This Culinary Gem Tucked Within Bel-Air’s Landmark Hotel Is L.A. Dining at Its Best

Bel-Air, a residential enclave in the verdant foothills of the Santa Monica Mountains in Los Angeles, lives up to its reputation as an exclusive neighborhood for the rich and famous. Past its grand gates along Sunset Boulevard, opulent mansions emerge from the lush foliage, accompanied by the ultra-luxe 12-acre landmark estate, Hotel Bel-Air.

The Restaurant at Hotel Bel-Air entrance

While the common folk may not have the opportunity to sleep amongst the stars at this elegant Dorchester Collection hotel, with an illustrious history dating back to Hollywood’s Golden Age, the rest of us can experience a taste of luxury by dining at The Restaurant at Hotel Bel-Air. One might even find themselves imbibing alongside an A-list celebrity; for instance, during our visit, esteemed actors were seated just two tables away from us.

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Hidden beyond the property’s renowned Swan Lake—where real swans gracefully glide across waters reminiscent of a dream-like cinematic scene—a relaxed yet sophisticated L.A. aura fills the airy dining space, seamlessly blending the indoors with the outdoors. Dimly lit alcoves peer over the serene lake as the distant melody of grand piano keys resonates from the sleek bar and lounge, creating a lively and refined atmosphere that’s intimate but not too removed from the vibrant action.

The Restaurant at Hotel Bel-Air dining room

Culinary director Chef Joe Garcia, who succeeded Wolfgang Puck, passionately expressed his approach to reinterpreting Puck’s work by “taking classic dishes and adding finesse.” Chef Garcia’s goal is clear: to simplify ingredients with technique and creativity, and the objective is unmistakably reflected in the flavors and presentation of each plate served. 

From the crisp romaine leaves in our off-menu Caesar salad, topped with ample anchovies, to the perfect balance of savory and sweet notes in the French onion soup, our tastebuds couldn’t wait for the courses to come. Accompanied by a warm, house-made bread basket—baked fresh each morning by Executive Pastry Chef Christophe Rull and his team starting at 4 a.m. (more on this later), paired with butter so visually appealing it warranted a separate photoshoot—the anticipation only intensified.

The Restaurant at Hotel Bel-Air table with people

Ideally spaced out between the appetizers, the entrée plates arrived at our table at just the right time. Noteworthy bites included the Colorado Lamb Chops, neatly presented with a cauliflower purée, and the Handmade Italian Chestnut Agnolotti, served with stracciatella, brown butter sauce, and garden sage. Rounding out the savory section, Chef Joe sent a surprise dish: the newly added Organic B.C. King Salmon, comprising a good-sized salmon filet, wilted spinach, smoked trout roe, and a carrot and orange emulsion.

The Restaurant at Hotel Bel-Air salmon dish
Credit: Britney Eschelman

It’s hard to imagine topping what our tastebuds went through in this meal. Then, the Executive Pastry Chef Christophe Rull came out with a secret dessert menu item: a vanilla bean mille-feuille (the French word for what North Americans call a Napoleon). After that, we had the chocolate chip and oatmeal pecan cookies. Let us put it plainly: when your wait staff singles out the chocolate chip cookies as the standout sweet treat, ordering them above anything else is an obvious choice. (Imagine: a warm, ooey-gooey chocolate center and crisp outer edge, all served in an elegant glass cookie jar.)

We’ll conclude: Remaining faithful to its sophisticated Hollywood glamour roots, the dining experience at Hotel Bel-Air is a class act from start to finish, warranting nothing less than a standing ovation.

Top Takeaways

Location: Los Angeles, California

Address: 701 Stone Canyon Rd, Los Angeles, CA 90077

Cuisine: Coastal California-style with Mediterranean-influences 

Price Point: $$$

Takes Reservations: Yes – Email: [email protected] or Phone: +1 (310) 909-1644

The vibe: The website states that the vibe is “the place to be,” and we’d like to second that notion. (It’s a sophisticated haunt for A-listers. What epitomizes Los Angeles and Bel-Air better than that?)

Our favorite thing on the menu: This is tough to narrow down, but we’d have to say the salmon dish with the sprightly carrot-and-orange purée. Yes, we said orange—and it will make you wonder: “Why haven’t I always added orange instead of lemon to salmon dishes from the start?”

The attire: Smart Casual

Breakfast, Lunch, or Dinner: Breakfast: 7 am – 11 am; Lunch: 11 am – 2.30 pm; Brunch: Sunday 11 am – 3 pm; Dinner: 5 pm – 10 pm; and Afternoon tea: Friday and Saturday 3 pm

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