Mediterranean Bistro Avenue 31 Opens on Sunset Strip

Mediterranean Bistro Avenue 31 Opens on

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.”

Pictured: Julie Berchtold and Samantha Harris, who formed Berchtold Harris eight years ago.

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  1. Susan Phelan says:

    Terrific Article on “Avenue 31”…BUT nothing other than a full-on “experience” can capture the remarkable transformation of “Clafoutis” from the beloved, tried, true, and, perhaps, “tired, ” bustling Bistro into a DESIGN MARVEL at the hands of two of the most inventive, gifted, and forward-thinking, creative Artists on the demanding Los Angeles Design Landscape of today and its burgeoning First Class, cutting-edge, Future!

    As an interested “client” and artist, I have personally viewed several of the many residential transformations that bare the unique design imprint of Julie Berchtold and Samantha Harris. In each instance, I have been left with one, singular comment “Breathtaking!”

    “Avenue 31” is no different! “Avenue 31” is imbued with “cool” comfort; softly sophisticated, yet, a spectacular addition to Sunset Plaza’s unmatched ambiance…a gift of sorts to the area and its “regulars”…a gift of exulted imagination in food presentation and taste that compliments and intersects beautifully with the restaurant’s design. Add to the surprising and intoxicating “little thrill” that accompanies the whimsy of the menu of other-worldly cocktail concoctions; together with the inspired and deliciously comfortable setting -”Avenue 31” is ideal for an impressive business lunch or a most-memorable evening of celebrating the senses. “Avenue 31” is an exquisite setting filled with delectable surprises to treat the perceptive eye and the discerning palette!

    You will, likely, depart from “Avenue 31,” perhaps a little tipsy; no doubt giddy; but, most certainly, filled with delicious, lingering memories that will leave you wanting more. “Avenue 31” is a must see/must taste; a “note of appreciation” to a beloved old friend – unforgotten yet re-born at its perfect, Sunset Plaza location and exquisitely transformed into an advanced and absolute, 21st Century delight! Re-imagined for the perfect romantic interlude; the ideal setting for practicing the art of deal-making; or, simply, a place for a relaxing yet inspired gathering of friends or colleagues, “Avenue 31” with its nearly imperceptible yet engulfing, relaxed sophistication and comfort inspire enjoyment and tantalizing memories, all from the beautiful minds, design genius, and impeccable vision of the team of Berchtold-Harris. “Avenue 31” is a treat not to be missed! ENJOY!

    – Susan Phelan, Artist –

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