Haute Cuisine: The Best of the West with 71Above and more

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71Above’s main dining room
71Above’s main dining room

Photo Credit:  WONHO FRANK LEE

At 71Above (633 W. 5th Street, Los Angeles), soaring 950 feet in the air on the 71st floor of Los Angeles’ tallest building, the US Bank Tower, it’s easy to imagine that the world is your oyster. Below you, the city lights glitter like stars—which is also how you’ll feel should you secure a highly coveted reservation here; there’s no doubt that owner Emil Eyvazoff’s new American eatery is one of the hottest tickets in Tinseltown.

Yes, the view is spectacular, but this restaurant is as beautiful inside as it is facing out. Innovative architecture by Tag Front, in partnership with SageGlass, includes glass panes surrounding the restaurant that automatically darken and lighten—offering shade during the day, while magically lightening as dusk and nightfall arrive.

Inside, you’ll find brass compasses embedded in the table windows, assuring each guest that this is the destination and you have arrived. White oak columns and mirrored pillars seamlessly meld into ceiling pods dotted by hexagonal design motifs. Throughout, the room is enhanced by tan leather and warm, masculine woods.

Even better, there isn’t a bad seat in the house: in addition to the awesome window seats, there are two private rooms onsite, chef’s tables, a lounge area, and a bar area with communal tables—all of which, might we add, require a reservation.

Chef Vartan Abgar- yan plates up delec- table dishes such as summer squash with basil, garlic, pine nuts, pumpernickel, sumac and grana
Chef Vartan Abgar- yan plates up delec- table dishes such as summer squash with basil, garlic, pine nuts, pumpernickel, sumac and grana

Photo Credit: WONHO FRANK LEE

The extraordinary space has an equally remarkable team at its helm. Chef Vartan Abgaryan, formerly of the chic Silver Lake eatery Cliff’s Edge, has crafted two and three-course tasting menus with artfully presented cuisine that’s as pretty as it is tasty. Consistently rotating dishes include first courses such as a gorgeous poached oyster with uni, caviar, tarragon and champagne; or Hamachi crudo with Asian pear, cucumber, white soy and cherry blossoms; second courses like king crab with mango, avocado, Fresno chile and sorrel, as well as agnolotti with corn, black truffle, sheep’s milk ricotta and lime; and third courses like a divine line-caught halibut with shelling beans, tomatillo and plum.

Head bartender Darwin Manahan, a man named one of the best bartenders in Los Angeles, has created a list of libations named for L.A. neighborhoods. Fan favorites include the Beverly Hills—Sancerre, St. Germain, Suze, Clear Creek pear brandy and honeydew—and the Little Tokyo—shiso and cucumber, La Caravedo pisco, nigori sake, cherry blossom tea and lemon.

If you’re more of an oenophile, this is the place to indulge: the wine list has been crafted by none other than Reggie Narito, a face you might place if you’ve seen the wine documentary, Somm. Cap your night with a glass of Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin Rose and one of Executive Pastry Chef Gregory Baumgartner’s sweet treats—the Peaches & Cream dessert of mascarpone, black tea gel, white chocolate cremeux, Matcha marshmallow and candied lemon zest is a standout—and toast what has surely been an unforgettable evening.

Catch’s beautiful, ower-lined entanceway
Catch’s beautiful, ower-lined entanceway

Photo Credit: KATIE BALIS

Another great new option is Catch (8715 Melrose Avenue, West Hollywood), a Manhattan transplant from EMM Group. No doubt, company founders Eugene Remm and Mark Birnbaum will enjoy just as much success at their L.A. eatery as they have in New York, Playa del Carmen and Dubai—thanks, in part, to its killer design element and menu. The 12,000 square foot indoor/outdoor rooftop has a retractable rooftop that demands “Oohs” and “Ahs,” while the globally influenced seafood includes Cantonese lobster, wagyu on a rock, truffle sashimi,  sweet potato gnocchi and the signature Hit Me Cake—a four-level affair containing brownie, ice cream, cake and liquid Klondike bar.
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Photo Credit: WONHO FRANK LEE

Serafina Sunset (8768 Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood), the first Californian installment of Vittorio Assaf and Fabio Granato’s beloved Italian eatery, has also hit the west coast from New York. The L.A. digs are pure Hollywood—co-owners include former Spice Girl Mel B and husband Stephen Belafonte—and feature SoCal cool art from Los Angeles-based street artist Mr. Brainwash displayed throughout the restaurant. Whether you’re hanging out beside a beautiful fire pit on the patio, inside at the bar, or noshing on homemade pastas or one of 20 thin crust pizza varieties made with ingredients from Sicily, you’re in for an experience that can only be described as ‘bene.’

The Four Seasons at Beverly Hills’ stunning wine bar, Vinoteca
The Four Seasons at Beverly Hills’ stunning wine bar, Vinoteca

Photo Credit: VINOTECA AND ALEN LIN

Last but not least is Vinoteca, the new European-style wine bar located at the Four Seasons Los Angeles in Beverly Hills (300 S. Doheny Dr., Los Angeles). Chef Denis Dello Stritto turns local produce and weekly Italian imports into modern and shareable plates aligned with true Neapolitan techniques, served alongside hand-selected Italian and Californian wines. Similarly, the cocktail menu transports guests to the Mediterranean with libations like Il Carosello—gin, Aperol, lemon, absinthe and prosecco—and Summer in Amalfi—bourbon, Campari, pineapple, lime, ginger syrup, egg white and soda. In the morning, Vinoteca serves Café Umbria Italian roast coffee, as well as freshly baked Neapolitan pastries. So, essentially, it’s everything you could possibly want under one rooftop!

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