It is not the pizza but THE pizza | Culina, Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills, CA

By Sophie Gayot

Back Dining at Culina

Los Angeles, CA, August 2023

GAYOT’s rating13/20
CuisineItalian / Pizza / Breakfast
Open: Breakfast daily 7 a.m.-11 a.m.; Lunch Mon.-Sat. 11 a.m.-5 p.m.; Dinner Mon.-Thurs. 5 p.m.-10 p.m., Fri.-Sat. 5 p.m.-11 p.m., Sun. 2:30 p.m.-10 p.m.; Brunch Sun. 10 a.m.-2:30 p.m.
Culina Ristorante + Caffè is on GAYOT’s:
– Best Los Angeles Pizza Restaurants
Best Beverly Hills Brunch Restaurants
Best Beverly Hills Outdoor Dining Restaurants
Best Los Angeles Power Breakfast Restaurants

Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills
300 S. Doheny Dr. (Burton Wy.) Los Angeles, CA 90048
310-860-4000 | View Website

For years and years, the Four Seasons Hotels had accustomed us to having a fine dining restaurant in each of their properties. The Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills was no exception, and up to this day, is one of the crown jewels of the Canadian group because of the liaisons with the world of entertainment the hotel has tied up. Hollywood is known for being progressive. So, could it explain why the Doheny establishment was the first to part ways with haute-gastronomy and open a casual restaurant, not even offering French or California cuisine but rather Italian with pizzas and pastas? I do remember some patrons being baffled by the idea at the time. On March 1, 2010, we all came to Culina’s opening party with much culinary curiosity. Even Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa was there with celebrities such as Adrien Brody and Jason Statham, to name just a few, invited by legendary then general manager Mehdi Eftekari.

There is no doubt in my mind that this daring move from the Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills paved the way for introducing “casual” dining in luxury hotels.

Over the years

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To keep up with the ever-evolving Los Angeles culinary scene, Culina has undergone transformations over the years, from its name Culina Modern Italian to Culina and now Culina Ristorante + Caffè with the kitchen being in the hands of different chefs. I remember making pasta with “Iron Chef America” Italian chef from the Bronx Victor Casanova or sabering a bottle of Prosecco to welcome chef Mette Williams. Each chef has input their own touches and subtleties.

Décor elements, such as tables and setup, have also been altered with the notable addition of a pizza oven on the patio — but the 25-foot light fixture made of hand-blown bubbles inside remains.

A New Chef, A New Menu

As I wrote above, Culina was at the forefront of casual and fun cuisine. It also means that they are no longer the only one offering these types of “relaxed” dishes since many restaurants have followed this path. The menu offers what we expect in an Angeleno Italian restaurant, from the Charred Octopus (this one was very good), the Wagyu Meatballs, theYellowtail Crudo, to the pastas, the Branzino (change the supplier), the Bistecca alla Fiorentina, and the signature cocktails. I cannot tell you what was the dessert as I was interrupted during the tasting, and no good memory comes out of it, even when looking at the picture I took.

What other establishments don’t have is the House Made Limoncello using Culina´s lemon trees which you can see around, and the pizzas like they are.

The reason to go to Culina: the pizzas

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We’ve all had pizzas in many shapes and sizes, with a gamut of toppings and crusts, from cheap ones to gourmet ones. But those from chef Mark Pollard are at the pinnacle of pizzas and should enter the hall of fame of pizzas.

By the 800-degrees gas pizza oven on the patio, you can see the chef stretching the dough to a round circle. Then he puts on a few ingredients, three minutes in the oven and DONE. Right on the first bite, you wonder how it can be so simple (in appearance) and so delicious. Well, Pollard has two tricks up his chef’s sleeves that he reveals in the two videos below (one in each).

There are three pizzas on the menu: Margherita, because in season when I went a Fresh Squash Blossom and Salumi di Calabria — for extra, you can add fresh black truffle. I could not resist and had to ask for the legendary one from the past: the Fra Diavolo. It was even better than in my souvenirs (memories).

About the Fra Diavolo pizza.

About the Fresh Squash Blossom pizza, ricotta, fior di latte, honey, pistachio, lemon zest.

Sophie‘s tip: If you live in the vicinity of the hotel, you can order pizzas to-go (no delivery).