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“Overrated food with great service”
Review of Melisse

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Ranked #28 of 719 Restaurants in Santa Monica
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $41 - $80
Cuisines: French
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Romantic, Special occasions, Business meetings
Dining options: Lunch, Dinner, Late Night, Reservations
Dining style: Fine Dining
Neighborhood: Santa Monica
Cross street: 11th Street and Wilshire Blvd.
Reviewed July 5, 2013

The place is very pleasant, as it is not a big room, but the tables are far from each other, giving you more privacy even in an open space. The service is superb, from explaining what the dishes are made of, to all the other help.
Presentation is beautiful, but the food was disappointing. We have eating in many top restaurants both in the US and overseas, and this was just very average food.
My Poisson Cru was on the fishy side, with zero hint of Uni (one of my favorites in sushi bars), which was supposed to be there....the daily seafood selection, as the second course was a bit better, and it blended well with the vegetables on the plate. The main course of the flat iron steak, was a total disappointment-chewy, with no flavor. The Meyer Lemon dessert was the best thing I had that night.....and that came at the end of the meal......my wife started with the sweet onion soup with coconut, which was delicious, followed by an ok Lobster Bolognese. Her Lamb entree was tasteless. Her chocolate dessert was good.
I wish the food was as good as the service, but I am not rushing back at any given time. No 'wow', which I expected.

    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Thank Ronwol
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed June 4, 2013

Don't expect large portions, in fact you should choose the 10 course tasting menu. The food was excellent with service to match, and beautifully presented. Prices are high, but the whole experience is very worthwhile.

Thank shanghaibrian
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 27, 2013

Throughout my years of dining out and traveling, I haven't taken the time to review as many of my experiences as I should have. As one TA reviewer said it succinctly, it does become somewhat of a chore. However, in the last 5 years, I have used TA a good number of times in my research to help insure good results when choosing where to dine especially overseas. Thus, I feel that I need to share my experience at Melisse.

Perhaps it was the fact on the last 2 trips to Paris with my brother that influenced our decision to dine at Melisse. He wanted to dine at some Michelin star restaurants while in Paris and I just wanted to enjoy more of the relaxed local dining establishments that I look for. Thus, when he was coming down with us to LA to celebrate my daughter's college graduation, he wanted to try out one of the 2 star Michelin restaurants in LA. We had narrowed it down to two, Melisse being one of them. Melisse became Plan B for some reason that I don't remember and the other establishment became our first choice. I want to keep this as short as possible so look for one of my other TA reviews to find out why Melisse became Plan A.

We had a late sitting on our night of dining as we had made our reservation less than a week in advance. The hostess and accompanying staff greeted us graciously which was indicative of our experience when making the reservation. Our table of 6 was ready and although we were dining at 9:30, the restaurant was still almost full. The table was in the middle of the restaurant and thus we could see all around the room. It was very comfortable with the lighting, fixtures and colors working well together. With at least a several hour dining experience ahead of us, that helps to get one relaxed which is very important to me.

The Sommelier came to our table,as he had been informed by the Hostess that we had brought some wine and champagne. We had brought a 96 Salon and 2 bottles of Marcassin. My brother is quite the wine aficionado and engages him in conversation. He gives no attitude whatsoever and pleasantly discusses the details about decanting and what wine is to be served when. Very professional but not stand offish. My brother then asks for the wine list which they then discuss about the choices. This is nice to see as there were some prior comments about the Sommelier's attitudes here when one brings there own wine. Another comment that deserves attention about his service levels. My brother was giving thought to ordering another bottle of wine in addition to bottle of champagne he had ordered off the list and we had already been served. He graciously discussed with him that he thought it wasn't necessary to order more. His attitude and actions were nice too see in this type of dining establishment.

The menu is quite extensive and somewhat complicated. There are a number of tasting menus to choose from along with the ability for one to make some changes or adds. Within the tasting menus themselves, you can order certain items for an additional charge. In some of the lower priced tasting menus there are quite of few of these. Our waiter does an excellent job of describing the menu in details with all the possible options. He displays a quiet and appreciated sense of patience when my spouse has a bit of trouble understanding his accent. He graciously leaves the table for us to make our choices.

We all decide to have the "10" tasting menu which not surprisingly denotes 10 courses. Our waiter comes back and we all proceed to order with all inquires again answered in a gentle and patient manner. The food from presentation to plating to taste and to portion was completely satisfying for all in our group. I could try to describe the essence of each dish but then that is what one should experience on their own. Each individual's perceptions are exactly that. I can say that for myself and the others in the group, we very much enjoyed the cuisine in all its aspects.

The service levels were quite appropriate. I wouldn't go on to say that it was the best service I have received in establishments of this level. The best part is that there was not that high level of pretentiousness that accompanies most restaurants at this level. Although they did not come by often to ask how things were, I don't believe that is always necessary. With trained eyes and experience they can tell by being observant and that is what they were always doing, being observant. I have been in some similar rated establishments and have felt that we were being smothered. There is a balance and the staff at Melisse did well in that context. Our dining experience took almost three and half hours and we were one of the last tables there. The staff was gracious to the end.

Some prior reviews have stated that it's pricey to eat here. That is an opinion that each has to come to on their own especially when dining at this level of establishment. I tend to put it in perspective by thinking that when I go to Paris again, I won't need to dine at a 2 star Michelin restaurant there...... especially if my brother is with me.

    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Thank KamikawaSan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 23, 2013

Four of us went to Melisse for a birthday celebration dinner. Everything from the minute we walked into the restaurant was perfect. The restaurant is not large, but the tables are nicely spaced. It is easy to have a conversation and not hear any background noise. And, the restaurant was fully booked the night that we were there.

The service and the food are really superb. Our waiter was attentive, but not intrusive. The menu has 4 different tasting menus of various lengths (one is 10 courses). We selected the 4 course tasting menu, which really is more like a prix fixe 4 course meal than a tasting menu. The portions are large and there are several choices for each course. All of us found that everything we ordered was delicious.

The restaurant is not for someone looking for a casual dinner. This restaurant provides a true dining experience. So, be prepared to spend the evening. The restaurant is expensive but worth it. If your idea of a wonderful evening is great food and great service in a pleasant comfortable environment then go to Melisse. You will not be disappointed.

1  Thank jscottjoplin
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 8, 2013

A romantic night. The tasting menu is fantastic. Service is excellent. Bring the credit card and enjoy the night. Wines are pricey....pay corkage.

Thank whocareswhoiam
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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