Dining at the Belvedere Restaurant at the uptown Peninsula Beverly Hills turns into an a culinary journey through what Chef David Codney calls ‘unctuous’ food. “I grew up loving unctuous food,” he told during dinner recently, “eating is a journey to be explored.” For sure last night’s meal was just that starting with the amazing freshly baked focaccia that comes to the table complimentary. The epicurean excursion continued through some mighty fine gnocchi that was kissed with lemon and topped with house made ricotta. Next were stewed tomatoes that in themselves sang to your taste buds without being overly unctuous.
For entrees the Diva selected the veal chop and was more than pleased about the big, juicy, perfectly grilled dish that looked as good as it tasted. Richard picked the catch of the day, a sensational striped bass. We lingered over the meal sipping some fine wines and soaking in the newly re-imagined dining room which debuted last month with a fresh, more millennial-inspired décor. Bursts of blues and grays bounce off the room while walls are adorned with exceptional art pieces by acclaimed artists such as Yayoi Kusama, Sean Scully and Robert Indiana highlighted by a commissioned piece by Fabienne Verdier. Our pretty, perky waitperson, Fatima who is also a stand up comic, made the experience even more delightful as did a visit by assistant food and beverage and former chef, James Overbaugh.
It was designed by San Francisco-firm EDG who revitalized the room while maintaining the hotel’s signature French-country appearance. Deep-tufted booths and banquettes were added. Tables are now covered with Parisian-inspired blue and white Toile de Jouy skirts with and topped with a crisp white linen cloth. Floors are done in white oak which helps accentuate the multi-million art collection. Right now dining is indoors but around March the patio will be opened once again and the Peninsula’s world class buffet brunch will be served on Sundays with a new menu that will spotlight seafood.
All good things come to an end and the grand finale to this evening was what you’d expect, desert. The Diva’s was her favorite caramel tart with Kalamata olive, cashew and popcorn while Richard opted for the unstructured strawberry angel food cake. Both were sinfully divine.
Dinner at the Belvedere is expensive hardly too pricy for the celebrity clientele the restaurant and hotel attract. You might want to stop by the outrageously popular bar for a before dinner drink where if you’re interested, you are certain to spot stars and local luminaries.
The Belvedere at the Peninsula is located at 9882 South Santa Monica Boulevard in Beverly Hills, 310-551-2888. Do make a reservation before going to lunch or dinner.