Southern California-meets-France at Santa-Monica’s two Michelin-starred Mélisse. Los Angeles-born chef-patron Josiah Citrin started his cooking career at Parisian restaurants Vivarois and La Poste before working at a number of LA’s best restaurants. And that mix of experience and influence is very much apparent in the refined “contemporary French” cuisine based on seasonal ingredients that Citrin practices at Mélisse.
The wine list is similarly inspired, with a deep French and California focus. Describing it as “ very broad and well compiled,” the judges at the World’s Best Wine Lists awards also liked the way Mélisse covers “famous and obscure names well.”
The extensive by-the-glass list gives a good sense of what to expect. Albert Boxler’s Alsace Pinot Gris Brand Grand Cru and Domaine des Baumard Savennières Trie Spéciale mix it up with Tyler Zotovich Vineyard Chardonnay from the Santa Rita Hills for whites; for reds, Château Vannières Bandol and Joseph Roty La Brunelle Gevrey-Chambertin take their place alongside La Jota Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, Howell Mountain, Napa Valley. With an unusually good range of half-bottles, and a number of older vintages, Mélisse offers a model modern-classical list.