With its Doheny Drive address, tree-shaded entrance and 6 foot high lily arrangement in the foyer (you can smell them from outside) The Four Seasons hotel in Beverly Hills is a pretty intimidating place. In an effort to usher in a younger, more cosmopolitan crowd, Four Seasons fairly recently opened Culina, a modern Italian restaurant without the pretension or insane price points of many of its Beverly Hills neighbours.
The menu at Culina is quintessential Californitalian (not sure if I just made that genre up but I’m running with it) - a fusion that always works well given Italian cuisine’s emphasis on fresh, high-quality ingredients, and California’s ability to supply said ingredients in year-round abundance. And like any good Italian restaurant, Culina allows those ingredients to speak for themselves.
The menu is fresh and seasonal, but still studded with items that make you glad no-one can see/hear your mouth water: autumn vegetables with whipped sheep’s milk ricotta, sweetcorn ravioli with brown butter and sage, a shortrib burger with caramelised onions and melted fontina cheese. Housed in a glamorous but laidback dining room, Culina’s only concession to its exclusive zipcode is a crudo bar - LA’s first and only - which serves beautifully plated hamachi and delicate slices of pink tonno that are almost as pretty as the restaurant’s palm tree-fringed patio.