Glam alfresco dining in Los Angeles

40 Tables

It’s difficult to decide what is more delightful at Wolfgang Puck at Hotel Bel-Air — the enchanting indoor/outdoor setting or the fresh, European- and Mediterranean-inspired cuisine.

Tucked within the grounds of the legendary Hotel Bel-Air, the restaurant is overseen by Puck, the celebrity toque who practically invented modern California fare. The hotel’s chefs visit the farmer’s market each week to select fresh, seasonal ingredients, but also source coveted items like Maine diver scallops, Colorado lamb chops and Rhode Island bass, too.

The idyllic setting oozes low-key glamour, with semi-private alcoves, verdant greenery, twinkling candles and glowing floor lanterns.

Our Inspector’s Highlights

• In addition to breakfast, lunch and dinner, the restaurant is known for its exquisite Sunday brunch with live entertainment from noon to 3 p.m.

• Afternoon tea, offered on Friday and Saturday, includes both sweet and savory bites, cham-pagne and premium loose leaf teas.

• The inside dining area is sleek and simple, with marble floor accents, mahogany and glass wine storage, olive-toned seating and fresh flowers on each white-clothed table.

•  Combining nature with elegance, the restaurant’s terrace maintains crisp white tablecloths in the large alfresco dining area, which is kept warm with heat lamps in the winter.

• The adjacent bar and lounge features late-night bites, a cigar menu, wines by the glass, hand-crafted cocktails and high-end spirits with a focus on bourbon, single-malt scotch and Japa-nese whiskey. The dark, sultry spot has a grand piano where more than a few famous folks have performed an impromptu song or two.

What to Know

• Dishes may be ordered à la carte, or select four- or six-course tasting menus.

• For a more discreet dining experience, relax in private alcoves with round tables, spacious booth seating, pillows, pillar candles, art deco chandeliers and a view of the small lake.

• Executive pastry chef Garry Larduinat can create beautiful nature-inspired signature cakes for any occasion with 48 hours’ notice, and can be enjoyed in the restaurant or in your room.

• Take an after-dinner stroll around the enchanting Swan Lake, where swans glide over spar-kling water beneath a 100-year-old Sycamore tree.

The Food

• That much-loved brunch is popular for a reason — on the menu, you’ll find excellent tortilla soup, Maryland blue crab cakes, a Thai-style chicken salad, an egg white frittata with aspar-agus and sun-dried tomatoes, and even a juicy New York strip steak.

• At lunch, make like the locals and order from the salads, which are — luckily — both healthy and delicious. Options like the lobster cobb, grilled Gulf shrimp, Japanese barbecue salmon and the HBA Nancy Reagan “Chopped” salad keep Angelenos satisfied. 

• While there are some staples on the menu, it does change seasonally. What you can count on is super-fresh ingredients with Californian flair, such as the Maine diver scallops, potato gnocchi with kale, tuna tartare and grass-fed venison.

The Chef

• Named executive chef in 2013, Hugo Bolanos oversees the entire food and beverage opera-tion at the hotel, including the signature L.A. restaurant, the bar and lounge, in-room dining and banquets and events.

• Bolanos was previously the executive sous chef at Spago and chef de cuisine at CUT, two other award-winning Wolfgang Puck restaurants in Beverly Hills.

• The native Guatemalan chef spent his culinary training at some of the world’s finest restau-rants, including Alain Ducasse in Paris and Daniel, Babbo and Le Bernardin in New York.

DETAILS - Insider Information About This Restaurant

DETAILS - Insider Information About This Restaurant