Frank Gehry designed the building’s billowing lines, but what’s remarkable here is what you don’t see: As if by magic, your water glass is always full, your bread plate replenished, your napkin—white or black, depending on your garb—folded. In its 25-year history, Joachim Splichal’s fine-dining flagship has swapped chefs and rehabilitated its look a number of times. The current incarnation, burrowed in a corner of Walt Disney Concert Hall, is under the watch of chef Charles Olalia. Formerly of the French Laundry, he goes for nuance with a French take on California seasonality. A whisper of lemon thyme is all that’s needed to transform a John Dory fillet. A sprinkle of chicory streusel and a few carrot curls dress an elemental salad of Windrose Farm greens. Wine drinking is a sport here, and Silvestre Fernandes is its coach.
X-Factor: Patina’s cheese cart—a courier of aged milk and delicious funk—is one of the few such delights that remain in the city. With offerings from Bonne Bouche to Blu di Bufala, we hope this tradition keeps on trucking.