We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Review of Ortolan Restaurant - CLOSED

No photo provided
Got a photo?
Add it.
Ortolan Restaurant
Price range: US$17 - US$80
Cuisines: French
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Romantic
Dining options: Outdoor Seating
Neighbourhood: Central L.A
london, uk
Level Contributor
5 reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
Reviewed 28 April 2009

Went on 23rd April. Ordered the 8 course tasting menu, and for an hour and a half, had a great meal. Then the chef comes out and tells us there's a private party coming in and they'll be moving a few tables around. No problem, we say. Then we sit and watch from our corner booth as EVERY table in the place is removed and taken through the bar into a back-room. We're the only diners left. Still pretty weird at a Michelin-star restaurant, but the food's good, and we don't want to cause a fuss...

Then, people start arriving. Typical LA scenesters, all of whom wanders past our table glaring at us contemptuously, wondering why we're daring to sit there at half-past nine. A DJ arrives and sets up massive speakers - and starts playing incredibly loud techno music. IN THE DINING ROOM! While the harried waiter was keeping up the embarrassing pretence of fine dining. It's very surreal being served sea-bass while a full-on party is taking place around you. Then a saxophonist starts playing. Meanwhile, the room's filling up.

At this point, we call the waiter over. Ask what's going on. He stutters - kind of aggressively - that he 'tried to call the hotel but they had no record of you staying there'. Umm.. that's kind of insane, since the place we were staying was the Beverly Hilton, and not the kind of place to lose track of its guests. Turns out this waiter called the concierge, thinking he'd made the booking - actually, I'd made the call myself. It didn't occur to this lobotomized moron to call the front desk and try and reach us.

Anyway, his grand plan had been to call us and explain there was a private party coming in at half-nine, and would we be okay with that?

Let's ignore the fact that my booking was made a week before, and the waiter had only tried calling THAT DAY (i.e. they'd accepted the booking after ours, in search of more money). Let's ignore the fact that they couldn't get through.

.. They still let my wife and I sit down at eight o'clock and order the 8-course tasting menu, and they were still happy to serve us at a meandering pace... until the party showed up. Unbelievable. They couldn't mention - when we came in - that the whole place was going to turn into a night-club half-way through our meal?

The best part: my wife and I bailed early. We really didn't want to finish our meal in the middle of someone's party. So they bring the cheque... and lo and behold, they haven't knocked off a cent. Even though we haven't finished the meal. Didn't even offer us free drinks. We - pretty reasonably, I should add - tried remonstrating with the chef, who gave us a lugubrious Gallic shrug. Which pretty much amounted to: "This party paid me lots of money, and now I have yours, so what are you going to do about it?"

I'm willing to concede that what happened to us was a rare, one-off kind of event. But honestly, do you REALLY want to go to a place that has that much contempt for their customers? The chef, it turned out, hadn't even been in the restaurant for half the night. When he did return, he spent most of his time flouncing around looking for praise from the customers rather than, y'know, cooking.

LA is full of great places to eat. Don't reward this greasy, unpleasant, money-grubbing egotist - go someplace else.

    • Food
7 Thank jhw1979
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

16 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Rating summary
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Pasadena, CA
Level Contributor
69 reviews
30 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 48 helpful votes
“Searching for an identity”
Reviewed 27 April 2009

Christophe Eme is no doubt a good chef. Most of the dishes we had were better than good. However, we felt that Ortolan suffered an identity crisis. Not as formal as the defunct L'Orangerie but still pricy and with less atmosphere. Maybe some like the dim lighting and booths, but I didn't get into it. Service was very attentive. Overall, something felt lacking. I can't pinpoint what went wrong, but I can say I am not eager to go back and would rather try something else next time.

    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
1 Thank dvg_loves_cali
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
“Disappointing. They don't deserve a Michelin Star.”
Reviewed 15 February 2009

My wife and I was there for V-day. They had the pre-fixe menu which was okay but nothing really impressed us. What definately did not impress us was seating us next to the bar. Do not let them seat you there. There were people waiting (which I suspect because they were overbooked.) and they were standing literally inches from our table. We weren't regulars maybe that's why they put us in 2nd Class seating. It was also so dark in there we couldn't read the pre-fixe menu nor our food. Our waitress was bubbly and friendly but obviously overwhelmed. Service was lacking to say the least. There are plenty other choices in this town. Will not go again.

2 Thank IanJenn
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
A TripAdvisor reviewer on Facebook
“Wow. In one visit, this...”
Reviewed 24 August 2008

Wow. In one visit, this is my favorite French in LA. The food literally surprised with its flavors, textures, execution, and presentation. A warm environment, impeccable service (try to notice how silently the staff moves about and collects your plates) -- an expensive venue worth every cent.

Thank A TripAdvisor reviewer on Facebook
This review is the subjective opinion of an individual contributor and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Los Angeles, California
Level Contributor
25 reviews
24 restaurant reviews
“One of the fanciest restaurants in Los Angeles, in a modern french sense.”
Reviewed 4 August 2008

One of the fanciest restaurants in Los Angeles, in a modern french sense.

Thank Leslie W
This review is the subjective opinion of an individual contributor and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Travellers who viewed Ortolan Restaurant also viewed

Los Angeles, CA
Los Angeles, CA
Los Angeles, CA

Owners: What's your side of the story?

Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.

Claim Your Listing