My friend and atLarrys.com co-host Rod Wright says Chinois on Main in Santa Monica is his favorite restaurant anywhere in the world.
What about Il Cibreo in Florence, or Aimo e Nadia in Milan? I asked. He stuck to his story – Chinois on Main.
Chinois was the second Wolfgang Puck restaurant, opening in 1983, one year after the more famous Spago. Spago moved from its original Sunset Boulevard location in 1997, leaving Chinois as the longest operating Puck restaurant in the same location.
Rod’s recommendation of Chinois has been on this web site since the site was launched. I’ve been there several times and like it well enough to add my own recommendation.
First time we were at Chinois we were with our cousins Barry and Beverly from Toronto Canada. We followed Rod’s instructions and ordered the signature Chinois chicken salad and barbecued baby pork ribs with soy honey glaze as appetizers. Then we moved on to Shanghai lobster with curry sauce and crispy spinach, grilled lamb chops with cilantro vinaigrette warm potato salad, and grilled Szechuan beef with spicy shallot cilantro sauce.
We needed to order an extra lamb chop to accommodate the four of us. But each of the other dishes was easily sufficient to share four ways.
We’ve been back to Chinois numerous times since, including once with Rod and his date.
We did an encore at Chinois with Barry and Beverly several years later. This time we substituted roasted black cod with spicy miso glaze served in a tealeaf for the Szechuan beef. We also skipped the pork ribs and went for sautéed Dungeness crab cakes with Louisiana shrimp.
I don’t know if I would say Chinois is my favorite restaurant anywhere. I’m not sure I would say that about any restaurant; there are too many great ones. But I will say Chinois on Main is one of the great ones – a place for excellent food. It also is a pretty good place for celebrity spotting.