The patio at Lucques.
The Locale: 8474 Melrose Avenue
The Chef: Chef Suzanne Goin, along with business partner Caroline Styne, opened Lucques (pronounced luke) in 1998 to rave reviews. More than a decade later, Lucques is one of LA’s most cherished eateries—coaxing every nuance out of Southern California’s best local, fresh and seasonal ingredients.
The Atmosphere: This converted carriage house, with rustic brick walls, exposed wood beams and a cozy fireplace, feels more like Napa or Italy than Hollywood (although celeb sightings are commonplace).
What to Order: Goin’s cooking philosophy is straightforward: She likes to cook what she likes to eat. “My food is a balance of respect for the ingredient, tradition and soulful sensuality,” she says. Look for twists on traditional dishes, such as lasagna made with wild mushrooms and butternut squash. Another crowd favorite? Suckling pig with crispy potatoes, roasted apples and bacon-sherry glaze. Her short ribs with horseradish mash and madeira haunts me years after first tasting it.
Sunday Supper: If you’re game for whatever Goin feels like serving (and you should be), reserve a table for Sunday Supper—a three-course menu that changes weekly. “It’s based on what is at the market and, honestly, my food kick of the moment or what I feel like eating and cooking!” she says. Sometimes she builds the menu around an ingredient, theme or region.