad meal there and it feels special to me. It's Spago!) Mozza is reliable. Agreed on Trois Mec.
posted by Countess Sandwich at 9:49 AM on March 23, 2016

Response by poster: Location is no problem. We live in Burbank but are willing to go anywhere for excellent dining!
posted by kamikazegopher at 10:22 AM on March 23, 2016

That LA Times link is paywalled. Try this one from Zagat or this list from Eater LA.
Being a poor, I can't speak from experience to most of these places, but in Pasadena:
Arroyo Chophouse (steakhouse)
Cafe Bizou (fancy, very nice)

I can help with getting in the Magic Castle, but the food is secondary to the experience.
(just an aside: if anyone has the aforementioned Club 33 hookup, please, please memail me.
posted by ApathyGirl at 11:10 AM on March 23, 2016 [2 favorites]

There are plenty of great restaurants my SO and I haven't been to, but we had a wonderful experience at Le Comptoir.
posted by under_petticoat_rule at 11:37 AM on March 23, 2016

Went to The Bazaar a few weeks ago to celebrate my wedding anniversary. It was lots of fun and it's the 1st high end place where I did NOT regret spending over $200 for a meal.
posted by cwarmy at 12:59 PM on March 23, 2016

If you are fans of molecular gastronomy, I would recommend Saam, which is a small dining room inside The Bazaar offering a prix fixe menu. The menu changes regularly, but it's generally riffs on the greatest hits of molecular gastronomy, with an emphasis on techniques that were pioneered by Ferran Adria (a good friend of Jose Andres).

In my view, it's a relative value for this sort of dining experience, as the meal price is on the lower end as compared to similar restaurants (e.g., Alinea, WD-50, etc.), and Saam usually provides a greater number of dishes showcasing varied techniques. Further, it would be easy to spend the same amount (or more) ordering dishes a la carte just outside Saam at The Bazaar.
posted by dbolll at 3:16 PM on March 23, 2016

Melisse was our special-occasion fancy place when I lived in Santa Monica. I've had a few really lovely meals there.
posted by town of cats at 3:51 PM on March 23, 2016

Oh, and while the Magic Castle is an interesting and fun "quintessentially LA" experience, be forewarned that the food is nothing special.
posted by town of cats at 3:53 PM on March 23, 2016 [1 favorite]

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