By Xavier Carrica
Carolyn Niklas Pappas and Gregory Pappas are second and third generation restaurateurs, respectively, and their daughter Christina, now the fourth, follows in their footsteps. Carolyn’s father was Kurt Niklas, who founded the famous Beverly Hills restaurants The Bistro and The Bistro Garden. Mr. Niklas was originally backed by the director Billy Wilder as well as other luminaries and catered to the Golden-Age Hollywood elite. The restaurants have since closed. But the legend lives on.
The Bistro Garden at Coldwater opened in Studio City in 1990 and is owned and operated by the Pappas family. It offers upscale dining — French bistro style. “We offer a quality old-school feel,” describes Gregory, who evokes pride when describing the dining experience loyal patrons have come to know and love. “You can plan an evening by starting first at our bar while listening to the live piano player before sitting down to our signature dishes capped by an after dinner drink.”
The bartenders are both 30-year Bistro Garden veterans; they know how to whet a whistle. The piano players rotate on and off seven nights a week and tickle the ivories by playing the classics, show tunes as well as Sinatra and the Rat Pack.
Year round classics such as Lobster Bisque, Spicy Tuna Tartar, and Dijon Crusted Colorado Rack of Lamb are served by waiters who are career professionals; not an actor in the bunch. Who can resist? Even the chef Gustavo Gonzalez, who started in the pantry and worked his way up from cook and sous chef, is loyal to the Pappas family restaurant.
The Chocolate Soufflé, Warm Apple Tart Tatin, and Creme Brûlée are world famous. Just like the superstars Sandra Bullock, Sylvester Stallone, and Alex Trebek who order them.
The Bistro Garden is located at 12950 Ventura Blvd. in Studio City. You can reach them at (818) 501-0202 or visit bistrogarden.com. Reservations recommended.