Raphael, a trendy new restaurant located on Studio City’s esteemed Ventura Boulevard, opened its doors less than a month ago. More than a fine place to dine, Raphael has managed to fill a long existing shortcoming of the Valley—the lack of “city caliber” eloquence with a unique freshness when it comes to cuisine. No stranger to exceptional food in an exceptional atmosphere, Alon Raphael and his father Arnon, formerly of the Bel Air Bar and Grill, decided to create a place in the heart of the Valley where restaurant goers could escape to an elegant culinary oasis to celebrate any special occasion or just relax in good company. Entering the sleek doors of Raphael, guests are instantly at ease thanks to the cozy yet contemporary SoHo chic interior design by Terry Raphael, wife of co-manager Arnon. Private banquets and other intimate seating arrangements for couples or groups, as well as elegant bar seating, pair well with the ultra modern lighting, creating the perfect ambience for a night out on the town.
From a culinary standpoint, renowned executive chef Stephen Barkulis, formerly of Los Angeles’ famed Water Grill Restaurant, offers a simple yet engaging menu at Raphael. Featuring starters and entrées from all over the world, each dish is listed by region of influence. “Our menu is globally inspired featuring traditional dishes from around the world rather than fusion” states Alon, whose current menu favorite is the mouth-watering roasted rack of lamb paired with ratatouille and roasted peewee potatoes. Whitefish Ceviche, inspired by Mexico, made with citrus-marinated Lake Superior Whitefish, avocado mousse, cream and achiote, along with a vegetarian eggplant tart from Greece composed of a savory blend of garbanzo bean purée, kalamata olive and feta cheese, are among the most popular menu items. Raphael’s menu is rounded out by an extensive variety of fine wines hand-picked from boutique wineries throughout the world. Every menu item provides endless options for pairings, with over fifty wines featured by the glass. Bringing extensive knowledge of fine wine, Alon and his staff are happy to suggest selections. Taking the art of dining to a new level, Raphael is one of the few restaurants in the Los Angeles area to incorporate green practices. Serving organic coffees, recycling and use of eco-friendly architecture and equipment are just a few ways that Raphael remains vanguard.
Valet parking is available. Reservations for New Year’s are currently available.
Raphael is located at 11616 Ventura Blvd in Studio City. They are open 7 days a week (Monday through Friday for lunch from 12-3:30pm and dinner from 5-10:30pm with extended evening hours Thursday through Saturday). They can be reached by phone at (818) 505-3337. For more information, visit www.raphaelonventura.com.