The clean and modern decor of Villa Blanca, on the corner of Camden and Brighton in Beverly Hills, draws tourists and locals to the expansive outdoor patio like a beautiful woman draws looks from men. If Villa Blanca had a gender, she would definitely be a woman. The cream colored sunbrellas, white tablecloths, and white flowers all give a "ladies who lunch with designer handbags" feel, but on Friday nights it transforms to a hot bar scene with live music, giving it a more "South Beach" vibe.
For men who do not require leather chairs and wooden walls, this is a comfortable place to enjoy the weather and views of life on the plush streets of Beverly Hills. While I was busy taking pictures of the food, my male "non date" and a fellow male diner at the next table were admiring a Bugatti Grand Sport pulling up in front of the restaurant the way that women admire Louboutins.
Since I went with a regular, he knew our server, Sasha, and the Manager, Steve. Thanks to Phil, I tried a new place and met some very nice people. The excellent service we received may have been biased by his long term patronage, but I doubt it, since I arrived earlier and was treated like royalty before they knew whom I was there to meet.
We started with the beef carpaccio, done with triple cream Brie, shittake mushrooms, and truffle oil for $12. It was an interesting variation on traditional carpaccio, with the shittake's crispy texture and the truffle oil's richness, the triple cream brie was overkill. I'm not sure I would order it again, but if you are tempted to taste this dish, ask them to omit the cheese.
Phil had tried the lobster crisps ($14) and suggested them as our second appetizer. the presentation was artful and colorful and I looked forward to tasting these tempting bites. The lobster mixture had a heavy mayonnaise base into which some hot pepper was not evenly distributed. One bite burned and another was mild. Between the fried crisp, the creamy mayonnaise, and the rich avocado, this was not a light bite.
We both chose a salad Nicoise ($17) to clean our palates and lighten our stomachs after the heavy appetizers. The ahi was beautiful, tender, and done tataki style, just lightly seared with a peppery crust that was very good. The traditional olives, boiled egg, tomatoes, a few green beans, and potatoes made this a classic composition. But the heavy handed dressing of a French/Russian sauce that was slightly sweet was very disappointing. I ate the tuna, but left more than half my salad because it was soaked.
The lightness of the decor here does not translate into the food, but the service is splendid, and they have a nice selection of European wines. I would suggest coming for drinks on the patio, ordering a salad with the dressing on the side, and admiring the view of street life in Beverly Hills; there are many worse ways to spend a sunny afternoon.