Cutie Reviews La Villa Basque in Vernon

How have I lived in Boyle Heights for two years without knowing about this place? I like a restaurant where the manager meets you at the door twirling a bottle of Grand Marnier in one hand and you can chat a little en Francais. French was my first language, and their cuisine is my second comfort food (Jewish delicatessen comes first). The Basques are very interesting, they’re a cross between French and Spanish, but they lean towards the French in their cooking.

Anyhow, about this restaurant: I loved it. It is elegant, with good decor and nice ambiance. I liked the white tablecloths and red cloth napkins, the beautiful wooden fretwork panels and the copper chandeliers, the bowl filled with cut flowers and fern fronds on my table and the authentic French rolls. At first I didn’t even notice all the fashionable young men in the tables around me (what used to be a hog butcher’s diner now caters to the fashion trade), but once I did, I liked it!

Of course once I saw it on the menu I had to order my signature dish, French Onion Soup. My grandchildren pointed out that I could have a cup of soup with a half a grilled cheese sandwich as one of the $5 lunch specials, so I did. This isn’t a proper French meal with many courses, but it’s a good deal if you don’t have a big appetitie.

My sandwich was fine, buttery and crisp from the grill with lots of cheese. But I wasn’t prepared for the best French Onion Soup I have ever had in my life–yes, better than Paris. It made me feel like a little girl again, and I wasn’t ashamed to ask the waitress for a little more broth, which she was happy to get for me, after recommending other traditional French dishes from the menu for next time (I smiled politely, knowing I will not be ordering anything other than this wonderful soup).


How have I lived in Boyle Heights for two years without knowing about this place? I like a restaurant where the manager meets you at the door twirling a bottle of Grand Marnier in one hand and you can chat a little en Francais. French was my first language, and their cuisine is my second comfort food (Jewish delicatessen comes first). The Basques are very interesting, they’re a cross between French and Spanish, but they lean towards the French in their cooking.

Anyhow, about this restaurant: I loved it. It is elegant, with good decor and nice ambiance. I liked the white tablecloths and red cloth napkins, the beautiful wooden fretwork panels and the copper chandeliers, the bowl filled with cut flowers and fern fronds on my table and the authentic French rolls. At first I didn’t even notice all the fashionable young men in the tables around me (what used to be a hog butcher’s diner now caters to the fashion trade), but once I did, I liked it!

Of course once I saw it on the menu I had to order my signature dish, French Onion Soup. My grandchildren pointed out that I could have a cup of soup with a half a grilled cheese sandwich as one of the $5 lunch specials, so I did. This isn’t a proper French meal with many courses, but it’s a good deal if you don’t have a big appetitie.

My sandwich was fine, buttery and crisp from the grill with lots of cheese. But I wasn’t prepared for the best French Onion Soup I have ever had in my life–yes, better than Paris. It made me feel like a little girl again, and I wasn’t ashamed to ask the waitress for a little more broth, which she was happy to get for me, after recommending other traditional French dishes from the menu for next time (I smiled politely, knowing I will not be ordering anything other than this wonderful soup).

While waiting for my refill, I noticed a garlicky dill pickle on my plate, and started nibbling it in my own special way — like an ear of corn, all the way back to the skin. What can I say? I happen to like the center.

Over all this would be a nice place to bring a date to, or even to take the Queen of England. I’ll certainly be coming back soon with Harry, maybe even tomorrow. Next time I think I’ll just get the soup in a bigger bowl, because a sandwich is a sandwich, but that French Onion Soup was exceptional. They serve lunch only, and are so convenient for me.

La Villa Basque
2801 Leonis Blvd
Vernon, CA 90058
http://www.lavillabasque.com/lavilla/