Our Critics' Picks



1104 Wilshire Blvd.
Santa Monica, CA 90401
Critics' Pick
Best Of
Mélisse +

Anne Fishbein Cheese cart


  • Sun.-Fri., 5:30-9:15 p.m.; Sat., 5:45-9:45 p.m.; pre-theater menu, Tue.-Fri., 5:30-6:15 p.m., $65 for three courses. Tasting menus $135-$195, more with supplements.

  • $$$$
  • Vegetarian Friendly, Banquet Facilities, Business Dining, Catering, Coat Check, Private Party, Prix Fixe
  • Dinner
  • Full bar
  • Street Parking, Valet Parking
  • Reservations Recommended, Reservations Accepted

It's easy to become jaded about luxury fine dining, to forget the pleasures of eating in an elegant room with formal service (Captains! Sommeliers and assistant sommeliers! Runners who swoop in to drop food or bus your tables as if they're performing ballet!). If what's so great about dining in this manner has slipped your mind, it really is worth a trip to Mélisse, Josiah Citrin's modern French restaurant in Santa Monica, to refresh your memory. Revel in extravagances such as caviar service, or a tableside filleting of Dover sole or carving of truffle-stuffed chicken, or Citrin's "10" menu, which spans 10 courses and will cost you a cool $195 per person. It's an investment, but it's worth using the excuse of a special occasion to see what Citrin is capable of — his soups so much silkier than anyone else's, his sauces so much more refined. For being one of the most expensive restaurants in the city, Mélisse has an exceedingly reasonable wine list — don't get me wrong, you can easily spend a month's salary on booze here if you want, but there's treasure to be found on the lower end as well, and a staff that's happy to guide you. For about double what you'd spend at many of our trendier eateries, you'll leave with the warm glow of a rare experience, one that has been perfectly calibrated from the second you stepped through the door and finishing with the gorgeous plate of petit fours delivered with your check.—Besha Rodell

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