The question of where to eat in Los Angeles takes on a whole new meaning when more than 300 of L.A.’s best dining dens roll out the red carpet and open reservation lines for dineLA Restaurant Week. From July 15 to 26, you can snag a table at participating restaurants throughout the City of Angels and dive into specially priced lunch and dinner menus during the 12-day affair. In addition to hopping around from one fabulous meal to another, this year travelers and stay-cationers can receive a $50 American Express gift card with a two-night stay at participating hotels (think Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star L’Ermitage Beverly Hills and Five-Star Hotel Bel-Air) during this culinary event. Narrowing down your list can be an arduous task, so we’ve come up with a few stellar options.
The Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star restaurant inside Five-Star Montage Beverly Hills driven by celebrity chef Scott Conant dishes out a menu filled with Italian specialties, rather than overdone red-sauce clichés. Commence your dinner with choices such as a grilled peach salad with ricotta salata, or a pork terrine with porcini mustard, arugula and Murray Farm’s picked cherries. You can opt for an additional pasta course (spaghetti with tomato and basil), or move on to main selections including braised veal and bone marrow agnolotti; Mary’s organic roasted chicken with smoked potato gnocchi; and octopus served with fregola, calamari and smoked tomato guazzetto (a concentrated tomato sauce). The menu also offers classic or reserve wine pairings for each course.
As if dining with stellar views of Pacific Ocean wasn’t enough, at this Forbes Travel Guide Recommended restaurant inside the Four-Star Casa del Mar hotel in Santa Monica, managing chef Sven Mede scours the Santa Monica Farmers Market to offer you the freshest seasonal selections. Savor lunch and dinner selections including mustard marinated black cod with roasted shiitake mushrooms, sunchokes and green asparagus; slow-braised short rib with grilled broccolini, skillet potatoes and black garlic gremolata; and wild mushroom cavatelli with Swiss chard, English peas and asparagus.
Culina, Modern Italian
Not only does Culina offer fresh modern Italian fare inside the swanky Four-Star Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills, but it also sports the only live-action crudo bar in L.A. During dineLA, you can indulge in the spoils of it as you taste ahi tuna, Hawaiian amberjack, arctic char and yellowtail. The dinner menu also offers day boat scallops served with a romanesco sauce; asparagus risotto with pea tendrils, Parmesan and truffle essence; and New York steak with marinated peppers and summer squash. Delicious dining isn’t just an evening affair, however. For lunch, savor Culina’s burrata cheese served on a crostini with heirloom tomatoes and white anchovies; king salmon with black rice, cherry tomatoes, fennel and marjoram; or sweet corn ravioli in a brown butter sauce with sage.
The luxurious restaurant inside the Four-Star Beverly Wilshire in Beverly Hills (A Four Seasons Hotel) features an 18-foot illuminated onyx bar with a 12-foot backlit wine display; the outdoor patio overlooks Rodeo Drive, so this is an obvious spot to dine before and after shopping splurges. Enjoy the ambiance while you dive into dishes such as Peruvian ceviche (halibut with roasted corn and sweet potatoes; oysters “Nikkei” with avocado and soy sauce; and shrimp and scallop with spicy rocoto pepper and cilantro), seared chicken breast with fava beans, roasted corn and piquillo peppers, and black cod a lo macho served in a bouillabaisse broth with calamari, shrimp and red quinoa. Save room for the Valrhona chocolate tart for dessert.
Bouchon Beverly Hills
When Bouchon arrived in Los Angeles, it set the bar for French bistro cuisine; but raising standards is nothing new for Forbes Travel Guide Tastemaker Thomas Keller. Dine on simple and delicious fare that highlights the season during lunch and dinner. Lunch selections start with summer melon salad with compressed cucumber, kohlrabi and basil and watermelon vinaigrette, or chicken rillettes with pickled grapes. From there, move on to dishes such as tartine of sliced flat-iron steak on Bouchon Bakery olive bread; or hand-rolled cavatelli with yellow corn, Half Moon Bay mushrooms, arrowleaf spinach and corn pudding. Bouchon includes an extra amuse course — think Scottish salmon tartare or heirloom radishes with Vermont butter and gray salt — in addition to its three-course dinner. Other highlights of the menu include a toasted wheat-berry salad with purslane, as well as a half-dozen oysters. Dinner entrées are similar to lunch with the additions of steak frites and Bouchon’s famous roasted chicken with fork-crushed red skinned potatoes.
Photos Courtesy of Robb Gordon, Bouchon, Catch, Don Riddle and Culina