Culina

Joshua Lurie

A Beverly Hills Italian destination for all seasons

By Joshua Lurie

Tossing aside any less than stellar notions of the “hotel restaurant” concept, The Four Seasons Beverly Hills has kept this authentic Italian restaurant a destination in itself since it debuted in 2010. Sure, chefs may have changed over that nearly decade-long span, but in a city full of culinary action, Culina has maintained its relevance and then some, most recently with Four Seasons veteran Luca Moriconi establishing a clear and refined vision in the kitchen, bringing his own flair to a menu of up-to-date yet authentic Italian that hinges on fresh and seasonal ingredients.

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

Once you’ve settled in, nosh on some crispy flatbreads and seeded breadsticks while you decide which direction to take your meal. And be sure to take your time—the menu here offers so many tempting directions.
Something from the list of antipasti will kick your meal into gear, and with the polpo grigliato, starring a single octopus arm that’s grilled until tender, with crispy cups, you’ll be off to a great start. Smoked and smashed potatoes, cauliflower puree, green beans, crispy watercress, and frisée provide range and balance.

Chef Moriconi’s team makes pastas in house, and this is another part of the menu you just can’t say no to. A plate of the spaghetti alle cozze combines thick strands that are chewy in all the right ways,with plump black mussels, garlic, Prosecco, crunchy bread crumbs, spicy Calabrian chiles, and the bright touch of dill.

A documentary musical that pushes the boundaries of the form, Witness Uganda is playing at The Wallis’s Lovelace Studio Theater for its West Coast premiere, now through March 3. Dubbed “vibrant” and “pulsating” by The Associated Press and “thrilling to the bone” by CBS, this immersive production by Griffin Matthews and Matt Gould tells the story of a young man who leaves New York City to volunteer in Uganda, an experience that leaves him questioning everything he’s ever known. The show has raised over $275,000 for the UgandaProject, a grassroots organization that helps aid to Ugandan students. Get 15 percent off tickets by using the code BBE15.

Tickets subject to availability. Offer expires February 17, 2019. Offer not valid on previous purchases or in conjunction with any other discount or offer. All orders subject to service and historic preservation fees. No refunds or exchanges.
 
For secondi Culina pulls both from tradition and a more modern sensibility, repeatedly drawing from the sea for inspirations. First, consider the baccala ripassato, fried and braised salted cod filets with San Marzano tomatoes, shallots, and garic in a leek and escarole stew. Then there’s the roasted branzino, with a colorful array of asparagus, cherry tomatoes, Taggiasca olives, artichokes, and fingerling potatoes. And that’s just the start; along with seasonal prawn and salmon dishes, you’ll find rich chicken and wild boar dishes, and steaks running right up to a 38 oz porterhouse alla Fiorentina.

Whether you’ve sealed the big deal or just enjoyed a blissfully low-key date, when it’s time for dessert the crème caramel budino with lemon sorbet and coconut merengue, or the dulce de leche coffee gelato will satisfy your craving for a sweet ending—even it’s just as tempting to finish with another plate of pasta.

Photo: Joshua Lurie

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

$22 (margherita pizza) to $170 (porterhouse alla Fiorentina)
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