Jennifer and I loved Melisse long before Michelin discovered it and hung two stars on the wall. It’s not just one of my two current favorite California restaurants, it ranks up there alongside many of the other great spots I’ve enjoyed through the years – Scandia, Perino’s, The Windsor Room, Chassen’s.
Josiah Citrin opened Melisse in Santa Monica on Bastille Day 1999. I was tipped to the place by Josiah’s father-in-law, who was my partner in a golf tournament and mentioned that his son-in-law had opened a new restaurant. Jennifer and I were there for the first time soon after it opened.
We have been back countless times since and will continue to return frequently. There is nothing about Melisse that isn’t first class. The food is magnificent; the décor is elegant; the staff is friendly, knowledgeable and efficient.
There is pride in every corner of Melisse and it is justified, from the quality of the food to the attention to detail shown by the waiters as they put the final touches on a dish at table side.
Yes, Melisse is very pricey. You go there to dine, not to eat. But whether you order the tasting menu for the whole table, or decide on a la carte, it’s worth every penny. There simply is no place in California that delivers better taste and a more stylish and classy experience. Josiah is a genius when it comes to foie gras. His attention to detail in creating seasonal menus is flawless. Game dishes in season are magnificent. No matter what your taste – fish, pork, lamb, beef – it’s top quality and creatively prepared and presented. And to cap off your evening, the cheese cart is as good as it gets, the wine list is excellent and the staff is friendly and helpful.
A friend recently mentioned going to Melisse for some special occasion. I told her Melisse is its own special occasion. Melisse is a fitting choice for our first Restaurant of the Week feature because it would be a restaurant for any week.
Melisse is located at 1104 Wilshire Blvd., Santa Monica, CA 90401. Reservations are a must. Call (310) 395-0881. Go to the web site – www.Melisse.com – to see the current menu and meet the staff.
You can learn about some of my other favorite restaurants at http://www.atLarrys.com
I have eaten at Melisse, although it has been a while now. I remember the ambiance, the food and the service and it was all top notch. While reading this new review by Larry something jumped out… the fact that Josiah is genius at foie gras –this I did not know and would be a key reason for me to go to Melisse again. I’m a francophile at heart, and adore this dish. I appreciate the little details of the reviews atLarry’s, they are what make the site special. Most sincerely, Kande Hall