This is the rare restaurant that guarantees its diners will never be bored, thanks to the sophisticated energy that flows directly from a notably ambitious kitchen. The gorgeous space has that Nordic look that California so loves, with plenty of bare wood, skylights and an affluent crowd appearing informal in their Patagonias. The hipster staff echoes the casual mood but performs attentive service. The focus is on family-style dining, but go ahead and order a few smaller dishes to accompany their platter-sized plates. Perfectly crisp artichokes, for instance, are at the center of an exceptionally good combination of preserved lemon and coriander chermoula, garnished with fresh herbs and tender artichoke leaves. Liberty Farms barbecue duck is cooked to absolute delight and presented with garlic- and ginger-infused crisped rice as well as meat so tender that it is practically falling off the bone. When they hit their mark, creations like this transcend their ingredients and technique to result in something genius, including the properly executed île flottante. Be sure to match this with one of their refreshing cocktails, like the house martini, finished with a droplet of rosemary oil.
- MICHELIN guide inspectors