The Restaurant at the Getty: A Mountaintop Gem

I’m a total museum geek. I’m also a huge foodie. When the two mix, I’m pretty much in heaven no matter what. But when I went to The Restaurant at the Getty Museum during my stay in Los Angeles, I was completely blown away. I ate there with my best friend and my grandma, and the three of us immediately fell in love with this peaceful yet playful foodie paradise on a mountaintop.

What kind of restaurant is it? What’s the price point? 

The Restaurant serves modern American cuisine at moderate prices. If you want to eat at the Getty but don’t want to splurge on a meal, there are also several other cafes and dining carts all over the grounds. But, spoiler alert, The Restaurant is totally worth it.

How’s it look? Describe the restaurant’s aesthetic, any notable features, etc. First impressions.

For those who have never been to the Getty, it’s high up in the mountains. You actually have to take a short tram ride uphill to get to the museum. There are gorgeous views of Los Angeles no matter where you are on the museum grounds, but the views from The Restaurant are some of the best. The designers definitely took note of that and ensured that wherever you sit in the dining room, you can see the stunning landscape right from your table.

Like the rest of the museum, The Restaurant was primarily white and totally immaculate, but decals on the walls and small succulents at each table lent the space fun pops of color that made the whole space seem more fun. I honestly could have sat in the restaurant all day, enjoying the food, the views, and the light classical music playing in the background for hours.

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How’s the wait staff? Are they attentive, good with kids, fast?

The wait staff was awesome and knew the menu very well. If it weren’t for our waiter, we wouldn’t have given any thought to the most insane dessert I’ve ever ordered—just wait and see!

Appetizer: how’s it taste? Is the portion size good for an appetizer? 

No official appetizer this time, although there were some complementary rolls that were quite good. However, my friend and I split two appetizer salads as our main dish. The portion sizes were large enough to be filling, but not so large that they weighed us down before a long day of wandering the galleries. Keep reading for more details.

Entree: how’s it taste? If meat, is your meat cooked the way you wanted?

I ordered the compressed melon salad while my friend ordered the stone fruit salad, although we ended up picking at each other’s because both were so good. I honestly preferred my compressed melon salad a bit more just because it was so different from anything I had ever had. Watermelon, cucumber, and feta salads are pretty popular nowadays, but The Restaurant put a great spin on this summer dish. The watermelon was, as the title suggests, compressed, which made each small cube incredibly flavorful and juicy. Pumpernickel croutons were scattered around the dish as well, and they added the perfect crunch that made the ring of fruit feel like a more substantial dish. This was all placed on top of some kind of melon sauce. I wasn’t sure exactly what it was, but the color was beautiful and it added an extra note of freshness and sweetness to the salad. When paired with the well-aged, thick balsamic vinegar on the side, as well as the onion and radish slivers scattered all over, there was a perfect balance between sweet and savory.

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The stone fruit salad was beautiful as well. It was served with peaches (California stone fruit is my new obsession), prosciutto, blue cheese, and walnuts over arugula and endives. Simple ingredients, but everything tasted exceedingly fresh and high quality, particularly the prosciutto. Each salad was so amazing in its own way, I could have honestly eaten both by myself.

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Finally, a real entree. My grandma ordered the crab cake Benedict and, while I didn’t try it, she looked like she was in heaven. Despite being comprised of rich Hollandaise sauce, bacon, poached eggs, and croissant all surrounding a crab cake, it wasn’t heavy or greasy at all. You can also see that the portion size isn’t too different from the appetizers, so you know you’re definitely getting bang for your buck when it comes to starter plates.

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Dessert: was it heavy or light? Too sweet or not sweet enough?

I’m going to let these pictures say a few words before I do:

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Yeah, that first one is the “insane” dessert I was talking about earlier. It was a piña colada-inspired (spherical) panna cotta served over chocolate and chocolate crumble. Drops of lemon sauce dotted the plate as well and added a wonderful citrus element while playing up the tropical feel of the dish. And the edible flowers? They were more than just presentation: the floral taste meshed perfectly with the chocolate and pineapple flavors. The dish was very light, but a lot of fun to share and photograph!

The edible flowers trend continued on to the other dessert that we ordered: the peach cobbler with crème fraîche ice cream (I seem to have had a thing for cobbler with crème fraîche ice cream during this trip…). It was warm and not too heavy, and the slightly tart ice cream really balanced out the natural sweetness of the peaches.

Was it a good value for what you paid?

It was a great value. We were honestly shocked when the bill came, as the food seemed like it would all add up to be much more expensive than it really was. The Restaurant isn’t totally cheap, but if you’re worried about money, I would definitely recommend substituting an appetizer for your entree. They’re big enough to keep you satisfied, just as good and creative as the main dishes, and won’t break the bank at all.

Would you come back again, recommend it to readers?

Yes, yes, yes! This was, unexpectedly, my favorite meal of the entire trip. The entire atmosphere was very calming, and the food was creative, playful, and downright delicious. When paired with the art side of the Getty, it makes for the most perfect day with family or friends. And if for some reason you need any more convincing, just look at this view:

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