Eat+Drink

Enjoy the food. Savor the conversation.

Belle Vie

Belle Vie
11916 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90025
www.bellevierestaurant.com ($$$)

Drink. Then Eat: Soon to be a neighborhood favorite for locals in West LA

 The Citroen parked halfway between the McDonalds and the KFC lets you know that Belle Vie is something different in the neighborhood.

The Citroen parked halfway between the McDonalds and the KFC lets you know that Belle Vie is something different in the neighborhood.

I noted with interest when Belle Vie, a new French Bistro and Wine Bar, opened on a busy stretch of Wilshire Blvd in West Los Angeles last month.   As a former resident in this neighborhood, it's clear that among a sea of fast food and sushi restaurants, locals need more variety for those happy hour meet ups with friends. 

 Daily specials are detailed on the traveling chalk board.

Daily specials are detailed on the traveling chalk board.

I arranged to meet my friend Kim there one Thursday after work for some wine (happy hour glasses are $5 from 5-7pm) and a selection of dishes from their small but intriguing menu.  We were greeted like old friends returning to France after a decade away, and quickly seated with the specials chalkboard placed at our table.   We could have been in any number of Paris cafes when we walked in the door - booths set up in a casual elegant style that encourage good conversation. 

 Beef Bourguinon gets a California twist.

Beef Bourguinon gets a California twist.

Service was quick, and the wine menu is quite expansive- including reds and whites from a wide range of French appellations.   I was pleased to see a Malbec from the Cahors region to complement our beef tacos.  

Upon first taste, the combination of a deeply stewed beef on a taco was odd to wrap our heads around, but as we made our way through this generously portioned dish, it quickly became our favorite item we tasted. 

 Daily vegetable dishes are selected from the farmer's market.

Daily vegetable dishes are selected from the farmer's market.

The regular menu doesn't detail the vegetarian options because the chef relies on trips to the farmer's market to determine the daily offerings.   The broccolini on order for our visit was incredibly tasty (if a bit small). 

 The menu provides a detailed description of the F.F.F. for those who've never eaten a potato before!

The menu provides a detailed description of the F.F.F. for those who've never eaten a potato before!

The true sign of the wit infused in the restaurant is the detailed description of a "French Fry" in the menu.   It's good to know that sometimes these are eaten with ketchup.   We didn't finish the fries, so I took them home and a quick trip in the toaster oven restored them to their original glory the next night!

For our first visit, we didn't get a chance to sample the charcuterie platter, but the ones passing by looked heavenly.   

In an age when we are overwhelmed with choices, it was refreshing to visit a restaurant that keeps it simple.   Based on the atmosphere alone I would highly recommend meeting a friend during happy hour a glass of wine or two and well crafted food.