Michael's

1147 Third St.
Santa Monica, CA 90403
310-451-0843
Critics' Pick
Best Of
Michael's +

Anne Fishbein

Details

  • Mon.-Thu., 5:30-9:30 p.m.; Fri.-Sat., 5:30-10 p.m.
  • $$$
  • Dinner
  • Full bar
  • Business Dining, Catering, Patio/Sidewalk Dining, Private Party, Takeout
  • Street Parking, Valet Parking
  • Reservations Recommended, Reservations Accepted

The well-established Michael's has recently undergone a radical reinvention at the hands of Miles Thompson, the young chef who used to run Allumette in Echo Park and then left town for a couple of years. Thompson's cooking was always assertively modern, but in the time he was gone from L.A. it became more refined, more clever and more umami-driven. This is food that's cool to look at (in some cases for reasons that are almost subversive), but it isn't so cerebral that it becomes a killjoy. Pure pleasure appears to be the base ingredient in all of Thompson's cooking. Burrata comes lolling in its bowl with tangerine, marinated cauliflower and sour plum, a lovely contrast to the milky cheese. Thompson's arrival at Michael's offers hope that, rather than shut down our venerated institutions, we might honor them by moving steadily forward, keeping the components that are worthy of preservation (in this case, the iconic, irreplaceable glamour of the restaurant's leafy patio) and installing youth and vitality where it's needed. —Besha Rodell

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