Dining in Los Angeles has never been so good. The scene combines top chef talent utilizing year-round access to farm-fresh produce and expertly sourced meats, making it a perfect recipe for restaurant success. If you want to eat out in L.A., here are five reservations you need to have right now.
Throughout his career, Neal Fraser has worked with a who’s who of chefs, including Thomas Keller, David Burke and Wolfgang Puck. His newest jewel in the L.A. restaurant scene is the long-awaited Redbird, which formally opened in January. Situated adjacent to the historic St. Vibiana’s Cathedral downtown, the restaurant boasts a contemporary indoor lounge and romantic courtyard dining. When you aren’t ogling the surroundings, dine on Fraser’s deftly executed modern American menu of seasonal dishes like persimmon burrata salad with duck prosciutto, pistachio and upland cress; braised goat gemelli with rapini, Fresno chili, garlic bread crumbs topped with a poached egg; and veal Fraser, a 24-ounce Wisconsin veal chop boldly teamed with 24-hour braised veal cheeks and Burgundy snails.
To serve discerning diners at his lively 50-seat restaurant, chef-owner Bruce Kalman scours local farmers markets to source ingredients from top purveyors for his Northern Italian menu. It’s not uncommon to see whole pigs in his kitchen. Kalman breaks them down to utilize every possible part in his nose-to-tail dishes. For his signature porchetta, he wraps pork belly around pork loin and slow roasts it for a crispy skin and tender meat. During the winter, he picks up Santa Barbara spot prawns to briefly salt roast and serve over a salad of wild arugula, shaved fennel and cara cara oranges. For many, it might be the housemade pasta that keeps them coming back — whether it’s a simple spaghetti alla chitarra (“guitar” spaghetti) with San Marzano tomatoes, garlic and Fresno chilies, or the ever-indulgent squid ink garganelli with lobster, fennel, Meyer lemon and truffle butter.
Odys and Penelope
The husband-and-wife team of Quinn and Karen Hatfield has been a staple in the Los Angeles restaurant scene for years. The duo recently shuttered its beloved fine-dining establishment, Hatfield’s, to open Odys and Penelope, a contemporary churrasco and grill.
You won’t find any passadores strolling through the breezy modern dining room, though; hungry foodies order from a menu brimming with eclectic dishes cooked on a Brazilian churrasco, wood-fired smoker and open grill. It would be a shame to move on to dessert without ordering the dry-rubbed smoked short ribs served with Quinn’s Western Sweet sauce first. Other highlights include bacon-wrapped chicken thighs served with a lemon-date chutney, and housemade pappardelle with pork belly Bolognese and fried sage. Finish off the meal with one of Karen’s seasonal desserts, like cornmeal ricotta fritters with salted local honey butter or warm apple almond “toast” and fennel ice cream.
CUT Beverly Hills
When you crave a marbled slice of Japanese Wagyu beef in Los Angeles, you must go to CUT. The Four-Star establishment serves Japanese Wagyu beef from Miyazaki Prefecture, Kyushu, on a menu alongside other succulent steak and seafood selections.
The modern 104-seat steakhouse designed by Richard Meier (acclaimed architect of L.A.’s Getty Center) is tucked inside the Four-Star Beverly Wilshire, Beverly Hills (A Four Seasons Hotel), which makes it a great spot for its well-heeled clientele to dine on dishes like Illinois corn-fed, 21-day-aged steaks, Colorado lamb chops, Dover sole and more.
The Polo Lounge
You can’t properly visit L.A. without paying homage to The Beverly Hills Hotel, an iconic Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star beauty. While you’re there, grab a bite at this Forbes Travel Guide Recommended spot where you can see your favorite stars noshing on stellar fare.
Executive chef Kaleo Adams keeps things fresh by visiting area markets for seasonal ingredients to incorporate into his dishes like the sought-after McCarthy salad (a mix of romaine hearts, grilled chicken, organic eggs, beets, tomatoes, cheddar, applewood-smoked bacon, avocado and balsamic vinaigrette).
For a more intimate experience, catch Adams when he pops up once a season in the hotel’s Fountain Coffee Room. (Spring dates haven’t been announced at press time.) During the two-night event, he turns the casual diner’s 19-seat counter into a chef’s table and serves a four-course menu — Nantucket Bay scallops and Snake River Farm pork loin highlighted this past February’s event — with wine pairings.