CLOSED – Riviera at The Fireside, Westminster, California

This blog is primarily intended to celebrate classic and historic restaurants that still exist, but occasionally I will be mentioning a restaurant that is gone.

I was planning an upcoming trip to Southern Cal. and since I will be staying on the Queen Mary in Long Beach I thought I would visit an old restaurant in the area. The Riviera at The Fireside has been on my to-visit list for many years, since I first read about it on the sadly defunct L.A. Time Machines web site. I once popped in for a look (and a quick drink) once on my way to LAX from San Diego (and I took pictures, which I can’t find now), but I never got to dine there, despite many opportunities. So I was saddened this week to hear that it closed for good in October 2011, after 44 years in business.

The Riviera opened in 1967 at the South Coast Plaza and moved in 1992 into another long-time restaurant, The Fireside in Westminster just off the I-405 freeway. The restaurant offered Continental cuisine, with flambé dishes their specialty, which included Caesar Salad, Spinach Salad with hot bacon dressing, Filet Diane, Pepper Steak Flambé, Duckling A L’Orange, Cherries Jubilee and Crepes Suzette. Yes, they even flambéd salads! All served by waiters in bow ties and dinner jackets (just my kind of place!) and (as I can recall) the decor was updated original with large black booths, but with newer fabrics and lighting. When I peeked inside it was nicely decorated for Christmas, but it was hard to get an idea of what it was like during the rest of the year.

Riviera at the Fireside

Let this downer of a post encourage you to visit a classic restaurant while you still can. Do it this weekend!

3 thoughts on “CLOSED – Riviera at The Fireside, Westminster, California

  1. I was fortunate to dine at the restaurant last Summer not knowing they were going to close. It was an amazing place where half the menu would be flamed table side. They even had a spinach salad that was flamed. My book on classic restaurants will be coming out October 1st and it includes a directory of over 200 such restaurants from cities in all 50 states. The idea, of course, is to get people to dine at these places before they go the way of Riviera at the Fireside. I hope I’m not too late.

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