S. Irene Virbila

S. Irene Virbila is a restaurant critic and wine columnist for the Los Angeles Times. Her worldly perspective on the L.A. dining scene has won a James Beard Foundation Award in 1997 and the American Food Journalists Award in 2005. Before joining The Times in 1993, she wrote about food, wine and travel from Europe and Asia, trained as a sommelier in Paris, edited cookbooks and was part of the culinary scene in Berkeley when Chez Panisse changed everything. 

Recent Articles

  • 8 hot spots for wines by the glass around L.A.
    8 hot spots for wines by the glass around L.A.

    A.O.C. — When the original A.O.C. opened in 2002, it was one of the first dedicated wine bars in L.A., with 50 wines by the glass. With the recent move farther west on 3rd Street, co-owner and wine director Caroline Styne pared the list down to 30 or 35 selections, as there are also cocktails at...

  • Wine by the glass, done right, can be better than a bottle
    Wine by the glass, done right, can be better than a bottle

    How often do you run into a friend and decide to have a glass of wine together? Depending on where you go, you could get something incredibly delicious and surprising, or something uninspiring — or mediocre and overpriced.

  • Scott Pruett drives race cars -- and makes wines
    Scott Pruett drives race cars -- and makes wines

    Scott Pruett is the defending champion in the TUDOR United SportsCar Series Race on Saturday in Long Beach. He’s also a wine producer, and the wines from Pruett Vineyard have won scores in the high 90s from Wine Spectator. And he's only been making wine for a few years. 

  • Six wines to pick up for dinner at Albertsons
    Six wines to pick up for dinner at Albertsons

    Short on time and grabbing a bottle of wine at the supermarket is your only option?  Finding an interesting bottle can be tough, but there are some tucked in with the ordinary. Supermarkets deal in wines as beverage — predictable, mostly the entry level wines, produced in quantity, from well-known brands. Forget...

  • 13 great places for food lovers in Beverly Hills
    13 great places for food lovers in Beverly Hills

    Beverly Drive south of Wilshire Boulevard can still feel like the small town Beverly Hills once was, where locals get their coffee and their nails done. Above Wilshire, in what’s called the Golden Triangle, Rodeo Drive and nearby streets lined with global fashion brands' lavish shops embody the...

  • What Clare Vivier is drinking: No surprise, it's French
    What Clare Vivier is drinking: No surprise, it's French

    Clare Vivier, the designer behind Clare V, with shops in Silver Lake, West Hollywood, Santa Monica and Manhattan, says she’s partial to Loire Valley wines -- and always reds. 

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