PreferDine: Raphael

Today on PreferDine we ventured farther afield to include our first restaurant in the Valley! Raphael on Ventura Boulevard, to be specific. Though it only opened late last year, it's already one of the top Los Angeles restaurants on OpenTable thanks to it's intriguing menu, beautiful design and extensive wine list. I'm even thinking about taking advantage of this deal myself!

See for yourself why you should consider a dinner here by reading my write-up below, and if you want to buy the $50 worth of food and wine for $25 deal that we've posted, you can get it here:

11616 Ventura Boulevard
Studio City, CA 91604
(818) 505-3336

We have a small but significant stable of experiences that we would categorize as “expensive but worth it.” These splurges include a Brazilian blowout (we’re sure Jennifer Lopez and Halle Berry would agree), chartering a yacht on the Aegean in summer, and dinner at the Valley’s newest deluxe dining destination: Raphael. Luckily, that last one is going to be a lot easier to budget for thanks to the deal we got for you.

Like the owner’s family, after whom it is named, Raphael is an alluring amalgam of cultures, with menu items coming from the great cuisine traditions of France, Japan, Mexico, and even right here in California. That’s why, when you make a reservation to dine in the beautifully designed space on bustling Ventura Boulevard, you can enjoy such disparate starters as French onion soup; Japanese-inspired yellowfin tuna tartare with ponzu, rice noodle salad and crispy lotus root; and whitefish ceviche with avocado mousse, cream and achiote that derives from classical Mexican cuisine. But the entrees are even more diverse and include a Scottish salmon with golden beet puree and fava bean tapenade; Peking duck with a Moroccan twist of harissa-spiked couscous and candied tangerine vinaigrette; and a roasted rack of lamb with ratatouille, roasted peewee potatoes and jus that will have you dreaming of dinner in a picturesque Proven├žal town.

It’s even easy to pair wines with the wide-ranging menu because the restaurant pours 50 wines by the glass. End your meal on a sweet note with a chocolate mousse brownie and salty caramel ice cream; or a touch of comfort food in the form of banana bread pudding with house-made peanut butter ice cream, peanut brittle and tempura bananas—because we’ve got another category: “calorific but worth it,” and dessert definitely falls under it.


  • It may have opened less than a year ago, but Raphael is already an Open Table 2010 Best Restaurant Winner.

  • Raphael is only the most recent high-end hotspot for Chef Steven Barkulis, who previously worked in the kitchens at Water Grill and Spago.

  • Pastry Chef Cynthia Nguyen honed her skills working at one of the Westside’s most innovative bakeries, Jin Patisserie.