Named after an aromatic, calming Mediterranean herb also known as lemon balm, Mèlisse is a favorite spot for Los Angeles gourmands. Chef and owner Josiah Citrin opened this elegant but unpretentious eatery in 1999, creating contemporary American dishes with French influences, like the tasting menu’s 48-hour short rib with celery confit, dijonnais and herbed bordelaise sauce. The dishes are artfully presented and innovative but not overly intellectual, and ingredients are always fresh, as Citrin takes advantage of southern California’s year-round growing season and frequents local farmers’ markets to find the best produce to soothe those Westside foodies’ ravenous appetites.
Our Inspector's Highlights
• Wine lovers will not be disappointed here — Mélisse’s cellar is stocked with more than 1,000 selections.

• Other people who won’t be disappointed? Caviar aficionados. The restaurant boasts an exquisite offering of caviar.

• Chef Citrin is the mastermind behind Mélisse’s remarkable dishes like lobster Bolognese with fresh cappelini, black truffles and basil and prime rib eye with braised beef cheeks.
Things to Know
• This chic restaurant serving up contemporary French cuisine is located in Santa Monica, California, at 1104 Wilshire Blvd.

• Mélisse is open for dinner Tuesdays through Thursdays from 6 to 9:30 p.m., Fridays from 6 to 10 p.m. and Saturdays from 5:45 to 10 p.m. The Santa Monica eatery is closed on Sundays and Mondays, but it is available for private events, offering space for intimate gatherings and business entertaining.

• Mélisse calls for an upscale, business casual dress code — jackets suggested.
The Food
• Diners choose from a four-, seven- or ten-course tasting menu. Note that a vegetarian menu is only available in the four-course tasting option. Supplements like caviar, shaved truffle, Japanese Wagyu beef, and a cheese course are offered on all the menus.

• Citrin is a daily presence in Mélisse’s kitchen, and his seasonal menu is inspired by the freshest available ingredients.

• Chef frequents the weekly farmers’ market in Santa Monica to personally hand-select produce that is reflected in the ever-changing menu.
The Look
• The clean lines and contemporary feel of the restaurant, combined with soft accents, a wood-burning fireplace and intimate private rooms, create a cozy and romantic ambience.

• In a single word, the decor is best described as minimalist. White table cloths and unadorned walls allow the food to be the star of the restaurant’s show.
Getting There
1104 Wilshire Boulevard, Santa Monica, California 90401