It should come as no surprise that L.A. is the birthplace of the celebrity chef, where top-notch cuisine and some of the industry’s biggest names are behind the best restaurants in L.A.
At Wolfgang Puck’s Spago, a perennial favorite in Beverly Hills, chef Lee Hefter and chef de cuisine Tetsu Yahagi present both classic and modern dishes served in the sleek black-and-white dining room and glassed-in patio with twinkling lights. Just be ready to gratefully accept the 5:30 or 10:30 reservation, or if walk-in is more your style, grab a seat at one of the centrally located cocktail tables (first-come, first-served) where you’ll have eyes on the surrounding action. FYI, amiable chef Puck often visits the dining room during dinner time, so keep your eyes peeled.
Also located in Beverly Hills, Maude showcases the admirable skills of celebrity chef Curtis Stone (Iron Chef America, Top Chef). Every month, a single ingredient serves as inspiration for the 9-course tasting menu created by the popular Aussie chef. But make reservations as soon as you know your travel plans: no more than 25 diners are seated at a time.
On Melrose Avenue in Hollywood, Michael Cimarusti’s Providence has created one of the finest seafood restaurants in the country, putting his modernist techniques to good use with wild-caught sustainable fish and eclectic L.A. flavors. At Lucques in West Hollywood, chef Suzanne Goin serves up California cuisine with a global twist (harissa is a staple on her menus). Her cooking looks effortless, a blend of elegant dishes and comfort food delivered to diners in silent-screen star Harold Lloyd’s former carriage house.
In Santa Monica, formal service and fine French technique reign supreme at two- Michelin-star Mélisse, where chef/owner Josiah Citrin (a veteran of L.A.’s gourmet scene) focuses on the sublime (lobster, caviar), and the simple (lentils), all with outstanding results.