There are Los Angeles Italian restaurants. And then there is Culina, a L.A. hotspot that offers something greater for the savvy gourmand—classic Italian with a modern twist. Chef Mette’s Salmone Scozzese works with only the best seasonal ingredients and out of her kitchen come vibrant dishes sure to delight all. We settled in for a lunch of superior dining under the spectacular glass chandelier in the main room. We could have chosen the sunny sky on the outside patio, which features a unique fire-water fountain. This is the home of L.A.’s only crudo bar where innovative raw food dishes reign. Lunch and dinner offerings sing with inventive 21st century Italian flavors. We started off with appetizers: scallop in fava bean purée, black truffles and lemon oil. And one order of wild halibut, strawberries, pickled shallots, chili, frisée. In a word, magnifico. We both then asked for branzino, Mediterranean sea bass in a complex mélange of tomatoes, capers, lemon and broccoli. It was perfectly done. We could have had inventive pizza, pasta, sandwiches or salads. A carefully composed wine list is beyond compare. We drank excellent, well-priced wines by the glass poured from piccolo carafes. Next time, at dinner we’ll opt for slow roasted veal loin, ahi two-ways, capers and celery hearts or lasagna done with braised leg of lamb, Béchamel, purple kale and mushrooms. We have always admired Four Seasons for the quality of their hotels’ cuisine. Culina surpasses our highest expectations. Service is polite and sharp. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, seven days a week. Visit http://www.fourseasons.com/losangeles/dining/restaurants/culina_modern_italian.
CULINA: a modern twist on classic Italian in L.A.