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Restaurants & Bars

Lunch at Hotel Bel-Air

Lauren J. | Nov 29, 200312:38 PM

After finishing up a little business nearby, my husband and I decided to treat ourselves to a day-after-Thanksgiving lunch here.

Since we arrived early, we had two choices: should we sit in the beautiful, romantic dining room with fire in the fireplace? Or the tropical garden terrace? It wasn't an easy decision, but the day was warm, so we chose a pretty "gazebo booth" filled with comfortable pillows and views of the gardens and Swan Lake below.

I ordered the Jumbo Lump Crab Cake with Orange-Vanilla Sauce which was served with 3 spicy, phyllo-wrapped fried prawns, soy-glazed baby bok choy and rappini on a bed of baby lettuces. Presentation was excellent, the crab cake moist and craby, shrimp could have been a little spicier. The tangy sauce complemented everything well, but I would have loved to have had more of it. The buttery, cheese straws were addictive. Drank a very nice Santa Ynez Valley Sauvignon Blanc.

Hubby had the rich and creamy 3-onion, truffle and potato soup with mini proscuitto and brie sandwich along with a beautifully presented salad of baby greens strewn with bleu cheese, roasted nuts and wild berries, enclosed in cucumber ribbons. He enjoyed a good Paso Robles Pinot Noir and said it was all very tasty.

We finished off with a rich, warm, very chocolaty molten cake and their good, strong coffee. By now the terrace was full, but our gazebo was private. We walked back to the dining room for one last look and were sure we saw Anthony Hopkins with a party in the corner.

We walked through the lush gardens, enjoying the hidden fountains, fireplaces and private nooks along the way. It was an expensive lunch, but so romantic and imo, well worth it!

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