On my sixth day in Los Angeles, my little brother took me to lunch in Beverly Hills. It started a little something like this:
Lil Bro: "I'm going to take you to this great restaurant in Beverly Hills that serves a little bit of everything."
FFG: "Ok cool, let's go. Will Lululemon pants be ok or do I have to dress up?"
Lil Bro: "This is LA, you'll be fine with whatever you wear."
Fast forward twenty minutes and we're walking down Rodeo drive and I'm feeling like I look a bit like I'm headed to yoga, not out to lunch, and I'm hoping we're going somewhere casual. Then we walk by Villa Blanca. Now, I'm a closet watcher of the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. Alright, maybe not so closet, but I don't shout it from the rooftops. It's my guilty pleasure. So I am well aware that Villa Blanca is the restaurant where the cast of the show frequently meet and eat as it's owned by Real Housewife Lisa Vanderpump. So I sort of casually lean over to my brother and the conversation goes like this:
FFG: "Hey, that's Lisa Vanderpump's restaurant Villa Blanca."
Lil Bro: "No clue who she is but this is where we are going for lunch."
FFG: "Ummm what, are you serious? Look at me, I'm in yoga pants. What if Lisa's in there?'
Lil Bro: "Come on, the food's good. Let's go, you'll be fine."
So in we go and in we sit. Now I'm not a celebrity name dropper but I'll just say this place was suitably pimped out. For me, it was like an adult Disney World. I'd seen the restaurant so many times on TV that I figured the interior would be cheap, the food rubbish and the service abysmal. I thought to myself, it would be an experience to take back to London and share around a dinner table with friends - my cheesy Real Housewives moment.
Well, folks, that was hardly the case. In fact there was nothing cheap, rubbish or abysmal about Lisa Vanderpump's Villa Blanca. It was the exact opposite. We had the most lovely waitress who was upbeat, attentive and good at recommending drinks (she encouraged me to try Lisa's favourite tipple called the Big Pinky, which is Vodka, Lime, Cranberry Juice and Soda). My brother did the ordering and his suggestions were finished off in seconds. We ordered the Crispy Rock Shrimp and the Lobster Crisps to start. Both, I must say, are worth the price of admission. Absolutely melt in your mouth delicious, these guys were.
Predictably, I had a burger for my main. I know, I know, I need to start switching this up. I just can't help myself. I'm addicted! The burger was equally delicious. The meat was tender and well flavored and the pairing of a soft bun with the perfect pickle made this a memorable meat experience.
Lisa wasn't at the restaurant on the day, but had she been I would have certainly marched up to her and congratulated her on creating a restaurant that is now one of my favorites in Beverly Hills.
9601 Brighton Way
Beverly Hills, CA 90210
Beverly Hills, CA 90210