Slowing down and enjoying your food the Mediterranean way is the idea behind Vivel Crepes & Coffee, a Western European restaurant that features an all-day breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert menu at two locations in Lakeway and Bee Cave.

Meet the chef

Owner and Executive Chef Ali Bendella has been in the restaurant industry for 25 years. Bendella, who was born in Morocco and has a family of French relatives, started his cooking journey in Houston before moving to Maui where he opened his first crepe shop.

In the years since, Bendella has opened a number of concepts in Texas—a Spanish tapas eatery, a Mexican bistro, and Italian and Western Mediterranean-style restaurants, to name a few.

Bendella opened Vivel Crepes & Coffee in Oaks at Lakeway nine years ago, and opened a second location inside Hill Country Indoor in Bee Cave in May 2022.

On the menu

“Vivel cuisine is a combination of all other cuisines or concepts that I’ve done before,” Bendella said. “It’s a combination of French, Spanish, Italian and Moroccan cuisine.”

The scratch-made kitchen features a Halal menu with vegetarian and gluten-free options, always made with fresh ingredients.

Breakfast items include omelets, breakfast sandwiches and Moroccan breakfast dishes, such as the Sunrise Tajine—Moroccan meatballs, eggs, ricotta cheese and Vivel’s homemade tomato garlic sauce—cooked in a tajine, or a North African earthenware pot, and served in a cast iron skillet with pita bread.

Of course, Vivel also has a variety of sweet and savory crepes, such as the hummus and falafel crepe with feta, olives, arugula, tzatziki and a Mediterranean salsa, or the almondine crepe with almond butter, toasted almonds, bananas and honey.

Also on the menu are pastas, paninis, gourmet burgers, soups and salads, plus coffee, loose leaf teas and smoothies.

Respecting the craft

Bendella said part of the draw of opening Vivel in Lakeway was the building itself, with its large windows and outdoor patio to help emulate the feeling of being in a Mediterranean cafe.

“The [Mediterranean] food culture is a little different from here,” Bendella said. “Here, it’s all about, 'I need my food in five minutes; I need it now.' We need to take time and enjoy our meals in the Mediterranean way, and the Mediterranean way is to enjoy a meal with friends and family over a couple of hours. ... It digests the food well; you get the nutrition part of it. Anything you rush in your life, the payback won’t be good.”