Los Angeles has one of the best dining scenes in the country and that means the options for celebratory meals are limitless. Famed chef Jordan Kahn is taking diners back to “ancestral eating,” at his immersive, new restaurant; favorites like the two MICHELIN-starred Providence continue to enthrall diners with seafood; and Japanese and Taiwanese roots serve as the base for a host of exciting dishes at Hermosa Beach’s RYLA. Read on for 15 Los Angeles restaurants worth booking for a special occasion.
Step into an immersive dining experience at Jordan Kahn’s latest venture: Meteora. Past the entrance draped in willow branches, diners are treated to what Kahn has dubbed “ancestral eating,” a meal that spotlights local and seasonal food. The menu is divided into four categories: vegetables, ocean, grains, and meat. Dishes include beef ribs rubbed with pine resin and smoked overnight, and chanterelle mushrooms served alongside tamarind-glazed plantains. The cocktail menu avoids added sugars or sweeteners with drinks such as the mezcal-based comosus, made with kiwi juice infused with crushed verbena leaf, yuzu, and agave sap. Apart from the 80 seats in the main space, the restaurant has two private dining rooms that accommodate up to 12 guests and a chef’s table with room for eight.
Ryla (Hermosa Beach)
Husband-and-wife team Ray Hayashi and Cynthia Hetlinger debuted RYLA, a celebration of their Taiwanese and Japanese roots, in Hermosa Beach this year. Menu highlights include the Hokkaido milk bread topped with fish roe and a nori seaweed spread, and chicken karaage served with charred scallion and yuzu mayonnaise. The drinks continue to play on the cross-cultural theme with the Sichuan opera, which has peppercorn-infused mezcal, falernum, and grenadine. At a sprawling 3,000 square feet, RYLA seats 112 in a dining room with intricate Japanese wallpaper and on a small outdoor patio.
Warm gold tones and lantern-like lights set the scene at Hollywood’s Magari, a restaurant spotlighting Japanese and Italian flavors. Chef Enrico Merendino’s menu has a tagliatelle with yuzu, crab, and parmesan cheese; gnocchi made with an Okinawan sweet potato and shiso dough; and a variety of other crudo, pasta, and wood fire-grilled dishes. The Japanese cheesecake with pineapple ice cream and amaretto is a house favorite among the desserts. The restaurant seats 183, including on a spacious outdoor patio that’s fitted with fire pits and a sleek lounge area.
The second restaurant from award-winning Bestia chefs Ori Menashe and Genevieve Gergis, Bavel melds different Middle Eastern cuisines in its Arts District location. The dishes showcase the chefs’ lineages in Israel, Morocco, Turkey, and Egypt with flavors rooted in spices. Tables are nestled underneath lush greenery spilling out from the ceiling, evoking Casablanca with colors of turquoise, saffron, and brass. Menu gems include the grilled prawns with a harissa marinade, cured zucchini, and cucumber tzatziki; slow-roasted lamb neck shawarma with tahini; wagyu oxtail tagine with coconut rice; and strawberry and sumac sweet cheese pastry with pistachio ice cream.
Orsa & Winston (DTLA)
Japanese meets Italian cuisine at chef Josef Centeno’s MICHELIN-starred restaurant, Orsa & Winston. It serves an ever-changing, five-course seafood-centric tasting menu in a refreshingly minimal, modest dining room. Popular dishes include the satsuki rice with uni and ikura, kanpachi fish, and squab; geoduck with abalone; pink radicchio with black truffle; and sea bream with clam chowder. In 2020, the Los Angeles Times named Orsa & Winston the restaurant of the year, and it continues to shine as a place ideal for intimate celebrations.
Lawry’s The Prime Rib (Beverly Hills)
Lawry’s Beverly Hills opened its doors to the public in 1938 and has since been serving up prime rib on its signature polished silver cart, sliced to order before your eyes. Despite its international expansion, Lawry’s has maintained its reputation as one of the go-to celebration destinations in the city. That’s because the beef never wavers: The classic prime rib comes in five cuts — California, English, Diamond Jim Brady, beef bowl double, and the most popular Lawry cut. Every prime rib service comes with Lawry’s famous spinning bowl salad, mashed potatoes, Yorkshire pudding, and whipped cream horseradish.
Two-MICHELIN-starred seafood restaurant Providence on Melrose is no stranger to best restaurants lists. Helmed by chef Michael Cimarusti, winner of a James Beard Award, this fine dining establishment presents an elaborate tasting menu worthy of its accolades. Start with the oysters served with caviar and crème fraîche, followed by a series of seafood plates including black cod with truffle and asparagus. For something ultra-luxurious, try the uni egg laced with Champagne beurre blanc and returned to its shell in immaculate form. The atmosphere of polished white tablecloths adorned with candles is as uniform as its stellar service.
71Above (Financial District)
Up in the clouds, 71Above is a fine dining restaurant on the 71st floor of the US Bank Tower in the Financial District, with sweeping views from Malibu to Laguna Hills. The dinner menu centers on a three-course meal and wine pairing with dishes such as yellowfin crudo, wagyu short ribs, and Madagascar chocolate. Spruce it all up with a serving of Kaluga caviar. The whole special occasion package is here—views, food, and atmosphere. The Vista Patio by 71Above on the 69th floor is a relaxed version of its fine-dining counterpart with equally stunning views and a Mediterranean mezze tasting menu.
AMMATOLI (Long Beach)
AMMATOLI is a gem in Long Beach that specializes in Levantine cuisine from the eastern Mediterranean. Its casual and comfortable setup is great for groups looking for a more low-key celebration with a bounty of sharing plates. For any time of day, AMMATOLI has you covered: For brunch, dig into the shakshuka, labne toast, and a traditional musakhan chicken feast—a staple Palestinian slow-cooked dish layered with onions, sumac, pine nuts, and freshly baked bread. The lunch menu is perfect for sharing with falafel, gyro, and kebab plates. Satisfy your sweet tooth with knafeh, a shredded phyllo pastry dessert with cheese, topped with orange blossom and pistachios. Dinner sees the same variety of mezzes with more family-style meals, including a whole rotisserie chicken and kebab feast.
One of many dining options serving the stylish LINE LA hotel, Openaire is a restaurant from famed chef Josiah Citrin. The indoor space is dressed up in hanging plants with natural sunlight streaming in, while fairy lights liven up the mood for nighttime celebrations on the outdoor terrace. The bottomless brunch is a popular choice and features with truffle omelets, lobster chilaquiles, and crab eggs benedict. Dinner sees larger plates of grilled branzino, crispy duck confit, and braised beef paleron (flatiron steak), with ample cocktails and wines to entertain.
Toca Madera (West Hollywood)
Treat yourself to a night out amid shimmering trees, jaw-dropping fire-eating performers, and delightfully creative Mexican fare at Toca Madera. The cocktails here use only fresh, seasonal ingredients with a base of different tequilas and mezcals. Food highlights include the organic fattoush salad, chile relleno, and enchiladas with vegan mozzarella. For meaty mains, there’s the Japanese A5 wagyu topped caviar, gold leaf, and whipped crème fraîche. If you can’t decide, let the chef choose: order their version of an omakase.
Osteria Mozza (Fairfax)
This MICHELIN-starred LA Italian staple from famed chef Nancy Silverton has been serving a stellar spread of antipasti and pastas since 2007. The bread (from Silverton’s famed La Brea Bakery) works wonders to soak up the pasta sauces from your plate of orecchiette with sausage or tagliatelle with oxtail ragu. The space is lively and buzzy with shelves of Italian wine and candlelit tables split into two spaces. The front-of-house is more casual with a view of the antipasti action in the Mozza bar, while the back is quieter and more intimate. Fairy lights illuminate the plant-lined outdoor patio.
Plant Food + Wine (Venice)
Plant Food + Wine is celebrity chef and vegan restaurateur Matthew Kenney’s urban retreat just steps away from Venice Beach. The backyard is filled with olive trees, a large communal table, and minimalist sofas, all of which create a cozy space when the string lights come on at night. The interior space is all white with marble accents and wooden chairs. The family-style restaurant is the kind of place where you’d want to host a casual dinner party with organic wines and comfort fare such as maitake mushrooms with fingerling potatoes, cacio e pepe made with kelp noodles and olives, and an avocado tikka with potato flatbread and curry leaf yogurt. The coconut and banana cream pie is a great way to end the meal.
Ombu Grill (Koreatown)
Come to this sleek Koreatown restaurant for grilled Korean meats and Argentinian asado. Popular for birthdays and large groups, Ombu Grill has tables with built-in smokeless grills to cook the meat yourself or have a server cook it to your preferred temperature. Signature cuts include the thick ribeye, short ribs, and pork belly. All Korean barbecue dishes are served with an array of banchan (side dishes), and on the Argentinian side, there’s chorizo and morcilla. The menu also includes Korean dishes such as tteokbokki (simmered rice cakes), kimchi pajeon (savory pancake), bibim naengmyeon (spicy cold noodles), and several types of jjigae (stews).
Cara Restaurant (Hollywood)
At Cara, celebrate in a courtyard surrounded by 100-year-old olive trees and Californian palms, while sipping on a butterfly pea, vodka, and cava cocktail as the breeze lightly blows against the flowy white curtains by the pool. Lunch focuses on bowls and sandwiches, while dinner standouts include whole roasted branzino, Australian lamb rack, and whole grilled Maine lobster. Cocktails and wines are served all day.
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