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Margarita and Walter Manzke / ©Kristin Teig
Walter Manzke is a chef with a serious résumé. His career started under Joachin Splicha at the now-closed Patina, before he moved on to undertake a culinary tour of Europe, which included a stint at Monaco’s storied Louis XV under Alain Ducasse. Back in the States, his reputation only grew during his tenure as head chef at Bastide and Church & State.
Margarita’s experience is vast too, having entered the LA dining scene at some of its most notable restaurants, including Patina, Spago and Mélisse. Her skill in the kitchen has seen her nominated for the James Beard Awards Outstanding Pastry Chef award many times.
However, it wasn’t until 2013, when the pair opened the wildly successful Republique, that they could really flex their culinary muscles and perfect their unique crafts. Found in a grand old building in LA’s Miracle Mile, the restaurant-café has become a mainstay for Angelenos.
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Dover sole with morel mushrooms / ©Kristin Teig
Since then, the dynamic duo has gone on to open several dining spots, including Petty Cash Taqueria and more recently Bicyclette. Their eponymous restaurant, Manzke, however, has so far proven to be the pinnacle of their shared ability, offering an elevated take on the French-inspired cuisine that they have become so well known for.
The Manzkes’ latest venture is unashamedly high-end, offering a tasting-menu-only format. This menu is advertised as ten courses but expect a few extra treats along the way. Ingredient provenance is of top priority, with Walter calling on his vast experience to garner partnerships with some of the best producers available.
Naturally, ingredients are only part of the story with the Manzkes applying their considerable skill to create some very special dishes with impeccable presentation. While Walter and Margarita mostly root their cuisine in French-inspired classics, their vast shared experience does leave room for some well-executed experimentation, with the menu also drawing on Southern Californian and Mexican flavors and techniques.
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Bluefin tuna tostada / ©Kristin Teig
The Manzke experience is rounded off with some seriously delectable desserts / ©Kristin Teig
Highlights include a delicate Bluefin tuna tostada, served atop a minute glass of flavorsome broth; a decadent Alabone cauliflower royale with a grating of fresh black truffle; and gorgeously flakey Dover sole with morel mushrooms.
Naturally, given Margarita’s undeniable prowess in the pastry section, the Manzke experience is rounded off with some seriously delectable desserts, including a beautifully presented box of chocolates and cookies. There’s also a very serious optional wine pairing courtesy of wine director, Sarah Clarke.
As well as being half of the kitchen genius, chef Walter can impressively also take credit for Manzke’s interior design. The finished result is undeniably plush and suitably luxe, with cushioned banquette seating, double-height ceilings and dark wood finishes. The color scheme brings that signature blue from the buildings’ exterior indoors and darkens it, completing the decadent atmosphere.
Manzke, 9575 West Pico Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90035
A dark blue color scheme creates a decadent atmosphere / ©Kristin Teig
Chef Walter Manzke can impressively take credit for the restaurant’s interior design / ©Kristin Teig