GQ Magazine has defined Downtown Los Angeles as "America's Next Great City". And this is equally true of its culinary offering. There was no lack of fine dining venues and bistrots even before this rebirth, but the choice was somewhat limited.
This is no longer the case, now that acclaimed chefs and visionary restaurateurs have created a flourishing food scene in LA. Frequented by celebs from all over the world, what this city has to offer does not come at a cheap price.
However, if you follow our advices, you will find it more affordable.
FROM 0 TO 25 EURO
Thanks to the Pacific ocean, the surrounding mountains and the city’s impressive skyscrapers, there are some excellent views to soak up at Los Angeles, from the sea to the Hollywood Hills. Take the 24th floor of The Ritz-Carlton, for instance. We are in the Nest at WP24, the lounge with a spectacular view. Prices are steep if you choose the Asian-inspired menu comprising, starters, sushi and generously portioned dishes. The venue’s colour scheme is played out in dark shades but a sort of gilt cage envelops the tables, just like a nest.
You can try chef John Lechleidner’s cuisine another time, just enjoy the view and, in keeping with this budget, order a drink and a snack, such as the Concubine’s Kiss cocktail, whose ingredients are Absolut Pears Vodka, Canton Ginger, Yuzu and Pear (16 Euros).
WP24 at Ritz-Carlton Hotel
900 W Olympic Blvd, Los Angeles
Newly inaugurated, The Manufactory is a bakery cum café and restaurant which made its debut in San Francisco in 2002 and triggered the worldwide movement in favour of legendary sourdough bread. Tartine Bianco is the name of the house restaurant where you can have a chic breakfast experience or enjoy comfort food. Your budget allows for a couple of fried eggs or a sumptuous smoked salmon tartine, with mustard, cream cheese and lemon.
However, the real foodies flock here for the selection of breads served with kefir or alga nori-aromatized butter (about 15 Euros per course).
757 Alameda Street, Los Angeles
FROM 25 TO 50 EURO
Rated as one of the most interesting new entries, Orsa & Winston follows in the wake of chef Josef Centeno’s previous successes, namely the Bäco Mercat and the Bar Amá.
Orsa & Winston is a restaurant whose menu comprises omakase and Italian contaminations, a sort of marriage between mamma’s gyoza and Massimo Bottura’s tortellini. The omakase snack menu is ideal for this budget, since it offers 3 dishes of your own choice at 40 Euros approximately. Things such as hijiki and raw grated beetroot salad or carbonara satsuki at 12/15 Euros per portion.
Orsa & Winston
122 W 4th Street, Los Angeles
Going under the name of CATCH, this charming West Hollywood venue is specialized in premium quality seafood. The style has hints of Japan and the US but there are also vegan dishes on the menu. The star feature is a panoramic rooftop, decorated with plants and flowers of all colours, which overlooks most of the city.
Here you are more than likely to encounter famous actors and personages who come here for lunch or a drink. The sort of dishes you can order to accompany a drink are King crab tempura with ponzu sauceor Catch ceviche with Maine lobster and mango (an average of 30 Euros per dish).
8715 Melrose Avenue West Hollywood, Los Angeles
FROM 50 TO 100 EURO
While you are saving up enough money to book a table at Vespertine or Somni’s – you will need about 250 Euros – why not try a stimulating novelty such as Majordomo, a light-filled venue with magnificent panoramic windows. Here the Californian cuisine draws inspiration from all the different food cultures to be found in Los Angeles and from the generous farm produce of south California, interpreted by chef Jude Parra-Sickels. Dive into two meaningful dishes such as cave fermented butter with white sturgeon caviar (30 Euros) or Macaroni & Chickpea Hozon, with black truffle priced at 45 Euros.
1725 Naud Street, Los Angeles
Something more traditional can be had at Geoffrey's, a luxurious restaurant looking out onto Malibu beach. Executive Chef Bijan Shokatfard remains faithful to the French culinary tradition with his Cesar salad and quiche Lorraine, but it is worth dining here if only for the sight of the sparkling ocean just a few metres away. Three course menu at 80 Euro.
27400 Pacific Coast High Way, Los Angeles
Ever a must-go address, Spago is located in the heart of Beverly Hills, on Canon Drive. It was renovated in 2012 by Waldo's Designs and continues to be the flagship restaurant of the Wolfgang Puck Fine Dining Group. For lunch and dinner, clients may choose from a seasonal à la carte menu or savour the best at 75 Euros for the entire table. Their legendary pizza topped with salmon and caviar costs around 20 Euros.
176 N Canon Drive, Los Angeles
At Shibumi, Chef David Schlosser defines his Kappo-style cuisine as a sort of one of a kind Japanese gourmet menu. He ferments shrimps, grinds ingredients, and creates unusual pairings in a heavy iron saucepan which turn out to have the most intriguing flavours. Choose the omakase menu which starts at $ 65 and you can’t go wrong. Make sure you get a seat at the counter from where you can observe the master chef at work.
815 S Hill Street, Los Angeles