Dexter Filming Locations: Il Bistro Vino (fancy restaurant)


The location: Il Bistro Vino (a fancy restaurant)

Q. What is it supposed to be on the show?

    A. An expensive restaurant.

Q. Where is it supposed to be on the show?

    A. In Miami.

Q. When did we see it on the show?

    A. In Episode 7(of Season 2) - "That Night, A Forest Grew ":

    Lila talks Dexter into having dinner at a fancy restauarant to celebrate her sale of an expensive work of art.

    When they arrive, after dark, the hostess at the desk tells Lila they're booked solid and there are no tables available.

    Lila, a master liar, concocts a story on the spot, claiming to have made a reservation months ago, and spinning a romantic tale about it being she & Dexter's wedding anniversary, even producing a ring and telling the hostess how Dexter surprised her with it on their first date at the restaurant. The hostess believes her, and they are seated.

    Lila congratulates Dexter on overcoming "his addiction", and Dexter begins to believe that he might be able to turn his life around.  They kiss at the table, and the manager of Il Bistro Vino arrives to give them a free bottle of champagne for their "anniversary".

    Dexter notes that she has a way of always getting what she wants (foreshadowing the fact that Lila will go to nightmarish lengths to hold onto Dexter, when he tries to end their relationship).

Q. What is it actually in real life?

    A. A fake set built outside a local seaside hotel - and not in Miami.

Q. Where can I find it in real life?

    A. This scene was shot at the Hotel Maya, at 700 Queensway Drive, in Long Beach.

    Even so, it's hard to recognize the hotel. The restaurant itself isn't real - the producers built a set on location at the hotel, including that large entrance arch and the fountain. Plus, the scene was shot after dark.  The only clues to its location are the lights of downtown Long Beach glowing across the water, and the span of the Queensway Bay Bridge, visible in the background...

    The hotel can be reached either by taking the Long Beach (710) Freeway to it's south end, or from downtown Long Beach by taking the Queensway Bridge across the river.

    That hotel is located right on the water, just southeast of the southwest end of the Queensway Bridge, just north of the Queen Mary. It has a fine view, across the river, of Shoreline Park and the downtown Long Beach skyline.

    They shot several other Season 2 scenes at the Hotel Maya, including the scene where Dexter & Lila have drinks at a sunny, poolside cafe, a scene where Debra & Lundy stroll & talk, and a scene that is supposed to be outside the police station.

    Just to the south is a small dock that was used for the scene where Doakes shoots a dark-ops agent on a boat.

    And just to the north are the launch ramps where they filmed the crime scene on the rocky breakwater.

    If you plan to visit, be warned that the hotel can be rather difficult to reach. It's basically at the end of the 710 (Long Beach) Freeway, but the main roads leading on and off that dock offer little access to the hotel.  For that, you have to turn off on a small, winding side road known as Queensway Drive.  Be sure to study a map of the area before you go

( I shot the photo below in 2008)

Q. How the heck did you figure out where it was?

    A. This was fairly easy. I had previously identified the Hotel Maya as the location of the poolside cafe.
     Given the Queensway bridge in the background and the buildings (such as Parkers Lighthouse) visible across the bay, it was obvious this was the place.

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