Culina

Pescespada alla griglia (photo: Joshua Lurie)

Forward-thinking Italian with a touch of California flair

By Joshua Lurie

This California-influenced Italian destination in Beverly Hills, located inside the Four Seasons, neatly sweeps away any faint notion of compromise you might associate with the words “hotel restaurant.” Since making its debut in 2010, Culina has been refreshed and reinspired on the regular, maintaining relevance with a forward-thinking outlook and that embraces the kind of change that matters. As such, chefs have come and gone, but now Italy native Luca Moriconi brings new flair to the kitchen.

The dining room houses a full bar and an enormous multi-piece chandelier that resembles champagne bubbles, but the real action takes place on the plant-framed patio. Amidst lemon trees and flowers, Hollywood power brokers, music industry moguls, and sports stars cement deals over some of the Westside’s best Italian food.

Each meal starts with crispy flatbreads and seeded breadsticks, before the antipasti gets things into high gear. The polpo grigliato stars a single octopus arm that’s grilled until tender, with crispy cups. Smoked and smashed potatoes, crispy watercress, and frisée provide balance.

Seasonality matters here, and to welcome summer, Luca Moriconi offers an elevated take on the classic combination of prosciutto and melon. In this case, savory 24-month prosciutto di Parma shavings join sweet cubes and coils of honeydew and cantaloupe and sweet-tart cherries, with crusty grilled ciabatta makng an ideal vessel for delivery.
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Chef Moriconi’s team makes pasta in house, and it’s a must-order. Spaghetti alle cozze combines thick strands that are chewy in all the right ways, tossed with plump black mussels, garlic, prosecco, crunchy bread crumbs, spicy Calabrian chiles, and enlightening dill.

Culina draws once more from the sea for the secondi. Pescespada alla griglia featured a beautiful chunk of juicy, snow-white swordfish plated with piquant peperonata and tart caper berries on a bed of grilled asparagus.

For dessert, butterscotch budino and dulce de leche coffee gelato do the sweet job with ease, even if it’s tempting to finish things off with another plate of pasta.

hours

Dinner: Sun–Wed 6 PM–10:30 PM; Thu–Sat 6 PM–11 PM
Early: Mon–Sat 6:30 AM–2:30 PM; Sun 11 AM–2 PM

price range

$39 (Gallini Boscaiola) to $170 (porterhouse alla Fiorentina)
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