Wolfgang Puck at Hotel Bel-Air
“There’s nowhere else like it in Los Angeles, or the world. It’s in a residential neighborhood and it’s been turned into a luxury property, the way it should be.”
You may need your GPS to find it, especially after dark, but it’s well worth the adventure to this 12-acre, Spanish mission-style, magical destination. The hotel theme is an oasis, complete with its own Swan Lake, which you cross by a foot bridge to get to the hotel.
The grounds are planted in ficus, fig, palms and continuously-blooming flowers.
It has attracted heads-of-state and countless celebrities. Oprah Winfrey celebrated her 50th birthday here, and Celine Dion surprised her with a rendition of “Happy Birthday.”
The hotel was closed for renovations in 2009. $100 million later, it reopened in 2011.
A large amount of the remodeling expenses went toward the spa, and it shows. The meditation rooms invoke tranquility. The lighting seems perfect, all materials are of the highest quality, and the “sacred dimensions” of the spaces all combine to create a perfect experience.
When it reopened, renowned Chef Wolfgang Puck took over the food and beverage operations for the entire property, including his signature restaurant, Wolfgang Puck at Hotel Bel-Air.
I love to go here to celebrate special occasions. The piano bar is a great place to start the evening. It is beneficial to reserve a table near the fireplace, or a bit away from the piano for conversation.
The “handcrafted cocktails” are spectacular. I have especially enjoyed the “Pines and Needles” with the strong scent of pine trees, and “Pepino’s Revenge,” with the strong scent of cucumber. They provide tasty snacks to accompany drinks in this elegant setting.
The restaurant serves California cuisine with Puck’s European influences. Before your first course arrives, you will be offered a selection of home-made breads. They are so delicious that you have to be careful to save room for your meal!
If you have been there before, they will ask if you want the same glass of wine and will ‘remember’ your preferences. The service is said to be perfect, and I would agree with that.
The staff is attentive and will be quick or slow, depending on your wishes. They have even overheard us about a birthday being mentioned and brought the complementary birthday dessert without being asked.
The dining tables are outdoors and so heat lamps are used to make your temperature just right. Reserve early and ask for a cabanna. They are more private tables where celebrities dine and they will try their best to accommodated your request.
I have not ventured beyond the most spectacular Tortelloni Pasta appetizers. The ingredients change depending on the season, such as corn or pumpkin. This dish is to die-for.
The main menu is a bit limited in selection for vegetarians, but I love their fish entrée. The whole fish for 2 can be de-boned at your table. The pan roasted Loup de Mer can also be created in single portions.
For such a place, prices for appetizers and main courses are surprisingly reasonable. The selection of wines by the bottle or glass is extensive, pleasing and pricy. This is not a charitable institution of the Sulton of Brunei.
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