Credit: Virtually Here Studios / Matu
Credit: Virtually Here Studios / Matu

13 SoCal Restaurants Offering a Decadent Dining Experience Worth Every Penny

Grab Your Wallet, These Restaurants Are Definitely Splurge-Worthy

Though Southern California is known for having some of the best taco stands and beachside cafes in the country, it is also home to upscale restaurants that combine a carefully curated atmosphere and high-quality ingredients to create the ultimate dining experience. Whether you’re seeking a unique and authentic Japanese meal or a romantic beachside restaurant for a special occasion, be sure to bring your wallet when visiting any of these 13 snazzy restaurants in Southern California. Fanciest Restaurants Southern California


Greater Palm Springs

Wally’s Desert Turtle

Priciest Plate: Golden Osetra Caviar

@localemag Check out Wally’s Palm Springs for the best dessert in the desert! 🍨 🍸 #wallysdesertturtle #localemagazine #visitpalmsprings #palmspringsfoodie #palmspringsrestaurant ♬ You Make Me Feel So Young – Frank Sinatra

Passed down through family generations, Wally’s Desert Turtle is an award-winning restaurant with over four decades of history. This elegant restaurant sits in the heart of Rancho Mirage and was flawlessly brought to life by famed interior designers Steven Chase and Randy Patton. From the beveled mirrored ceilings and hand-painted murals to the sounds of smooth jazz performed by Tony and Michael Bolivar Wally’s Desert Turtle is undoubtedly one of the desert’s poshest restaurants. Whether you’re here with colleagues, friends or a date, you’ll want to start your swanky evening by sipping a top-shelf martini, followed by an order of Minterbrook oysters on the half shell, which come dressed with a shallot confetti mignonette. Once you’ve primed your palate, move onto mains like Superior Farm roasted domestic rack of lamb, Catelli’s Farm veal chop or the sauteéd imported Dover sole—a dish they’re famous for. Pair your entree with a glass of red, white or bubbly from Wally’s extensive wine list, and be sure to leave room for dessert—the soufflés, lemon meringue tart and warm chocolate lava cake are all to die for.

Rancho Mirage


Mister Parker’s

Priciest Plate: Three-Course Meal ($79 per person)

A charming French restaurant within the stylish Parker Palm Springs hotel, Mister Parker’s is a must-try. The quirky dining room features abstract art and vibrant, patterned dining chairs, creating a unique vibe that sets the scene for a decadent meal. Mister Parker’s offers a $79 three-course menu that features French classics, such as roasted duck breast and chilled green pea soup, along with more modern options like crispy smoked octopus and lobster sausage.

Palm Springs



Eight4Nine Restaurant & Lounge

Priciest Plate: Misoyaki Glazed Sea Bass ($44)

Credit: John Paschal

If you’re looking for a hip lounge that still serves delicious and premium bites, Eight4Nine in Palm Springs will give you the best of both worlds. Sit on their midcentury-modern patio or grab a table inside near the retro-style bar before ordering a prickly pear margarita with Milagro tequila. And if you’re feeling fancy, order the delicate Misoyaki Glazed Sea Bass made with white miso, baby bok choy, black sesame seeds and fermented black bean sauce—it’s that good.

Palm Springs

Fanciest Restaurants Southern California

Morgan’s in the Desert

Priciest Plate: Steak au Poivre ($47)

Credit: Ella Merrill / Morgan’s in the Desert / La Quinta Resort & Club

With a romantic courtyard and hacienda-style setting, Morgan’s in the Desert brings modern American food to the Coachella Valley with carefully curated dishes that combine classic flavors with high-quality ingredients. The diverse and large menu makes it easy for anyone to find the perfect dish, no matter what kind of dietary restrictions you may have. If you’re craving something light and refreshing to eat in the desert heat, pair the White Linen cocktail with the Atlantic salmon.

La Quinta


San Diego

Rare Society

Priciest Plate: The Executive Charcuterie Board ($187)

Rare Society
Credit: Matt Furman

In contrast to the traditional dim lighting and stuffy booths found in most steakhouses, Rare Society in Solana Beach features a retro-glam style and a neighborhood feel that is both inviting and charming. Rare Society also specializes in fresh seafood, ranging from chilled oysters to whole Maine lobster, which is served with decadent garlic and parsley butter. Though they have an impressive wine list, don’t miss out on their tequila-based 75 and Sunny cocktail. 

University Heights, Solana Beach

Fanciest Restaurants Southern California

A.R. Valentien

Priciest Plate: Brandt Beef Prime Rib-Eye Steak ($55)

Southern California Staycation
Credit: The Lodge at Torrey Pines

Located inside The Lodge at Torrey Pines, A.R. Valentien offers a fine-dining experience in a rustic setting along the stunning La Jolla coast. Whether you’re celebrating a milestone or are simply in search of a date-night destination, A.R. Valentien features a sophisticated and classy ambiance, perfect for any special occasion. While you can’t go wrong with the caramelized sea scallops, their Brandt Beef prime rib-eye steak is also a can’t-miss, melt-in-your-mouth dish.

La Jolla


Ember & Rye

Priciest Plate: Beef Rib Chop “Storm Breaker Cut” ($260)

Credit: Park Hyatt Aviara Resort

Ember & Rye is Park Hyatt Aviara’s signature steakhouse that offers innovative, wood-fired dishes alongside remarkable views of Carlsbad’s Batiquitos Lagoon. With critically acclaimed Chef Richard Blais at the helm, guests of Ember & Rye can expect to be wooed by unique flavors found in dishes like the radishes dipped in white chocolate or the spicy lobster bucatini. Come here for a posh dinner and order a round of Smoking Ember cocktails as a starter.


Fanciest Restaurants Southern California

Los Angeles


Priciest Plate: Wagyu Dinner ($85 per person)

Credit: The Ingalls

Specializing in grass-fed Wagyu beef, Matū uses only the highest-quality cuts and ingredients to ensure that both the flavor and texture of their First Light Farm steaks are unlike anything you’ve ever had before. With a dark and modern interior, Matū boasts a romantic atmosphere that is sure to sweep you off your feet. While they’re known for their five-course Wagyu dinner, they also serve a phenomenal wood-fired lobster tail that is cooked to absolute perfection.

Beverly Hills



Priciest Plate: Priced per person

Hayato offers guests the opportunity to indulge in a lavish omakase-style dining experience that gives a true taste of upscale Japanese cuisine. Boasting two Michelin stars, Hayato features a scenic atmosphere that pays homage to traditional Japanese dining with a variety of seating arrangements, including low-lying tables for tatami seating. Enjoy a carefully curated bento box that features fresh ingredients and flavors at this one-of-a-kind restaurant in downtown Los Angeles.


Capo Restaurant

Priciest Plate: Fiorentina ($195)

Set in a restored 1920s building with unique antiques and priceless paintings strung along the walls, Capo in Santa Monica specializes in modern Italian cuisine. The rustic setting offers a romantic environment that is perfect for sipping on one of Capo’s 2,500 world-class wines. After enjoying some decadent pasta or their Fiorentina for two, follow up with a chocolate souffle for the most delicate and dynamic dessert.

Santa Monica

Fanciest Restaurants Southern California

Orange County


Priciest Plate: Surf and Turf ($94)

Credit: The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel

enoSTEAK is a chic steakhouse located on the grounds of the gorgeous Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel. From the massive glass wine cellar that sits in the middle of the dining room to the butterscotch-colored booths that line the perimeter, this contemporary restaurant is the perfect place for an intimate dinner for two. After snacking on their signature charcuterie board, enhance your steak dinner with some delicious sides, such as the truffled white cheddar cavatelli or the sauteed mushrooms with sherry cream.

Dana Point

Fanciest Restaurants Southern California

Fable & Spirit

Priciest Plate: American Wagyu Hanger Steak ($58)

Fable & Spirit serves both brunch and dinner to those in search of sophisticated yet playful Irish cuisine. From the bright yellow front door to the dining room decked out with teal velvet and brassy accents, the Fable & Spirit aesthetic is curated through European-inspired touches and an unmatched attention to detail. Skip the large plates and order a bunch of small ones along with their unique “tEQuilA WiNe FeELing fine” cocktail.

Newport Beach


Water Grill

Priciest Plate: Wild Jumbo Florida Stone Crab Claws ($99)

Water Grill boasts a nautical yet sultry atmosphere that invites you to indulge in a sensational seafood dinner. While white wine pairs wonderfully with fresh fish, you’ll want to enjoy a chilled aperitif before digging in. For an appetizer, build your own seafood platter from the raw bar before ordering either the Wild Ross Sea Chilean sea bass or the farmed New Zealand King salmon for your main course.

Costa Mesa

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Allie Lebos graduated from the University of California, Santa Barbara in 2017 with a BA in Communication. While in school she was a staff writer at The Daily Nexus for nearly two years. Since graduating she has written for The Palisades Magazine, as well as Hidden Hills Magazine. Currently living in Santa Monica, Allie loves to indulge in good food, hot yoga, and daily walks along the beach; writing articles on travel, special events, as well as features on local businesses and individuals.

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