One of the perks of being in Los Angeles is the chance to experience a famous chef’s best dishes firsthand. Whether you’re an aspiring food blogger or a whiz at Instagram, you now have access to tasting menus at top LA restaurants for all of your dining desires. Treat yourself and indulge in masterpieces from one of the city’s superstar chefs—here are five exquisite eateries that you should make plans to visit.
Wolfgang Puck at the Bel Air
A favorite spot to revel in an exquisite tasting menu is at Wolfgang Puck at the Bel Air. From the moment you valet your car and walk past the hotel’s famous resident swans, you sense this is a special place. You find that lunchtime on the patio at the Bel Air is the quintessential experience among chic LA restaurants.
The dinner tasting menu is an extravagant affair, with optional wine pairings from the hotel’s extensive wine collection for each course. You take a seat in the sophisticated dining room, with its muted sun-washed California tones complemented by ebony accents. You experience the seasonal farmers market menu, which includes California cuisine with touches of European, Mediterranean, and Asian influences—completing your savory tour of Puck’s culinary history.
Trois Mec is the brainchild of star chef Ludo Lefebvre and some of his LA restaurant pals. You feel like a VIP walking in here, as counter space is coveted by local gastronomes. The former pizzeria in a Hollywood strip mall is home to a constantly evolving five-course tasting menu that highlights the best of Lefebvre and company’s work. You get a bite of everything, with each course highlighting seasonal ingredients at their best. You leave satisfied and triumphant that you were able to experience what most LA foodies taste only in their dreams!
If you crave a comprehensive seafood experience that dabbles in wagyu beef and other delicacies, Michael Cimarusti at Providence has it down to a science. You appreciate the subtleties of the menu and how the restaurant takes plating seriously. With your meal, the chef pairs delicate flavors alongside sustainable seafood from regional coasts and international waters, such as Santa Barbara sea urchin or wild French rouget—all plated elegantly. As with many tastings around town, you don’t care about the surcharge and opt for the additional wine pairing.
The Gadarene Swine
It’s not every day you find a menu composed of vegetables grown in-house. At The Gadarene Swine, noted chef Phillip Frankland Lee comes up with inventive, tasty dishes suitable for you and your vegan friends (meat-eaters are also welcome). The creative wizardry of Lee’s tasting menus routinely features approachable but artfully-prepared dishes. You feel at home in the inviting rustic space, appointed with wood and stone, as you work your way through the tasting menu options. You don’t need to be coaxed to finish your vegetables before the luscious tres leche cake is served for dessert.
Maude‘s superstar chef Curtis Stone always wanted an intimate restaurant where he could create an inventive seasonal menu. You’re lucky enough to score one of just 25 seats in his Beverly Hills restaurant, so you indulge in a nine-course meal focused on a single seasonal ingredient—be it a fall root vegetable, summer stone fruit, or even garlic. Whatever course you pick, it includes the ingredient either as the “hero” or in a “supporting role,” all the way through petits fours. Every seat in this venue feels like it’s court-side, as you watch the mastery of Stone and his team from a bird’s eye view of the open kitchen. This is a true dining experience.