Los Angeles is a dining city with endless options, from street food specialists to sky-high steakhouses inside expensive Downtown hotels. There are hotspots perched over the ocean and peeking out from the tops of hillsides, and — now more than ever — there are restaurants where design and beauty are at the absolute forefront. Sure, there are lots of lovely places for a meal in greater LA, but some stand out more than others. Here now, 15 of LA’s most gorgeous, design-forward restaurants.Read More
Take a Look at Los Angeles’s Most Beautiful Restaurants
From Hollywood Italian destinations to incredible design in the San Gabriel Valley, here’s where to go to gasp at the details
Nobu Malibu is a perfect kind of LA restaurant, in its way. Perched precariously close to the Pacific Ocean waves, this is the light wood and delicate dining spot where see-and-be-seen types go for sunsets and dinner. Yes, Nobu is a luxury chain, but dining here feels less like a corporate retreat and more like you’re sipping champagne at the slippery edge of the beautiful world.
Belles Beach House
Belles takes over the former Larry’s in Venice, a gastropub named after local artist that closed during the pandemic. The quick turnaround has produced an open-feeling space surrounded by teak sliding doors. There are no enclosed walls on three sides, making the entire place feel like an open-air patio, but also requires a ton of overhead electric heaters to keep it comfortable inside. A separate outdoor patio will fit another 60 or so people across the sidewalk.
La Dolce Vita
Time fades away inside burgundy leather booths and beneath bolted plaques that tick off the names of famous past patrons at La Dolce Vita. Victoria Gillet helped to oversee the extensive renovation, including retro looks like a cheetah-printed carpet and refurbished Italian chairs from nearly 50 years ago. Even the staff will fit the bill, outfitted in Denis Frison-designed uniforms.
Spread across multiple dining and drinking areas and some 250 seats, the jewel-toned Italianate destination Lavo Ristorante is draped in the kind of luxury that has made hits out of spots like Olivetta nearby. Think extra-tall dining space, glittering chandeliers, and a horseshoe bar wrapped in copper and gold. The masterpiece for the property, though, is the retractable roof over the primary dining area, which opens year-round to the sky. Venice locals Studio Collective even added accordion-style windows that breeze right out onto Sunset for near-wraparound airflow and views.
Juliet owner Rohan Talwar has managed to outfit a 120-seat restaurant with loads of marble, dark woods, and deep red tones. Rustic flooring, scalloped edges, and off-white fabrics make for a cozy setting, while a walk-up bar helps to keep the place feeling lively. The ample outdoor patio only adds to the possibilities, with some 1,500 square feet of street-side seating available every day. The kitchen isn’t hidden away, per se, but it is not the focus of the long dining room; instead, all eyes are on the glass, slate, and woven fabrics that make the place feel luxurious but comfortable. That makes perfect sense, given that Juliet was designed by Jeremiah Brent, the celebrated AD 100 designer.
Located in the palatial 10,000-square-foot space formerly occupied by Fig & Olive on Melrose Place, Catch Steak is a contemporary steakhouse from the same group as buzzy nightlife spot Catch LA. The split-level restaurant features warm wood details, leather banquettes, and blackened metal touches. The abundance of greenery throughout the 375-seat space provides a verdant setting for both indoor and outdoor dining.
While not the most understated beauty on this list, the Toadstool Cafe at Universal Studios Hollywood certainly wins on design, charm, and fandom alone. This quirky and cartoonish destination has been drawing hours-long lines since it first opened thanks to its impossibly whimsical interior that transports eaters into the world of Mario.
Gigi’s is a stylish, throwback little find that hearkens to both the midcentury panache of Musso & Frank and the vintage feel of New York City’s Bemelman’s Bar and Monkey Bar. The overall look comes from the late architect Osvaldo Maiozzi, who died earlier this year but made Gigi’s his last work. Andrew Cosbie designed the interior, looking at everything from the linens, textiles, and other tactile elements, like the reclaimed marble flooring, mohair booths, and vintage Italian light fixtures. In addition, interior architect Aejie Rhyu of ARA-la Studio handled details like brass shelving, wood paneling, and millwork. Taken together, it all feels like an ageless hotel bar but placed street side amid the part of Tinseltown where actual movie and TV magic happen.
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Musso & Frank Grill
Musso & Frank is utterly timeless, and that’s what keeps the restaurant so relevant, decade after decade. The red jackets, the sometimes surly, always loveable service; it’s all a part of the show, wrapped in dark woods and yellow lighting. Here tourists can mix with locals for classic continental fare before heading off for a night in the heart of Hollywood — which is precisely what’s been done every weekend for the past hundred years.
Ka’teen spans some 5,000 square feet of fully outdoor dining space, reminiscent of the Riviera Maya region of Mexico, designed by Studio Collective and styled by Bernadette Blanc. There’s a reeded tunnel for customers to walk through at the start of the meal, and a squared-off outdoor bar to hang out at until long into the night. Throughout the mix-and-match space diners and drinkers can find seating to fit their needs, from smaller two-tops for date night snacks to larger, longer candlelit tables for an evening with a group.
The kitchen at Mother Wolf accounts for more than one-third of the restaurant overall, with the rest spread across 150 dining room banquettes, booths, and two- and four-tops, plus bar area seating and a pizza bartop that looks in on the action. The Martin Brudnizki Design Studio-built restaurant’s high ceilings, plaster relief work, deep red tones, marble highlights, and wolf head design motifs are as lively as an Italian opera, as glamorous and sweeping as Paolo Sorrentino’s cinematic ode to Rome The Great Beauty.
Mírate features multiple levels, two bars, and separate dining rooms with Mírate partner Matthew Egan’s photography and murals by Mexico City-based artist Jorge Telleache. The restaurant also offers views of the Griffith Observatory and even has a retractable roof. Alexa Nafisi-Movaghar from design firm Adean reworked the former event venue space, with new tiles, walled textiles, cushiony banquettes, and live plants tucked into every crevice, and room for 180 total diners at a time.
The good light has found Bacetti in Echo Park. Here rich golden wood plays against rust-toned tile and more vibrant touches like deeper reds and darker greens, all interspersed with plants and shadows for a bit of pop and splash. Really, though, the pared-back rooms glow because of the late-fall light that streams in from above, exposing the open ceiling and extensive glasswork that leads eyeballs towards the kitchen. A thick marble countertop, streaked in ink blacks and grays, buffers the separate-but-touching spaces.
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Kodo looks nothing like anything the Arts District has seen before. Matching light slate tones and lots of stone with blonde wood finishes — all while toggling between smooth lines and sharp corners across multiple dining spaces — the restaurant feels like something pulled across time. It is both modern and timeless, Japanese and Angeleno, culled from the creative class and plunked down with heavy authority inside of former firehouse.
Monarch’s celestial dining room, awash in pale blues and scalloped edges, seats up to 125. Traditional Chinese banquet hall aesthetics, along with a fascination with deities and a personal theory that butterflies can float between worlds, influenced Monarch’s interior design. While the ceiling’s ornate lighting fixtures and robust columns give the space the feel of a formal Chinese restaurant, Monarch’s wallpaper, dinnerware, and artwork — which includes a waterfall mosaic made of hand-painted glass beads by artist Charlie Mai — are thoroughly contemporary.