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Pasjoli restaurant
Photograph: Jesse Hsu

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.

Edited by
Patricia Kelly Yeo
Written by
Stephanie Breijo
&
Jason Kessler
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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
  • Seafood
  • Hollywood
  • price 4 of 4
For serving a city next to the Pacific, Michael Cimarusti’s Providence somehow still manages to surprise and reinterpret seafood. His mostly-aquatic menu deftly showcases the bounty of the West Coast, as well as the globe: Big Island abalone, Santa Barbara spot prawns and steelhead trout from the Quinault River in Washington are among the varied choices, though the menus change seasonally. Cimarusti may not always earn locavore points, but his knack for finding the best product will make you focus only on the perfect bite hanging from your fork, and nothing else.
  • Restaurants
  • Californian
  • Beverly Hills
  • price 4 of 4

Name a more iconic L.A. fine-dining institution...because 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 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
  • French
  • Santa Monica
  • price 4 of 4
Josiah Citrin’s Santa Monica stalwart—a long-time high watermark in L.A. tasting menus—underwent a rebrand, and gone is the more formal white-tablecloth experience. That doesn’t mean this is no longer one of the city’s top tasting menus; we’re pleased to report that it feels just as special as the original Mélisse, but with entirely new flavor. There’s also a new setting, a more private vibe and that entirely new menu, giving us a familiar experience with a little freshening up. Now cordoned off in a near-hidden alcove within the greater Citrin space, Mélisse seats only 14 and delivers exquisite and detail-oriented dishes: caviar in chawanamushi with Hokkaido uni; spiny lobster whose sauce has been pressed via antique contraption; delicate wagyu strip loin with anchovy and shallots; a rich chestnut soup with even richer truffle foam.
  • Restaurants
  • Japanese
  • Downtown Arts District
  • price 4 of 4

L.A.’s seen its fair share of haute Japanese cuisine, but there’s something special happening at the Michelin-starred Hayato. This is fine dining done the Japanese way, or more specifically, done chef-owner Brandon Go’s way: 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, clear in his execution of every course on the dinner-only kaiseki menu. 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 team working ar the counter all the while. 

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  • Restaurants
  • American creative
  • Hollywood
  • price 4 of 4

Named for a crystal formed under extreme conditions, this unique outdoor restaurant at East Hollywood's Second Home co-working space is a post-pandemic homage to the natural world–reminding diners that what we eat, and the earth that gives rise to food, extends beyond merely plants and animals. Given a Michelin star and named the L.A. Times' Best Restaurant of the Year in 2021, a night at Phenakite is a pleasant reminder that even amid a global public health crisis, creativity still find a way to survive–and even thrive.

  • Restaurants
  • Japanese
  • Palms
  • price 4 of 4

Netflix’s first season of Chef’s Table (2018) may have shone a national spotlight on n/naka, but the Palms restaurant—which opened in 2011—has long been front and center in the L.A. food world. At n/naka, the team's singular focus is kaiseki: a classical style of Japanese cooking that dictates a specific progression of tastes, textures and temperatures while incorporating seasonal ingredients. Both running 13 courses, the chef’s $285 modern kaiseki and $245 vegetarian tasting menus change regularly, but there’s always something to delight in: a glass filled with sea urchin and lobster in a bath of chilled dashi, maybe, or a seared diver-harvested scallop cuddled next to a warm okra pod.

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

Located on Santa Monica’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 ($185), 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.

  • Restaurants
  • West Hollywood
  • price 4 of 4

Edomae-style sushi isn’t particularly hard to come by in Los Angeles, but you’d be hard pressed to find it at a level that rivals that of Sushi Ginza. The nigiri-forward omakase 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. Chef Yohei Matsuki’s light hand and mastery don’t come cheap: An omakase here will set you back around $300, but it’s a splurge worth making for some of the finest sushi in L.A. Located next to the popular combination nightlife spot E.P. & L.P., you’ll feel entire worlds away from the drunken superficiality just outside its doors.

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  • Restaurants
  • Seafood
  • Beverly
  • price 4 of 4

This is a seafood splurge unlike any other. In fact, it’s an experience unlike any other. The Michelin-starred Joshua Skenes brought his San Francisco sea-focused stunner to Los Angeles, where it sits nearly hidden at the base of the Beverly Center. The menu changes daily, ensuring the freshest ingredients on your plate: buttery poached marbled flounder; showstopping crab flayed out on the table; caviar spooned over fluffy banana pancakes; fresh spot prawns and bivalves sold per piece; melt-in-your-mouth sea urchin served on the rocks. Sourced meticulously from independent fishermen and local authorities, it’s some of the finest seafood available in all of California.

  • Restaurants
  • Italian
  • Encino
  • price 3 of 4

After a decade and a half of hard work, Valley native chef Phillip Frankland Lee and co-owner, pastry chef and wife Margarita Kallas-Lee have finally achieved their Michelin star dreams twice over, if one includes the star given to their other restaurant, Santa Barbara’s Sushi | Bar Montecito. At Encino’s Pasta | Bar, a multi-course $165 Italian tasting menu with locally sourced Californian meat, seafood and produce showcases the best the state has to offer, from a Michelin-commended lobster sauce cavatelli pasta with spring peas to a recent fig and bergamot semifreddo dessert.

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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