Café Bohème opens in Playa del Rey
By Michele Robinson
For those seeking delicious French food, Pierre Mewissen, Ivan and Deva Kodeh have got you covered. Nestled in the heart of Playa del Rey, the newly opened Café Bohème is the only French restaurant in the neighborhood.
The menu was created by Mewissen and the Kodehs, and everything is prepared fresh by trained staff. All of the baked goods are made fresh in house, including the must-try croissants and chocolate croissants. Café Bohème also serves crepes and galettes (savory crepes).
“Many restaurants oftentimes mislabel their crepes,” Mewissen said. “A crepe is typically a sweet offering eaten for breakfast, as a snack or a dessert. The galette is a savory crepe, per se. It is an entirely different recipe and includes buckwheat flour. Galettes are often eaten for any meal of the day, whether it be for breakfast, lunch, dinner or a midday snack. The most common thing to do amongst friends and family in France is to go to a crêperie and have both galettes and crepes.”
The most popular menu item is the traditional French crepe: Crépe au Citron, (lemon crepe with sugar and lemon zest) and the second most popular are the Nutella crepes.
“The lemon crepe is a little tart,” Mewissen said.
Besides the delicious Crépe au Citron, there are several galettes that can’t be found anywhere else. La Complète is the absolute French classic that will appease any appetite. It is filled with Swiss cheese, ham and topped with an egg – simple and delicious. Another favorite is Croque Chèvre, which is filled with Swiss cheese, ham and goat cheese and topped with walnuts and a little bit of honey.
Café Bohème offers the community a bit of Old World charm in a modern setting.
“We wanted to bring Playa del Rey something that would add to the community,” Mewissen said. “Café Bohème is spacious, light, modern and upbeat with chill music.”
Space, function and style are very important to Mewissen and the Kodehs. The cafe is very open with lots of natural sunlight. Cleanliness is also at the top of their list because they wanted people to feel safe when dining in.
Mewissen, who has lived in Playa del Rey for the past two and a half years, wanted Café Bohème to offer customers a very relaxed vibe. He and the Kodehs wanted to create a fun and unique place that had a beachy feeling to go with the neighborhood. To achieve this goal, they did all of the interior design and even hand made the booths.
The co-owners have a long history of working together. The Kodeh family also owns Ritrovo, an Italian restaurant in Playa Vista. Mewissen went to culinary school while the Kodehs have 20 years of experience in the restaurant and hospitality industries.
Launching a business during the COVID-19 pandemic was a lot of work, but they remained persistent. The pandemic affected the business because it was very difficult for them to open and they had to push the opening date back. However, they saw an opportunity, a great location and took a gamble.
“It was a roll of the dice,” Mewissen admitted.
So far, it is a risk that has paid off for Café Bohème. Since opening, they already have regular customers who come in several times a week, and lots of new folks who wander in to try the food. One regular customer took detailed photos of the place and made cards for them with it.
“She took pictures of the wooden bar tops and booths we made,” Mewissen said.
The cafe offers outdoor dining options as well where customers can enjoy the delectable French fare. The owners wanted to expand the outside dining area, but couldn’t due to parking lot restrictions.
“Café Bohème offers French food with a Bohemian vibe that is close to the beach,” Mewissen said. “It’s a great place to come and get work done or come with friends or family. It appeals to everyone.”
8428 Pershing Dr., Playa del Rey
7 a.m. – 4 p.m. daily