Dining at this compact eatery occupying the eastern-most suite of the historic Wagon Wheel building in the Melrose District feels like a visit to Biosphere II: Loads of plants and greenery mingle with natural wood and light, creating an earthy experience unlike any other in the Valley. The constantly changing, seasonally driven, five-course tasting menu at Restaurant Progress is overseen by chef and owner TJ Culp, who plates mostly upscale, New American fare. Among the dishes we've sampled here are soy-cured watermelon, scallop crudo, skin-on pork belly rillon, tagliatelle ragu, short rib bourguignon, and rabbit ballotine. The small but passionate team has recently added a brunch on Sundays that includes — as with the a la carte and tasting menu — offerings from local purveyors like Proof Bread, Arcadia Meat Market, and more. (And just FYI: This is the same team behind Dino's Napoletana, the backyard pizza operation at the neighboring Thunderbird Lounge.) Walk-ins are welcome, but we recommend a reservation. New Normal: Dine-in is still available (reservation only; make it through Tock).
- Price: $$$
- Hours: Tuesday-Thursday 5-10 p.m.; Friday & Saturday 5-11 p.m.
- Outdoor seating: Open-air patio
- Reservations: Required