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At the new patio at Estérel restaurant at the Sofitel Hotel, diners are transported to an intimate French bistro in Provençal. Across from the Beverly Center, the re-booted restaurant bears no relationship to the old place, with a new menu, a new patio and new chef. Our new favorite patio in L.A. (and there’s some competition) the ‘Aviary’ and “Le Jardin’ are lovely outdoor spaces, perfect for a large group or a duo romantique.

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As you might imagine from the name, the food is French but with a California twist, meaning farm to table fresh, lighter fare and healthy sauces. The chef nails a traditional French onion soup ($11)  and the Poulet Rôti ($29) but plays with classic cooking by offering that most Californian dish –Ancient Grain Bowl (red quinoa, farro, wheat berry, beets, kale, za’atar  for $21.)

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There is something for everyone is your group, including the delicious Grilled Maine Lobster with asparagus, (Brentwood corn, sun-dried tomato, pomme purée, $36) and Squid Ink Tagliatelle (mussels, clams, prawns, saffron) $33, while the chef’s veggies deserve their own billing. Order a plate of the the roasted vegetables ($21) for the table or the Cauliflower Steak ($10.)  Another crowd pleaser is the selection of flatbreads, such as Provençal with tomato, caramelized onion, fresh mozzarella ($15.) Perfect with a glass of wine.

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With over 10 ‘Share Plates’ Esterel is also a perfect place for a late-night snack, maybe with the ‘Chef’s Selection Oysters’ (by the ½ dz.$ 16) or the Zucchini Beignets ($10) which are addictive, so consider yourself warned.

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The only disappointment of the night was the chocolate mousee which was the not the decadently rich treat that the French are deservedly known for but more like a light, milk chocolate pudding and the homemade ice creams which were ambitious but only mildly flavorful. Next time, we’ll try the Crème Brûlée Beignet. It was redeemed by the French Press coffee however and the wide selection of dessert wines.

Bottom line: A wonderful addition to the L.A. dining scene.

Estérel

8555 Beverly Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90048

All photos: Evan Hosie 
Daily Candid News.

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