07 May Beverly Hills Comes Alive with Wally’s Vinoteca
For the amount of the restaurants and businesses in Beverly Hills, it is not a nighttime destination and by 8pm the streets are quiet, almost deserted. But, just south of Santa Monica Blvd on Canon Drive, the new Wally’s Vinoteca, open until 2am, is bringing the area back to life.
Wally’s Vinoteca is the sister to Wally’s Wine Shop on Westwood Blvd which has been in business for 20 years. But, while the wine shop only sells wine, Wally’s Vinoteca is a wine bar, retail shop and restaurant all in one. Located in the former Monsieur Marcel location, in between Wolfgang’s Steakhouse and Nic’s Martini Lounge, Wally’s Vinoteca is reminiscent of a a food hall, like Harrod’s or Eataly (but much smaller).
There are ceiling-high shelves of more than 2,500 wine bottles for sale, ranging in price, as well as rare spirits and craft beers.
And there are over 200 cheeses, meats, caviar, chocolate and truffles available for purchase.
You can stop into Wally’s Vinoteca to shop but why not stay for lunch or dinner. In between the shelves of wine are long marble communal tables. The only suggestion is to remember that with all of the bottles on the shelves, the room is kept pretty cool. In some ways, you will feel like you are sitting in the barrel cellar of a winery, so bring a sweater.
The wine by the glass program is vast with over 100 wines from which to select. But, the prices are a bit steep. A glass of wine can cost you as little as $8 (2012 La Croix Gratiot, Picpoul de Pinet, Languedoc) and as much as $425 (2005 Chateau Cheval Blanc, Saint-Emilion).
You can simply enjoy a charcuterie board or cheese board with a glass, or two, of wine. But, there is also a full menu, prepared by Chef Ralph Soroczynski.
The French-based menu is divided into sections: La Terre, La Mer, Garden and Wood Burning Oven. For the most part, the plates are small and perfect to share with friends. With all of the amazing flavors, this is what I suggest to do:
From La Terre
The real standout is The Wally Burger made with wagyu beef on a brioche bun with cheese, aioli and thick tomato and served with Pommes Frites.
The grass fed beef in the NY Steak Frites is perfectly salted and grilled and dipped in a creamy bearnaise sauce and served with salt roasted shallots and pomme frites.
Beef Tartare with black truffle mayo and mache
From La Mer
Grilled Octopus, piquillo puree, pickled baby tomatillos, black olive tuile
Scallop Carpaccio, bergamot oil, finger lime, fennel seed, espelette, green olive
The beautifully colorful and flavorful Moroccan Cauliflowers are made with the North African spice ras el hanout and almonds.
Red & Gold Beets, goat cheese, pistachio tuile, balsamic
If you like anchovies, try the Mixed Kale salad with watermelon radish, pomegranate, pine nuts, pecorino and anchovy dressing. The anchovy dressing is very dominant but contrasts nicely with the tart pomegranate and crisp radish.
From Wood Burning Oven
Perigord Pizzetta (Periford truffle, mozzarella di buffalo, arugula)
Pissaladiere Pizzetta (caramelized onions, anchovies, nicoise olives)
You can’t go wrong with anything you order but the one thing not to miss is the Wally’s Cappuccino for dessert! The other dessert selections are also delicious but this has to be one of my favorite desserts so far this year.
Pear Belle-Helene (sea salt caramel mousse, dark chocolate, nougatine)
I have been to Wally’s Vinoteca twice so far and plan to go back again soon. Like most things in Beverly Hills, the prices may be a bit high (especially for the wine), but it’s compensated for in the quality and flavor.
447 N. Canon Drive
Beverly Hills, CA 90210