Chefs know best! Especially when it’s about where to dine and wine in luxury.
Except for the fact that today’s travelers don’t necessarily desire for uptight ambiance, or pretentious meat cut by 18K gold utensils. Nowadays, we might yearn for trendy atmosphere with a luscious glass of cocktail, but at the end of the day, today’s luxury is about really delicious food, made with intention via fresh ingredients.
In addition to appearing in Bravo’s Top Chef Masters, star chef Ted Hopson has made a culture of gastropubs in Southern California focusing on his philosophy of innovative twists. Growing up in an Italian family, combined with training at Le Cordon Bleu, followed by a slew of Michelin-starred gigs; chef Hopson’s newest venture is The Bellwether in Studio City where he composes a market-driven menu catering to Valley locals and city dwellers.
At The Bellwether, indulge in the best arc by following this order:
- START with lighter flavors: Big Eye Tuna Crudo with raw puttanesca-style sauce, fennel confit, and a pop of Calabrian chili or the Roasted Carrots paired with chamomile carrot jus, carrot top salad, and hazelnuts.
- GET your stronger punch with Charred Octopus served with tabbouleh, preserved lemon, tangy Greek yogurt, and green olives or the Crispy Pork and Scotch Rillettes served atop potato rosti with ham hock gravy, sunny egg, and pig ear.
- FINISH on a sweet note with Grand Marnier Bread Pudding with candied pecans and malted crème fraiche ice cream or Baked Apple Strusel that comes topped with Nilla Wafer ice cream.
The Bellwether also features unpretentious tasty classic cocktails such as: White Negroni and a traditional, signature Bellwether Manhattan. Not to be missed is a roasted apple and cinnamon bourbon that serve as the refreshing and unexpected bases.
When it comes to where else to dine sumptuously around Los Angeles, we knew chef Hopson would give us the real deal. Here are his top 5 places for innovative yet luxurious hotspots in La-La Land!
1. The Arthur J
Area: Manhattan Beach
I love steaks (who doesn’t?), and this place serves up the best I have had. A mere two blocks away from the beach, this restaurant is the perfect date night destination because you can cruise over to the Manhattan Beach Pier before or after dinner.
Roasted Duck Breast with Savory Foie Gras Bread Pudding & Huckleberry Compote:
Pan Roasted John Dory Fillet, Truffle Mashed Potato, Parsley Lemon Butter:
This is one of those local restaurants that has been making huge waves. It’s seasonal, rustic Cal-Italian done by a chef who works direclyt with farmers and cares about the produce as much as the proteins.
Area: Beverly Hills
Eating here reminds me of being a kid again – but in a more adult-friendly setting. I grew up eating Southern Italian food, and that is what Chef Steve has excelled in. I could eat here daily and not get tired of it.
Area: Downtown Los Angeles
In a city lined with taco trucks and mom-and-pop Mexican restaurants, it is really refreshing to experience Ray Garcia’s take on Mexican food that has been re-imagined and executed with a slightly refined touch.
Each time I go I am absolutely amazed at how perfect it is there. Not just the cuisine, but the service, the warm ambience the team provides, and the cocktails. It’s honestly one of the only restaurants I regularly use the word ‘perfect’ to describe.