Melisse Josiah Citrin Mélisse
1104 Wilshire Blvd. (11th St.)
Santa Monica, CA 90401
Cuisine: French / California
The epitome of Los Angeles fine dining, Mélisse fluently bridges French sophistication with style.
Openings: Dinner Wed.-Sat.


Mélisse, Santa Monica, CA

Mélisse Restaurant Review:

EDITOR'S NOTE: We had a private sneak peek of the restaurant and here is what we can tell you. After 20 years, chef Josiah Citrin presents us with a 2.0 version of his fine-dining restaurant Mélisse in Santa Monica. The concept is totally different. It now inhabits a small dining room with only 14 seats for four seatings per night. Outdoor dining is also available. A team of eight chefs prepares the meal right in front of you in a totally open kitchen. The design is sleek, modern, very elegant and welcoming --- it’s all about the details. The white tablecloths are out, so instead you can admire the handmade tables of light wood. Get ready for a very intimate dinner at what is likely going to become one of the most beautiful restaurants in town. Meanwhile, the rest of the former Mélisse space has been transformed into Citrin, an "casual" elegant restaurant offering California cuisine.

Below you may read our former review of Mélisse, which garnered the restaurant with GAYOT's Rating of 18 out of 20.
About the restaurant and décor: Mélisse has distinguished itself as the sole top-end French gastronomic experience in Los Angeles. The elegant dining room is filled with beautiful white chairs, and a purplish-smoke tone shades the walls. Two private dining rooms, one with a wood-burning fireplace, provide a more intimate setting. Everything achieves a high level of quality, from the service to the food presented by chef Josiah Citrin and his culinary team, including chef/partner Ken Takayama.

About the food: Being half French (on his father's side), born and raised in Venice (California) and partially trained in Paris, Citrin has integrated the two cultures to create his own modern melody with the choicest produce and herbs from the famous Santa Monica farmers market. The format is prix-fixe, with menus of four courses ($145), seven courses ($175) or 10 courses ($225), plus a special 19th anniversary menu ($99) served Tuesday through Friday. A vegetarian version of the four-course menu is also available. Wines can be paired for an additional cost. For the ultimate in indulgence, augment your meal with caviar and seasonal truffles. The signature Egg Caviar features a soft poached egg and smoked lemon crème fraîche crowned with Golden Osetra caviar. The meal might move on with Alaskan halibut with matsutake mushrooms, cipollini onion, young spinach and brown butter Chardonnay jus or 21 day aged venison with "pithivier," caramelized endives, Bartlett pear and chanterelles. You'd be remiss to pass on the wonderful selection of cheeses. Desserts may include a take on "red velvet" with cream cheese tres leches, red beet and rose geranium.

About the wine: Your voyage through the comprehensive wine list (1,000-plus selections) will be made easier by wine director Matthew Luczy, who may pour a Grand Cru Classé or something that's fun and a good value.

Jean-Luc Colombo, Les Abeilles

Winemaking and beekeeping go hand in hand at the Jean-Luc Colombo estate in the heart of Rhône, France. Read the article.