Melisse Restaurant, Santa Monica, 7/20/16

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Melisse is a fairly large restaurant located in Santa Monica near Los Angeles. The chef/owner Josiah Citrin had two Michelin stars when Michelin covered the LA area. It is French cuisine presented in an soft contemporary dining room full of fairly casual people. My understanding is that the dining room was done over in an attempt to obtain that third star, but then Michelin pulled out. There were a ton of service personnel that provided efficient but not overly engaging service. I noticed that not one woman was seen on the staff except for the greeter/hostess. We chose their 10 course tasting and our own bottles of wine. They offer vegetarian and regular tasting menus (numerous choices for each course), with optional supplements.  Continue reading

Lukshon, Los Angeles, 7/20/16

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Lukshon is a medium sized restaurant with very modern motif.  For days of good weather they also have a patio for eating but not much people watching as they are located off the busy street on a pedestrian pass-through.  The service was efficient and helpful but not overly friendly, but in the server’s defense she had a lot of tables to look after. It was DineLA week and so in addition to their usual a la carte menu they had a special menu and the server was right to steer us to it as it contained a couple items not usually on the menu.  It our usual over-ordering way we also threw in one a la carte item and ordered the optional add-on for the DineLA menu.  But let me say that I’m glad we did cause then we got to try so many things.  This place is an amazing value for the flavor they deliver! I would definitely put this on my options for dinner on my next visit or at least come back for lunch. Everything was delicious but some were truly outstanding.   Continue reading

Orsa & Winston, Los Angeles, 7/19/16

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Orsa & Winston is a small restaurant that combines parts of Italian and Japanese cuisines in their food. It is named for the chef’s two dogs, which we and Frankie were able to meet at the end of the evening.  They serve a 6 course tasting as well as a la carte options. However with 48 hours advance notice they will fix you a “super omakase” tasting which is 20 plus courses served to you while you sit at the bar next to the kitchen. There were 4 stools available for this option but we were the only ones that night.  We went well over the 20 courses and they did offer us the option to quit, warning that we had another half dozen savories before they started sweets.   Continue reading

Spago, Beverly Hills, 7/19/16

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Spago is Wolfgang Puck’s restaurant in Beverly Hills. It is a large space with a glassed in kitchen and a patio that opens into the dining room. Normally this would be nice but on the days when the temperature is higher than the average the dining room does get warm. It is a modern design with warm and very friendly service people. They made the experience as opposed to the food.  We were there at lunch and the menu is all a la carte. Continue reading

Providence, Los Angeles, 7/18/16

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This is a second visit to Providence and it hasn’t lost its touch – it’s a lovely dining experience. You can see why Michelin awarded it 2 stars when they covered the LA area. The service is top rate and friendly. There were some similarities to last year’s menu but overall it was a new set of tastes and some different takes on ones we saw last year.  A different table gave me a better feel for the dining room and although it still feels “dated” it also felt quite comfortable.  Most of the guests were dressed well but it’s LA and you’ll still find sneakers and t-shirts. They offered a seasonal tasting menu, one for DineLA week and a chef’s tasting menu which we opted for, all with optional supplements. Continue reading

Pizzeria Mozza, Los Angeles, 7/18/16

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Pizzeria Mozza is one of 3 restaurants run by the same group in the area. This one is medium sized, casual with a menu heavy on pizza. Service was friendly, efficient and willing to make suggestions on ordering. We were there during restaurant week and it made a reservation a must for lunch, but the waitress said they do a brisk business. They offer a number of antipasti and salad plates that are easily shared, which was our route. Continue reading