I love Los Angeles and its culinary scene. To my dismay, three of my all-time favorite restaurants have gone permanently under. On a brighter note, there are new places that are excellent opening up daily.
My favorite spots in Los Angeles include:
Koi Japanese Fusion
The menu is very unusual here. They have a habit of using different types of peppers in their cooking. I like this very much although I feel they should offer a choice of how hot you want it. I ordered a habanero branzini. It was excellent, but lacked any kick. My favorite dish there is the rock shrimp roll. Other restaurants serve this dish too, but their execution is far inferior to the masters at Koi. They have great sake, innovative desserts and a menu that will make your jaw drop, not to mention how good looking the crowd is there. If you haven’t been to Koi — go there!
The Stinking Rose
This spot has a menu which is Italian and American in nature. The ambiance is one of the best in the entire metro with staff to match. Dine in the grotto (if they let you) or in the decorated dining hall next to the traditional Chianti bottles. The menu is excellent. There are many super choices including rabbit, affordable wines, and amazing pastas. This is the best spot to bring a date if you want to impress them.
This is a newer kid on the block with a multi-million dollar decor and very unusual menu. Their dishes are based on dishes throughout Asia and India. Their execution is far from traditional, but the flavors they create are fantastic. Look them up online and pay them a visit. They are in the Century City Mall.
Spagos in Beverly Hills is a traditional spot for the entitled classes. Conversations are always good, and the food is cooked by the highest level of professionals. They have a sommelier who can answer your wine questions if he is around. The menus is always different, but I have enjoyed some good Liberty Duck, chicken, and other good dishes. Their wine selection is impressive too. My most memorable night was with my buddy where he splurged and got Russian caviar for the both of us!
If you are looking for a quintessential Los Angeles experience, look no further. The Bazaar on La Cienega, Beverly Hills is very bizarre for lack of a better word. There are multiple restaurants and bars inside. The ambiance is very night-lifey, and the crowd is hip. Service is really slow, but we had some amazing Ottoman carrot fritters and other great tapas dishes there which I will not forget. The Bazaar is more for the scene and less for the food, but the food and wine are great as well.
Hope you liked my choices. I would have liked to have written more about each place, but I have to have dinner! Gotta go!