photo credit: Holly Liss
You know those TV shows you put on at night simply because you need background noise? Maybe it’s Sportscenter as you get some late-night work done on your laptop, or the soothing voice of Ina Garten as you scroll through Instagram before getting to bed, or basically anything that’s aired on HGTV ever. You like these shows. They’re unobtrusive, easy to follow, and if you miss a few minutes here or there, no one’s going to blame you.
Viviane is all background.
Now, that’s not to say the poolside restaurant at The Avalon Hotel in Beverly Hills is bad, it’s just nothing special. The space is beautiful, no one’s doubting that. And the Avalon pool aesthetic is probably the closest thing to Palm Springs besides getting into your car and driving to Palm Springs. The whole situation is far more casual than you’d think it’d be, and that’s a pleasant surprise.
But the food? It’s ok. We’ve never been truly upset about anything we’ve ordered at Viviane, but we’re also not still thinking about anything either. The ribeye sandwich is good enough, but they put way too much mustard on it. The ricotta ravioli is fine, but fairly one-note. And why did we just spend $10 on a bowl of nuts?
photo credit: Holly Liss
None of the above matters though because no one here orders anything else except salads anyways. Just count how many you see next time if you don’t believe us. Now we’re all about a healthy lunch choice, but this ultimately tells us one thing - no one at Viviane actually comes for the food. They come for a comfortable space that’s nice to look at and heatedly discuss with their co-workers about why network television is failing. The salad is just a means to write the whole thing off on the company credit card afterwards. Viviane certainly relaxes a bit during dinner service, but this is power lunch central and you should treat it as such.
Like nightly NBA highlights or a poorly-edited home renovation show, Viviane does its job. It provides a nice background with decent food and let’s you and your co-workers get your work done.
Just don’t expect any more noise than that.
Sign up for our newsletter.
Be the first to get expert restaurant recommendations for every situation right in your inbox.
Roasted Prime Ribeye
While this thing certainly looks the part, it really should be renamed The Mustard Sandwich with complimentary ribeye. Which is too bad, because it could've been really good too.
Ricotta? Squash? Brown sugar? These are a few of our favorite things, Julie Andrews. And while a plate of these babies won't leave you bummed, it all comes out a tad one-note in the end.
Herb Baked Turkey
Perhaps the strongest sandwich on the menu (because there's bacon), but let's remember - not too much bread now.
Yellowfin Tuna Tartare
Keeping in the Viviane theme, this tartare is good. But also the kind of tartare you could get almost anywhere else.
Marinated Olives & Spiced Nuts
WTF. Why is this even on the menu? Get this for free at any bar in LA.