From Our Editors
While meandering the winding streets and hidden walkways of Paris in 1990, Mike Farwell stumbled across a small bar near the Louvre named Willi's Wine Bar and became enamored with its menu of seasonally inspired cuisine and thoughtful wine pairings. After years working with wine at restaurants and wine bars, he decided to import the concept, teaming up with chef Claud Beltran during their shared stint at Madeleine's Restaurant to create Noir Food & Wine. Farwell draws on his wine knowledge and Beltran on his culinary expertise to craft menus that work together beautifully, much like a straight-laced police officer and a loveable canine in witness protection. Farwell's constantly updating wine list features a stunning 600 bottles—of which nearly 150 are California pinot noir—43 different wine flights, and more than 50 vintages poured by the glass.
Beltran adds a Cajun twist to the Mediterranean-inspired cuisine to complement Farwell's wine selections, earning him praise from the Los Angeles Times in 2009 for "turning out some of the best cooking of his career." The menu features a rotating selection of seasonal dishes such as seared Hudson Valley foie gras with rosemary apricots and white-pepper honey as well as a selection of charcuterie and artisan cheese. The restaurant earned a "very good" to "excellent" Zagat rating for food quality and service as well as a place on its Best New Restaurant in LA survey.
A natural rock fountain quietly bubbles its wine suggestions to patrons as they clink their glasses together on the spacious outdoor patio. The cozier main dining area features rows of dark-wood tables covered in crisp, white cloths and a series of posters from Willi's Wine Bar on the chocolate-hued walls. Each Monday, the wine bar fills with enophiles for events including wine classes, winemaker dinners, and live entertainment.