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Steamed black bass at chef John Fraser’s Ardor.
Steamed black bass at Ardor.
Ardor

15 Splurge-Worthy Special Occasion Restaurants in Los Angeles

Save up and savor these exquisite LA dining experiences

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Steamed black bass at Ardor.
| Ardor

Whether celebrating a new job, an important anniversary, a milestone birthday, or just surviving the week, head to the places on this list for exquisite culinary experiences and memorable hospitality. Advanced reservations, and sometimes even monetary deposits, are required for a table at many of these establishments, so plan ahead for a night of revelry. From high-end Japanese fare to French-leaning tasting menus, here now are 15 of the most fabulous restaurants to splurge on in Los Angeles.

Added: Bar Sawa, Fia Steak, PastaBar, Pasjoli, Michael’s on Naples, Ardor

Removed: Manzke, Orsa & Winston, Angler, Cut by Wolfgang Puck, Jean-Georges Beverly Hills

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.
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Pasta|Bar

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After reopening in April 2021, Phillip Frankland Lee’s Italian tasting menu is back in full force. Chef Nathan Tauer is in the kitchen now, after cutting his teeth at San Francisco dimes including Coi and Petit Crenn. The 10-course tasting menu starts at $125.

Lobster pasta at Pasta Bar Liam Brown

Morihiro

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Superstar chef Morihiro Onodera brings his classic sushi style to Atwater Village. Opt for the omakase experience at this Michelin-starred spot, which goes for $350 to $400 per person and features seasonal delicacies from various regions in Japan.

Having dinner at Ardor is like having a main character moment for an entire evening. It’s tough to outdo both the views from the hillside and chef John Fraser’s nonstop-tasty crudos and ceviches. Market fish, done up with capers and shaved fennel, costs $44, and the 14-day-aged lamb runs $62, so be ready to cut a check to match the paramount sights and tastes.

Providence

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Providence orchestrates one of the most pleasurable gastronomical experiences in the city. Chef Michael Cimarusti’s exceptional cooking is perfectly matched with Donato Poto’s warm and efficient service. Seafood is chef Cimarusti’s forte, so be prepared for dazzlingly fresh fish, scallop, and sea urchin preparations. The chef’s tasting menu is priced at $275 per person.

Sushi Ginza Onodera

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Head to West Hollywood for Michelin-starred Edomae-style sushi. The $400 omakase includes fish flown in twice a week from the Toyosu fish market and rice seasoned in red vinegars from Niigata prefecture. Dinner seatings are available Tuesday through Saturday at 5 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. 

Curtis Stone’s Michelin-starred restaurant Maude reopened in February and behind the stove is chef Osiel Gastelum. Gastelum trained at Dominique Crenn and was the chef de cuisine at Somni before coming to Maude. Gastelum incorporates his roots in Sinaloa and Southern California throughout the nine-course $195 tasting menu with ingredients like nopales and masa.

Bar Sawa

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A sushi restaurant beneath Little Tokyo is about as cool a place as any to get powerfully good seared toro nigiri. Cocktails are no joke here, either; order negronis with Roku gin and umeshu or highballs made with green tea-infused vodka. The omakase costs $170 per person with a $45 option for drink pairings.

Slicing fish at Bar Sawa with chef’s knife.
Expertly slicing fish at Bar Sawa.
Wonho Frank Lee

Fia Steak

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Chef Brendan Collins’ love letter to butcher shop-style cuts and grilling is worth every indulgently spent penny. A bistecca porterhouse runs a jaw-dropping $350, though it could feed three or four people. This shop is a contender for best steakhouse on the Westside, though there are plenty of other prize-fighters.

Large format steaks at Fia Steak over flaming wood grill.
A large-format steak at Fia.
Wonho Frank Lee

Kato Restaurant

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Chef Jon Yao draws from his Taiwanese roots and Los Angeles upbringing at this latest iteration of Kato inside the former M. Georgina space at Row DTLA. Dinner starts at $195 per person and can include dishes like scallops in a fish fragrant sauce, snapper with Chinese mustard, and strawberry shaved ice.

Dish from Kato.
Kato Restaurant.
Kato

Head to the Row DTLA for a hyper-traditional kaiseki dinner orchestrated by chef Brandon Go. Specializing in washoku (traditional Japanese cooking), a meal at Hayato lasts nearly three hours and costs $295 per person.

Chefs Niki Nakayama and Carole Iida-Nakayama serve a 13-course modern kaiseki nightly for $310 per person. The menu changes with the seasons, along with the chef’s whims, while the flow of the meal adheres to Japanese traditions. The three-hour experience is beautifully orchestrated and paced just so, leaving diners pampered, satisfied, and feeling thoroughly justified for indulging in something so extravagant.

Amuse bouches at n/naka, Los Angeles
N/naka
Wonho Frank Lee

Mélisse Restaurant

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Fine-dining chef Josiah Citrin and chef de cuisine Ian Scaramuzza know how to dazzle diners. Snag a table at this 14-seat restaurant for a two-and-a-half hour, seven-course culinary experience that can include a scallop carpaccio, crab and shrimp toast, and lamb with morels. The two-star Michelin meal costs $295 per person.

Shunji Japanese Cuisine

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Chef Shunji Nakao is settling in nicely to Santa Monica after moving from his original West LA location last year. For the most exquisite experience, book a seat inside the chef’s tasting room that fits just six diners. The $250 omakase is served personally by Nakao and comes with hot and cold small dishes, sashimi, and variety of nigiri sushi.

Pasjoli

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Enough cannot be written about Pasjoli, Dave Beran’s Michelin-starred French restaurant. The soufflé au chocolate is an LA signature dessert, and Beran’s pressed duck can be called an LA signature dish. Again, this restaurant is worth each and every one of your dollars.

Beef tartare at Pasjoli.
Beef tartare at Pasjoli.
Wonho Frank Lee

Michael's on Naples

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This Long Beach staple has been on radars for well over a decade and for good reason. This is the restaurant that brought in a more-or-less bottomless mimosas approach to white truffle shavings, after all. But, naturally, that addition costs $300 per table — so expect to pay a pretty penny for this luxurious restaurant’s finest fare.

Michael's on Naples, Long Beach
Michael’s on Naples, Long Beach

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Pasta|Bar

Lobster pasta at Pasta Bar Liam Brown

After reopening in April 2021, Phillip Frankland Lee’s Italian tasting menu is back in full force. Chef Nathan Tauer is in the kitchen now, after cutting his teeth at San Francisco dimes including Coi and Petit Crenn. The 10-course tasting menu starts at $125.

Lobster pasta at Pasta Bar Liam Brown

Morihiro

Superstar chef Morihiro Onodera brings his classic sushi style to Atwater Village. Opt for the omakase experience at this Michelin-starred spot, which goes for $350 to $400 per person and features seasonal delicacies from various regions in Japan.

Ardor

Having dinner at Ardor is like having a main character moment for an entire evening. It’s tough to outdo both the views from the hillside and chef John Fraser’s nonstop-tasty crudos and ceviches. Market fish, done up with capers and shaved fennel, costs $44, and the 14-day-aged lamb runs $62, so be ready to cut a check to match the paramount sights and tastes.

Providence

Providence orchestrates one of the most pleasurable gastronomical experiences in the city. Chef Michael Cimarusti’s exceptional cooking is perfectly matched with Donato Poto’s warm and efficient service. Seafood is chef Cimarusti’s forte, so be prepared for dazzlingly fresh fish, scallop, and sea urchin preparations. The chef’s tasting menu is priced at $275 per person.

Sushi Ginza Onodera

Head to West Hollywood for Michelin-starred Edomae-style sushi. The $400 omakase includes fish flown in twice a week from the Toyosu fish market and rice seasoned in red vinegars from Niigata prefecture. Dinner seatings are available Tuesday through Saturday at 5 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. 

Maude

Curtis Stone’s Michelin-starred restaurant Maude reopened in February and behind the stove is chef Osiel Gastelum. Gastelum trained at Dominique Crenn and was the chef de cuisine at Somni before coming to Maude. Gastelum incorporates his roots in Sinaloa and Southern California throughout the nine-course $195 tasting menu with ingredients like nopales and masa.

Bar Sawa

Slicing fish at Bar Sawa with chef’s knife.
Expertly slicing fish at Bar Sawa.
Wonho Frank Lee

A sushi restaurant beneath Little Tokyo is about as cool a place as any to get powerfully good seared toro nigiri. Cocktails are no joke here, either; order negronis with Roku gin and umeshu or highballs made with green tea-infused vodka. The omakase costs $170 per person with a $45 option for drink pairings.

Slicing fish at Bar Sawa with chef’s knife.
Expertly slicing fish at Bar Sawa.
Wonho Frank Lee

Fia Steak

Large format steaks at Fia Steak over flaming wood grill.
A large-format steak at Fia.
Wonho Frank Lee

Chef Brendan Collins’ love letter to butcher shop-style cuts and grilling is worth every indulgently spent penny. A bistecca porterhouse runs a jaw-dropping $350, though it could feed three or four people. This shop is a contender for best steakhouse on the Westside, though there are plenty of other prize-fighters.

Large format steaks at Fia Steak over flaming wood grill.
A large-format steak at Fia.
Wonho Frank Lee

Kato Restaurant

Dish from Kato.
Kato Restaurant.
Kato

Chef Jon Yao draws from his Taiwanese roots and Los Angeles upbringing at this latest iteration of Kato inside the former M. Georgina space at Row DTLA. Dinner starts at $195 per person and can include dishes like scallops in a fish fragrant sauce, snapper with Chinese mustard, and strawberry shaved ice.

Dish from Kato.
Kato Restaurant.
Kato

Hayato

Head to the Row DTLA for a hyper-traditional kaiseki dinner orchestrated by chef Brandon Go. Specializing in washoku (traditional Japanese cooking), a meal at Hayato lasts nearly three hours and costs $295 per person.

N/naka

Amuse bouches at n/naka, Los Angeles
N/naka
Wonho Frank Lee

Chefs Niki Nakayama and Carole Iida-Nakayama serve a 13-course modern kaiseki nightly for $310 per person. The menu changes with the seasons, along with the chef’s whims, while the flow of the meal adheres to Japanese traditions. The three-hour experience is beautifully orchestrated and paced just so, leaving diners pampered, satisfied, and feeling thoroughly justified for indulging in something so extravagant.

Amuse bouches at n/naka, Los Angeles
N/naka
Wonho Frank Lee

Mélisse Restaurant

Fine-dining chef Josiah Citrin and chef de cuisine Ian Scaramuzza know how to dazzle diners. Snag a table at this 14-seat restaurant for a two-and-a-half hour, seven-course culinary experience that can include a scallop carpaccio, crab and shrimp toast, and lamb with morels. The two-star Michelin meal costs $295 per person.

Shunji Japanese Cuisine

Chef Shunji Nakao is settling in nicely to Santa Monica after moving from his original West LA location last year. For the most exquisite experience, book a seat inside the chef’s tasting room that fits just six diners. The $250 omakase is served personally by Nakao and comes with hot and cold small dishes, sashimi, and variety of nigiri sushi.

Pasjoli

Beef tartare at Pasjoli.
Beef tartare at Pasjoli.
Wonho Frank Lee

Enough cannot be written about Pasjoli, Dave Beran’s Michelin-starred French restaurant. The soufflé au chocolate is an LA signature dessert, and Beran’s pressed duck can be called an LA signature dish. Again, this restaurant is worth each and every one of your dollars.

Beef tartare at Pasjoli.
Beef tartare at Pasjoli.
Wonho Frank Lee

Michael's on Naples

Michael's on Naples, Long Beach
Michael’s on Naples, Long Beach

This Long Beach staple has been on radars for well over a decade and for good reason. This is the restaurant that brought in a more-or-less bottomless mimosas approach to white truffle shavings, after all. But, naturally, that addition costs $300 per table — so expect to pay a pretty penny for this luxurious restaurant’s finest fare.

Michael's on Naples, Long Beach
Michael’s on Naples, Long Beach

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