Beverly Hills | 99 Essential Restaurants 2015

Beverly Hills

Maude

photo by Anne Fishbein

What do you get when you mix a celebrity chef, a Beverly Hills location and a huge international fan base? Not what you’d expect. Curtis Stone’s first foray into restaurant ownership is ambitious, there’s no denying it, but it’s ambitious in all the right ways. Small ways. Maude’s intimate room is both sleek and cozy, the tiled walls contrasting cleverly with the vintage vases and tableware (the restaurant is named after Stone’s grandmother, and the look of the place mixes her tastes with his). The concept is clever: Each month, the chef focuses on one seasonal ingredient, presenting that ingredient in a nine- or 10-course tasting menu. A monthly ingredient of honor might become burdensome and repetitive in a lesser chef’s hands, but Stone is a man who understands balance. Throughout the meal, the flavor is amplified and then subdued, in places used as the main attraction and in others as a subtle garnish. The elegant food, the fantastic wine and the lovely room have made Maude one of the toughest reservations in town. And for very good reason. —Besha Rodell

Spago

photo by Anne Fishbein

The Beverly Hills restaurant that launched Wolfgang Puck’s empire is still among L.A.’s most iconic dining experiences, despite (and perhaps because of) a revamp that modernized its look and feel a couple of years back. With its sleek white-and-black dining room and glassed-in patio, Spago remains one of the best spots in town not only for celebrity sightings and spying on Hollywood dealmaking but also for luxury dining. Chef Lee Hefter and chef de cuisine Tetsu Yahagi are presenting a menu that straddles the line between tradition and invention, fulfilling the wishes of a diner wanting a prime côte de boeuf for two with Armagnac peppercorn sauce, or the type who might wish for a bincho-grilled black cod with hijiki rice salad, avocado, kimchi endive and gochujyang aioli. Take advantage of one of the country’s greatest wine cellars, with 30,000-plus bottles including an astonishing selection of Austrian wines. This is a place for Champagne, for celebrations, for remembering the excesses of the city we live in and how exhilarating those excesses can be.—Besha Rodell