After years of building and designing high-end residential properties for clients like Charlize Theron and Kymberly Marciano, the Berchtold Harris duo of Julie Berchtold and Samantha Harris tackled their first restaurant. Described as a “London townhouse meets a polo barn,” the newly opened Mediterranean bistro Avenue 31 boasts white Carrara marble, wood beam ceilings, a dark walnut floor and a balcony with breathtaking views from Sunset Plaza.
“The space always tells you what it wants,” says British native Harris, whose polo mallets inspired the white wooden stools beside the bar, which serves up creative cocktails by mixologist Matthew Biancaniello. (The popular white balsamic Negroni is made from gin, Dolin Blanc, Cap Rock bitter and white peach balsamic.) Biancaniello’s intricate libations complement Mediterranean and Cali-inspired dishes from chef Gustavo Chaves, such as Spanish octopus with olive mayo, lamb shank tagine with dried fruit and yogurt and a pan-roasted sea bass for two, with caramelized fennel and cherry tomatoes.
This new project from the BiCE Group (an international restaurant group with a portfolio of projects throughout the U.S., Europe, South America, Asia and South Africa — including an Avenue 31 outpost in Monte Carlo, Monaco) sits in the former Le Clafoutis space. The fashionable Berchtold Harris ladies rebuilt and transformed the Sunset venue via eclectic touches, like black glossy panels with brass horse hooks and seats made from Italian suit fabric. (“It’s just a beautiful fabric that shouldn’t be reserved for men — women should be able to sit on it!” Harris quips.)
“People have a hard time putting it in a box, because it’s not traditional and it’s not modern,” Berchtold notes of the design, “but they’d all love to live in it.”