The Most Exclusive Dinner Reservations to Book This Fall in LA
Plan ahead for thrilling tasting menus, supper clubs, and special one-off dinners taking place across LA this season.
As summer comes to a theoretical close, people are craving something different, something more than shorts and shellfish by the sea. We’re on the hunt for unique experiences, more buttoned-up occasions, an excuse to go out and celebrate something special.
There are new restaurants filling in that niche, tasting menus and pop-ups, supper clubs and invitation-only dinners—even credit card companies are getting into the game, creating partnerships with exclusive collaborations like Resy and AmEx’s Global Dining Access program.
As is often the case in LA, the best spots can be tricky to book, with competitive reservations that require careful timing and good luck, like securing a new iPhone on launch day. If you’re ready for a special new dining experience this fall, here are the most exclusive reservations to book ASAP.
Pasta Ramen makes great use of what might be the two most exciting words in nightlife—”secret location.” In partnership with HexClad, the dinner series is in LA for a fleeting autumn run after stints in New Jersey and Miami, and the invite-only experience is a secretive, exuberant affair. Chef Robbie Felice is best known for cooking elevated modern Italian, but he has experience at high-level restaurants around the world. He’s bringing that expertise to more than a dozen courses of playful Italian-Japanese cooking at Pasta Ramen; previous dinners have featured dishes like Cacio e Pepe Gyoza, Ricotta Cavatelli with pickled ginger, and Ramen Carbonara. Snag your reservation Thursday through Sunday from September 15 through November 13.
How to book: Get on the list by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Chef Tolu Erogbogbo, who also goes by The Billionaire Chef and Chef Eros, is building something special in a private dining room in Hollywood. His elevated tasting menu reinterprets West African dishes in a modern, luxurious way that can’t be found anywhere else in LA. Chef Eros and his team, including partner David Olusoga, create an intimate, magical experience that includes music, conversation, and dramatic storytelling. Over the nine courses and several hours of a dinner at Ilé, Chef Eros weaves a story about Nigerian culture, food, and his own life that will leave you feeling full and inspired. His take on the black-eyed pea pudding Moi Moi was one of our favorite dishes in recent memory.
How to book: Reservations available through Tock.
It may not be the hottest restaurant in town, it doesn’t have the buzziest reputation or the most paparazzi stationed out front, but the hardest reservation right now is probably for Chef Brandon Hayato Go’s kaiseki restaurant. The place is tucked into ROW DTLA, which can be a ghost town at night, and hidden behind a simple noren, a totally inconspicuous place for a stunning two Michelin-starred meal. There is only one seating per night, for a total of seven guests in all, and those seven folks are some of the luckiest in town, for a few hours at least—Hayato is a spectacular treat, kaiseki cooking at a level few others in the country can touch. The price just went up to $350 per person, but reservations are still extremely hard to get.
How to book: Reservations are available on Tock. They open on the first of the month for the following month, but we’ve heard reports of folks getting lucky off of the waitlist.
The Japanese American Cultural and Community Center is tucked into the South end of Little Tokyo, a rather nondescript building from the street that hides a gorgeous garden, sculptures, a gallery space, and now a stunning tasting menu created by Japanese-American and native Angeleno Chef Chris Ono. Chef Ono has worked in Michelin-starred kitchens around the world, including Mori Sushi, Eleven Madison Park, and RyuGin in Tokyo, and now he’s built an experience around his unique LA-Nikkei perspective. Dinner features many courses and transitions through several spaces within the JACCC, including the garden, the chef’s counter, and the dining room, for a lovely tour of the property to match the immaculate cuisine.
How to book: Reservations available through Tock.
The Yucatecan mariscos stand at the Mercado La Paloma near USC is already one of the best mariscos options in the area—Chef Gilberto Cetina’s immaculate sourcing and sauce work make for a perfect late-summer meal. But if you manage to snag a reservation for the six-course tasting menu you will be treated to an elevated and creative take on the category unlike almost anything going on elsewhere in LA. You might find a dish of house-cured Hawaiian kampachi with Meyer lemon vinaigrette, or braised abalone with fish sausage and potatoes, and you are likely to get a taco or two, too—perhaps the smoked Dungeness crab with house-made quesillo and a salsa macha infused with crab butter, if you’re lucky.
How to book: Reservations are available through Tock, and they’re filling up fast.
Traditional Edomae sushi is already an elegant cuisine, but the team at Bar sawa has taken it to new heights of sleek sophistication. The vibe is intimate, with just eight seats along the sushi bar, and the concept is extremely cool—they incorporate cocktails into the omakase experience, pairing their courses with Japanese-inspired cocktails and whisky. Somewhere between 15 and 20 courses of snacks, nigiri, and dessert you’ll get several cocktails, maybe a Yuzu Highball, or a Japanese Negroni made with the plum liqueur umeshu, and don’t overlook their expansive selection of Japanese whisky.
How to book: Reservations are available through Tock, and they fill up fast.
Chef Alex Bolar is an Atlanta native who only moved to LA in 2020, so it seems natural that his pop-up dinner series Eclair leans towards modern Southern flavors. Recent menus have featured Parker House Rolls, Halibut with Okra, and Cheesecake with Candied Cornbread and Peaches, each presented with an elevated, artistic touch. But he has also clearly embraced his new Southern California home, incorporating a ton of local farmers market produce to build out his menus. He’s been popping up at a few different locations, often using a tasting menu format, but the rest of his September dates will feature a la carte service at the lovely downtown wine bar Garçons de Café.
How to book: Reservations available through Garçons de Café’s Resy, select September 15-17 and September 22-24 to book Eclair.
Many chefs spend their careers looking forward, chasing the new. Others look inward, to their memories or personal experience. It is a rarer thing for chefs to look backwards, to history—but that is what Chef Martin Draluck is doing with his Black Pot Supper Club series. The dinners take inspiration from American culinary history as seen through the Black experience; Draluck and Black Pot Supper Club are best known for the Hemings & Hercules dinners, inspired by James Hemings and Hercules Posey, the country’s first two celebrity chefs, who were both enslaved by presidents George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. That means dishes like Black-Eyed Pea Fritters, Pepper Pot Stew, and Head Cheese on toast, each filtered through Draluck’s research and imagination. Dinners are taking place at Post & Beam in Baldwin Hills, where Draluck is currently running the kitchen.
How to book: Reservations are available through the Post & Beam website for dates at the end of September and early October, for now.
If you’re looking for the most extravagant and exclusive experience in an already extravagant and exclusive town, Habitué should be at the top of your list. The $1,500 per person dinners by chefs Marcus Jernmark and Robert Sandberg are extremely limited and unique. And that should come as no surprise—Chef Jernmark was the executive chef at Frantzén, a three Michelin-starred restaurant in Stockholm that is often considered among the very best restaurants in the world. Chef Sandberg is no slouch either, with stints at Noma and Maaemo in addition to Frantzén. Habitué includes many courses of gorgeous, carefully sourced ingredients with a focus on seafood and seasonal produce, a little bit of meat, and plenty of dessert, plus drinks.
How to book: Get on the list through their Request form, or for special inquiries email email@example.com.
Chef José Andrés is back in LA in a big way this fall, opening several new restaurant concepts inside of Downtown’s shimmering new Conrad hotel. San Laurel is the most refined of the options so far, an elegant and inspired modern Spanish spot on a terrace overlooking Disney Hall. The restaurant takes its name from the Bay Laurel, a plant that was brought to California from the Mediterranean, and it is a fitting title for the restaurant’s melding of California produce and Mediterranean flavors. There is Sea Urchin with a gazpacho consomme, Mushrooms in Laurel Cream, and of course, a celebrated Basque Cheesecake for dessert.
How to book: Reservations available through their website.
Just a few blocks away from their zero-waste fine dining restaurant Heritage, sibling chef-owner duo Phillip and Lauren Pretty have just opened Heritage Farms, an urban farm and event space. The farm is set to supply more than 60% of the produce that will be used at Heritage, and it will also host a series of $125 tasting menu dinners with guest chefs to highlight the farm’s bounty and celebrate its launch. There are two dinners on the schedule so far; the first is on September 17, cooked by Chef Yoya Takahashi of the vibey Arts District izakaya Kodō. The second dinner is from Chef Aaron Melendrez of Whittier’s elevated sandwich shop and market Uptown Provisions.
How to book: Reservations can be made over the phone at 562-343–1068, or through email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Chef Michael Cimarusti’s seafood-focused fine dining restaurant has been the big fish in the high-end restaurant pond for all 17 of its years, an eternity in this business, but that doesn’t mean it’s become an easy reservation to book. Tables fill up fast for Cimarusti’s beloved menu, and for good reason—the kitchen is still firing on all cylinders, and they also continue to innovate, coming up with modern techniques and diving into sustainability in a big way, including with their zero-waste programs behind the bar and in their house chocolate roasting for dessert.
How to book: Reservations available through OpenTable or by calling (323) 460-4170.
The Valley is full of great sushi, from classics to modern interpretations, but there may be no one else doing it at the level of itamae Taketoshi Azumi. Encino’s Shin Sushi is a Michelin-starred omakase-only experience, a precisely calibrated journey through the season’s freshest fish that somehow never veers into intimidating or austere territory. There are only two seatings per night, a 5:30 start with just six guests, and a 7:30 start for eight guests—making this one of the most exclusive meals in the Valley. It helps that Chef Taketoshi is among the most friendly, approachable, and genuinely enthusiastic sushi chefs around.
How to book: Reservations available over the phone only, at 818-616-4148. No walk-ins.
Usually when a dinner transports us it takes us somewhere that is at least vaguely familiar—a sidewalk cafe in Paris, a neighborhood trattoria in Rome, a back alley in Tokyo. Chef Jordan Kahn’s new restaurant Meteora is undeniably transportive, but it takes you on a journey to a wholly unfamiliar place. The restaurant is inspired by ancient cooking methods, making ample use of open flame, and there is a distinct focus on wild, primal flavors like pine, fruit, and smoke. The cocktail program is similarly elemental, with the emphasis on unusual juices and barks, and the decor looks like a prehistoric monastery in Tulum. As you should probably expect from Chef Kahn and his team by now, it is a unique, artistic, and memorable experience.
How to book: Reservations available on OpenTable.
The beloved Silver Lake restaurant All Day Baby is cutting itself a little short—ownership duo Lien Ta and Jonathan Whitener have pivoted their dinner service to become Tet-a-Tet, a Vietnamese concept with a Mexican flair that represents Ta’s Vietnamese heritage, and Whitener’s background as a Mexican-American who grew up in Little Saigon. That means salsa macha with the chicken wings, a pozole-ish Oxtail Stew with hominy, and plenty of Modelo to drink. Tet-A-Tet should instantly become the life of the party on that stretch of Sunset Blvd.
How to book: Reservations available through OpenTable.