LAReview

photo credit: Eugene Lee

Manzke review image
7.6

Manzke

$$$$

9575 W Pico Blvd. , Los Angeles
Earn 3X Points

In the world of fine dining, high prices mean high expectations. If you’re going to spend hundreds of dollars on dinner, you might expect a dramatic, scene-stealing moment at some point during your meal—say, the chef busting out a medieval duck press or an edible balloon exploding over your table like an ill-advised gender reveal party.

Manzke, a beautiful tasting menu restaurant from the team who gave us Republique and Bicyclette, isn’t that kind of place. There is no mind-boggling reimagining of fine dining going on here, just well-executed dishes filled with luxury ingredients served in a private and peaceful atmosphere. If that kind of experience—at $260 per person before tax and tip—sounds attractive to you, then Manzke is a place to seek out. 

Eugene Lee

Manzke review image

Entering through Manzke’s double doors and into its second story dining room, you’re hit by the stateliness of it all. This is an old, split-level space on Pico Blvd. just south of Beverly Hills, with Bicyclette occupying the ground floor. The high energy bistro below might share the same chef, but its contrast with Manzke is stark—the upstairs space is much quieter, with an original design aesthetic and a certain gravitas that sets it apart.

The dining room is lined with navy leather tufted banquettes, rich mahogany dining tables, and ornate Persian rugs. The dark herringbone ceiling hovers like a dramatic art installation. It’s the kind of room that transforms you from an exhausted Angeleno who forgot to pick up toilet paper today into a noble dignitary dining in fashion. Once you’re seated however, the energy shifts from extraordinary to sort of ordinary, despite service that is warm and overall very knowledgeable.

This is going to sound ridiculous, but the tables at Manzke are too far apart. It’s a minor detail that has a sizable impact. In a space this epic, you want to feel like a prime guest at an exclusive gathering, rubbing shoulders with ambassadors and people who collect portrait busts. Instead, you’re more or less stuck in a corner, craning your neck to see if the party is happening on the other side of the room. We’re all for privacy while we eat, but it’s unusual when a space is so awkwardly arranged that it becomes a point of conversation (which is a shame, because everyone should really be talking about food).

Eugene Lee

Manzke review image

Manzke’s menu, which mainly takes inspiration from California, France, and East Asia, features around 11 courses. You’ll eat standout dishes like Santa Barbara red abalone topped with Hokkaido uni and a dashi beurre blanc, European white asparagus in a potato and leek velouté studded with caviar, and a sweet and savory Thai corn curry we’d drink from a Camelbak if they let us. Some dishes are less memorable—an already buttery brioche roll served with (excellent) Le Meunier butter was simply too rich and a hamachi aguachile lacked salt and acidity—but overall, most things that land will be met with a round of “mm, that’s lovely” and other things people mutter at fancy restaurants.

Manzke isn’t blazing any new territory, but it does prove that a restaurant doesn’t need some maximalist explosion of showmanship to justify its high price point. A refined and mostly delicious menu can be noteworthy, too, and if you have the money to spend—and don't mind the extra open space—this is a great place to experience just that.

Eugene Lee

Manzke review image

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Food Rundown

Prix Fixe

Manzke’s sole dining option is a multi-course tasting menu with dishes that change seasonally. On our last visit, we ate things like potato chips with roe-topped labneh, Dover sole with a black truffle and cream sauce, wagyu ribeye cap with red wine jus, and roasted green tea creme bruleé. Whatever you’re served the night you visit, know that the majority of the courses will probably involve someone pouring sauce over your food tableside. This could include a decadent beurre blanc over red abalone and Hokkaido uni, or a sweet corn curry slowly surrounding a clump of Dungeness crab. It’s not a grand theatrical production, but it does add a touch of elegance and provides many opportunities to take videos that’ll make your coworkers jealous the next morning.

Drinks

For anyone who’s dined at Republique or Bicyclette, you know that high quality wine is a given. Manzke is no exception. If price isn't an object, there’s a $165 or $295 wine pairing, or you can just pick something from the more limited by-the-glass list. There’s also a menu of cocktails made with vintage spirits that features sidecars, martinis, and prices that’ll make your heart rate spike. A $65 negroni made with gin from the 1970s? Yes, it’s real and it’s very good.

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