The Bellavino's Wine Bar Experience
By Rebecca S. Miller
Bellavino’s Wine Bar
3707 East Thousand Oaks Blvd.
Westlake Village, CA 91362
Tue-Wed 5pm-11 pm
weekly, Wed. Tastings with Berna
June 5th, “Swirl” Saturday
June 16th, California Dreamin’
June 23rd, Merlot Madness
June 30th, Bar-B-Que Wines
Open the door and glide through the impressive cellar racks to experience Bellavino’s Wine Bar. From the beautiful hand-blown glass pendants that line the ceiling, to the cool- blue cracked glass bar, Bellavino’s sparkles. What is swirled in the glass and served on the plate is truly a symphony of sensory delights.
A wall of exceptional wines surrounds the bar fireplace, and 30-40 innovative “by-the-glass” offerings are poured by the wine-savvy staff. Over 2,500 reasonably priced selections fill the “book,” a list especially deep in French and unique California bottles. Intimate tables for two line the bar area and live music (Thursday through Sunday) creates the feel of a hip NYC jazz club, right here in Uptown, Thousand Oaks.
The sophisticated crowd gathers to muse about the Lakers, relish the food, groove to the music, chat about the weather, and explore the wines. Everyone is educating everyone. Wine connoisseur and owner Richard Belloff notes, “I see folks ordering different wines, say a $38 Chianti next to a $250 Burgundy...and they share with each other! It becomes an educational experience.” Confident and successful singles come during the week to share the food and wine experience.
Ah, the food. Chef Gelacio Herandez turns out high-quality, wine-friendly treats. The innovative seasonal menu is beautifully presented on distinctive serving plates. Appetizers such as seared prawns in a zesty rum-infused chili sauce and the blackberry balsamic-glazed margherita flat bread set the stage. Tasty entrees such as perfectly grilled lamb chops (with just the right amount of pesto) or the seared ahi with miso and passionfruit are not to be missed. When challenged to find the perfect wine pairing, General Manager Tim Rhodes brilliantly rises to the occasion with palette-pleasing surprises.
Top off your entrée with delicacies from the charcuterie and the many inspired cheese selections from around the world. Join it with a glass of Dark Star Cabernet to tantalize your taste buds even further before heading to the delicious desserts. Relax with the cool-jazz “groove” in the bar area, or enjoy the lovely heated patio or the intimate dining room (which is also available for private parties). You will see Belloff and Rhodes in the crowd, effortlessly managing the vibe.
Check out the calendar on the Bellavino Web site for winemaker dinners, Wednesday tastings, “Swirl” events, and the full musical line-up. Visit the adjacent wine shop to bring home your favorite selections. When it’s happening at Bellavino’s Wine Bar, you can be assured it will be done with quality, class, sophistication, and details that make the difference.