Dining: Viviane Vibe…

Viviane Restaurant at the Avalon Hotel
Viviane Restaurant at the Avalon Hotel

Here we go.

I am back in Los Angeles and ready to take on the ever changing restaurant scene.

I get to eat and sit in judgment of others…it’s a win/win situation!

No truffles grow under my feet so after landing two days ago I was sitting poolside at Viviane, a brand new, trendy dining establishment in West Los Angeles.

Viviane was first on my bucket list because I had enjoyed meals at Faith and Flower and Viviane is Chef Michael Hung’s latest endeavor.

Michael Hung photo:;atimes.com
Michael Hung photo: latimes.com

Hung’s resume is very impressive including working at such notable restaurants as Daniel and Aquavit in NYC, Jardiniere and La Folie in San Francisco.

Hung is back to doing more upscale and refined French influenced cuisine which is great for the diners palate, but I feel his food totally outclasses the service and environment.

Restaurateur Stephane Bombet (Bombet Hospitality Group) has been on a tear lately with Viviane, Terrine and his newly opened Culver City restaurant, Hanjip Korean BBQ, all garnering praise.

Viviane is located in the recently renovated Avalon Hotel which I literally passed hundreds of times.

Located on Olympic Boulevard in Beverly Hills, I seriously had never  noticed it.

We found street parking so things were off to a great start.

Viviane Restaurant photo:la.eater.com
Viviane Restaurant photo:la.eater.com

The lobby is enticing and the interior of the restaurant is updated, designed by the celebrated interior designer, Kelly Wearstler.

The new look and feel of Viviane embraces a revival of mid-century California, but it still screams hotel restaurant/coffee shoppe.

The Avalon Hotel Beverly Hills was converted from the Beverly Carlton, a chic mid-century motel that counted among its A-list residents and guests Marilyn Monroe, Mae West, Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz.

viviane Pool Dining Area
Viviane Pool Dining Area

The pool dining area has a completely different vibe. I felt as if I was at a boutique hotel in South Beach.

Avalon Hotel
Avalon Hotel

The lighting was perfect and it was a chill atmosphere even though many of the patrons were wearing sweatsuits on a Saturday night.

I even noticed one woman in a Juicy Couture tracksuit, circa early 2000’s.

Our server, McKensey, was efficient, but wound tightly. She is a carry over from the hotel’s previous Italian restaurant, Oliverio.

I started with a Crémant De Bourgogne Rosé, Domaine Chevalier because I am all about Cremant these days.

It was terrible. I switched it out for a brut which was marginally more appealing, but not great ($13).

David enjoyed his German Hefeweissbier ($7).

Keeping with the latest fads, Viviane is all about small plates. It was suggested that we order 3-4 each.

I suggest that you stop up selling.

I discuss portion size. Perhaps, Chef Hung is in touch with Oprah and Weight Watchers and is taking seriously the concept of portion control.

Please note, as with cars in rear view mirrors, the portions look considerably larger in the following photographs than in reality.

Yellowfin Tuna Tartare
Yellowfin Tuna Tartare

Our first small share plate was a truly delicious yellowfin tuna tartare with pine nut creme, pickled onions and toasted, thinly sliced ciabatta crostini ($16).

Rainbow Beet & Apple Salad
Rainbow Beet & Apple Salad

The tuna tartare was followed by a fabulous Rainbow Beet and Apple Salad that was scrumptious with a marvelous horseradish creme fraiche. The salad was very creative and tasty with dill and pumpernickel crisps ($14).

The fish special, Arctic Char, was sold-out and they were offering Rainbow Trout…no thank you.

Linguine With Clams
Linguine With Clams

We opted for the Handmade Linguine with Geoduck and Manila Clams, Chardonnay, and pan-fried breadcrumbs.

It was wonderful, not traditionally spicy, but meager for an entree and for $29 give me a break. How much does pasta cost?! It definitely was not a sharing portion.

Shellfish Boudin Blanc
Shellfish Boudin Blanc

The only fish option left was the Shellfish Boudin Blanc comprised of inferior tasting Maine lobster, scallops, gulf shrimp and Sauce Américaine.

The Boudin was virtually tasteless. The server made a big deal about the sauce which was dramatically poured when the dish was presented, but it did not enhance the Boudin. The serving was small and expensive ($32).

Haricots Verts
Haricots Verts

The sautéed Haricots Verts with shallots, brown butter and almonds were crunchy and the sauce tasty, but it was very salty. My heart was racing from the salt as I passed on the Boudin and consumed most of the side ($10).

If you are hungry I would recommend the ample Roasted Half Chicken and Dumplings with young carrots and Cipollini onions, ($32) or a 12-oz Rib-Eye with Bone Marrow Gremolata ($54).


I really did enjoy sitting by the pool and the tuna tartare, beet salad and clam pasta were very good.

The wine list was pricey so I suggest sipping on Ryan Wainwright’s classic cocktails and noshing on  some appetizers.

I would recommend skipping the entrees. The other categories are much more interesting.

On a lovely southern California evening or a Sunday brunch, Viviane is a delightful choice if you sit by the pool and select wisely.

Viviane Avalon Hotel 9400 West Olympic Boulevard Beverly Hills, California. Open daily 7am-11pm. Reservations on OpenTable.com. Valet and street parking.

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