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Photograph: Courtesy John TroxellProvidence

The 10 best fine-dining restaurants in Los Angeles

Get all dressed up for a splurge-worthy night at L.A.'s best fine dining restaurants.

Patricia Kelly Yeo
Edited by
Patricia Kelly Yeo
Contributor
Stephanie Breijo
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When out-of-towners hear the phrase “L.A. fine dining” they might scoff, thinking it’s an oxymoron considering how casual this city is, but the truth is that Los Angeles is home to some of the best tasting menus and fancy restaurants in the country—you just need to know where to look.

When you want to dress up for a romantic dinner or splurge on your birthday, there are some stellar spots; at the best fine dining restaurants in L.A. you might sit down to an elegant kaiseki dinner, a tasting from one of the world’s most famous chefs, or a seafood-centric meal filled with artistic flourish, and you can be sure servers won’t try to slip you their headshots as they present perfectly plated entrées.

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to the best restaurants in Los Angeles

The 10 best fine dining restaurants in L.A.

  • Restaurants
  • Japanese
  • Downtown Arts District
  • price 4 of 4

Brandon Go’s two Michelin-starred kaiseki counter inside the Arts District’s expansive outdoor mall, ROW DTLA, offers an intimate, multi-course seafood-centric meal plated using handcrafted ceramics imported from Japan. While bookings for this artful, once-in-a-lifetime chef's table experience fill up almost instantly when Tock reservations are released on the first of each month, those who experience this transportive meal generally agree it's worth the hassle. The space is intimate and almost reverent, the ceramics are handcrafted and imported from Japan, and Go's precision and technique come by way of training under some of Japan's top chefs. Steamed abalone with an unctuous liver sauce; an owan course of delicate crab meatball soup; and fresh fruit coated in a salted sake jelly might all arrive before you, with Go and his protégés working the counter all the while. 

  • Restaurants
  • Japanese
  • Palms
  • price 4 of 4

Despite an infamously difficult reservation process, Niki Nakayama's modern kaiseki restaurant—of two Michelin starred Chef's Table fame—remains an indispensable part of the city's fine dining scene. The Japanese restaurant delivers a nontraditional kaiseki meal that excites, delights and even soothes across every aspect; in short, it lives up to the hype and the bloodsport level effort involved in snagging a reservation. Nakayama invokes a mix of contemporary and traditional sensibilities throughout n/naka's ever-changing 13-course tasting menu—which, unlike many others in this city, also offers an option for vegetarians. Each course invokes the rhythms of a particular season, seamlessly blending classical Japanese cooking with the inherent seasonality of California cuisine.

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  • Restaurants
  • Mexican
  • Downtown Arts District
  • price 3 of 4

After opening during the early pandemic, this Mexican fine dining restaurant by Enrique Olvera (of Pujol in Mexico City and NYC’s Cosme) has quietly become one of the best restaurants in the city. The understated yet stylish ambience and unforgettable seafood-centric small plates, grilled meats and playful vegetable mains easily put it in the same league as its always-popular parking lot neighbor, Bestia, but the restaurant defies any simple comparison. When every bite reflects Damian's commitment to traditional Mexican cooking techniques and ingredient sourcing, there's no one singularly great dish to order, but you’d be remiss not to order the unforgettable duck al pastor and art-like hibiscus meringue.

  • Restaurants
  • Californian
  • Beverly Hills
  • price 4 of 4

Name a more iconic L.A. fine-dining institution...we’ll wait. After almost 40 years, Wolfgang Puck's Spago is still everyone's old fine dining standby, but its ever-changing menu keeps the restaurant feeling fresh and relevant. (Don’t worry, you can still order the smoked salmon pizza.) Spago purists will be pleased to hear the kitchen is refreshingly old-school when it comes to presentation, but modern flourishes are what keep this icon feeling fresh without ditching its hits. If it's your first visit you must order Spago’s iconic tasting menu for the classics, but if you’re a repeat guest, the most fun you can have is offroading with the fleeting and hyper-seasonal specials, especially when it comes to dessert. Spago's been serving stellar cuisine since the Reagan era, proving that age ain't nothing but a number.

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  • Restaurants
  • Seafood
  • Hollywood
  • price 4 of 4

Since 2005, Michael Cimarusti has set the gold standard for seafood-focused tasting menus—and garnered a James Beard Award and two Michelin stars in the process. As an L.A. fine dining institution, you'll find all the hallmarks of the white tablecloth experience: top-notch service, delicate amuse-bouches and, of course, high-quality shellfish and finned fish from all over the world. Cimarusti combs the world's waters to showcase pristine seafood in imaginative (and occasionally sustainable) ways, like Providence's signature farm-raised caviar and Santa Barbara uni nestled above a decadent egg yolk.

  • Restaurants
  • Contemporary European
  • Beverly Hills
  • price 4 of 4

Beverly Hills is full of high-profile restaurants perfect for an expense account or date-night splurge, but one of the finest and most memorable is Curtis Stone’s ambitious temple to the tasting menu. This Michelin-starred eatery first gained buzz for its ingredient-driven concept—swapping menus out every month—but the restaurant's current format tends towards seasonal, with chef de cuisine Osiel Gastelum, who has drawn upon his Mexican roots since Maude's post-lockdown reopening, imbuing the menu with a kind of spy freshness you won't find anywhere else in town.

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  • Restaurants
  • American creative
  • Beverly Hills
  • price 4 of 4

Walter and Margarita Manzke's eponymous eatery above Bicyclette in Pico-Robertson specializes in luxury in every sense of the word. In addition to all the trappings of sophistication such high prices normally command, every major aspect—sheer variety, flavor, presentation and pure wow factor—of this tasting menu delivers, for a dazzling meal of French-inspired seafood courses that'll leave you thinking about it long afterwards. Longtime fans of Margarita's pastry program at République will delight in the cornucopia of dessert and mignardises presented at the end of the meal, while luxury savory ingredients like Santa Barbara spot prawns and Hokkaido crab receive five-star treatment.

  • Restaurants
  • Californian
  • West Hollywood
  • price 4 of 4

Equal parts celebrity hotspot and exceptional fine dining destination, this ultra-stylish Sunset Strip hotel eatery offers flawless "vegetable-forward" cuisine and an air of sweeping, expensive romance that’ll make you forget all about the fact you’ll have to pay $18 for the EDITION's valet parking, if not more. Here, hosts in slinky white dresses and kitten-heeled boots will usher you to the plant-filled, warm-hued dining room—and the overall effect is downright cinematic. Every dish that arrives dazzles here, from the must-order milk bread topped with caramelized beefsteak tomatoes to the skirt steak, which comes with garlic confit and an exquisite red salt. Larger groups can splurge on the eye-poppingly expensive gooseberry phyllo pizza drizzled with aged balsamic dinner; the tableside preparation and final product make it well worth the price of admission.

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  • Restaurants
  • West Hollywood
  • price 4 of 4

At this point, Edomae-style sushi isn't particularly hard to come by, but you'd be hard pressed to find it at the same level of renown as this West Hollywood sushi bar named for (and originating from) the most exclusive neighborhood in Tokyo. The nigiri-forward omakase—the most expensive per head in Los Angeles—climbs past 20 courses, each bite focused on incredibly high-quality fish that's been brushed with soy, lightly tempura-battered or served in a pool of ponzu. Of course, all this raw fish mastery doesn't come cheap: An omakase here will set you back $400—a splurge worth making for some of the finest sushi in L.A.

  • Restaurants
  • French
  • Santa Monica
  • price 4 of 4

Located on Santa Monic'’s Main Street, this traditionally inclined French bistro elevates classics like onion soup and beef tartare to new-to-casual-L.A. heights of fine dining. Chef David Beran, previously of the now closed Michelin-starred Dialogue, even possesses an old-school French duck press for an artery-clogging, show-stopping traditionally prepared duck for two, which includes roasted duck breast, crispy duck skin salad, and duck leg bread pudding doused in drippings combined with cognac and red wine. Prepared tableside, it’s worth ordering at least once, although there is no bad dish on the menu at Pasjoli, where the "stupidly good" foie de poulet à la Strasbourgeoise delights even more experienced restaurant critics.

Need to save money after one of these meals?

  • Restaurants

Rents may be sky-high, but Los Angeles is still a city where you can find great food without breaking the bank—and we’re not just talking about a Double-Double at In-N-Out. Times are especially tough and every dollar counts, so from udon in Glendale to tacos in West L.A., here are a few of the city’s best inexpensive eats, all ringing in at $10 or under.

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