This is a very personal and potentially contentious topic that could (ahem) get the claws to come out. People who are salon loyal will have other opinions and will think mine are lame, and will quietly roll their eyes (mentally) and pity me.
But I characterize myself as 1) committed to nice nails, 2) having rather high expectations for salons, 3) not interested in paying more than I have to, and 4) selectively lazy as hell and willing to go to great lengths to avoid a schlep or parking drama. That said, here are my picks for three amazing places to get a great mani/pedi in the three neighborhoods I know well: Westwood (where I used to live), Beverly Hills (near our new home in Carthay Square), and West Hollywood (walking distance from Equinox, where I work out). Without ado: