Ask Mr. Gold: A Taste of Abbot Kinney

Comments (0)


Wed, Dec 22, 2010 at 11:00 AM
click to enlarge amg225.jpg

Dear Mr. Gold:

I have a group of my best friends flying in from Alabama, and we're all staying in Santa Monica. I never go to the Westside for anything, so I am looking for some dinner recommendations for Friday night. Any cuisine is fine, I would like to take them somewhere a little trendy and scene-y, not terribly expensive and, of course, good food.

--Cara H.

Dear Ms. H.:

Welcome to the land of the ingredient fetish, where even the singles joints tend to have farmers-market inclinations, and where the best bartenders spend as much time haggling over herbs with Romeo Coleman as the best chefs. I could recommend Rustic Canyon for your night out, a wine bar-style restaurant where Evan Funke's market-centered cooking is fresh and delicious, but the place might be a little staid -- on weekends, it tends to attract kind of a once-divorced crowd, if you know what I mean.

You could always go to Gjelina down on Abbot Kinney, which is loud, cheerful, boozy and known for both its extremely good-looking customers (a lot of young actors tend to show up here late) and Travis Lett's decent organic-fetish Italian food, especially the wood-charred pizza. The scene may be slightly too crunchy, but it's Abbot Kinney. People have been saying nice things about the cooking of Jamie Lauren, the new chef at Beechwood down the street, although it may be more of a bar with food than a restaurant.

Do I talk too much about the Tasting Kitchen, also on Abbot Kinney? I do talk too much about the Tasting Kitchen. Because it is a restaurant that can make plain bread and butter seem like the most desirable dish in the world, where they don't serve G&Ts unless somebody remembered to make the tonic water, and where the world's fowl go to die happy, happy deaths. The all-Italian wine list is obscure even by the standards of an area raised on the Terodelgos and Salento Biancos from Wine Expo. But the music is great, lots of hot-buttered soul and West Coast hip-hop; it's lit by more candles than surround all the hot tubs in Venice; and the bar -- stupendous cocktails -- magically expands as midnight approaches.

Related Location

Related Content

Now Trending

  • Deep-Fried Doritos Debut at SoCal Fairs

    Every year, Charlie Boghosian, aka Chicken Charlie, tries to outdo himself with his deep-fried concoctions sold at California fairs. The man began his arterial onslaught modestly several years ago with deep-fried Twinkies and deep-fried Snickers bars. Seeking ever greater challenges, he took on deep-fried Oreos, deep-fried cookie dough, deep-fried Spam,...
  • 10 Best Gluten-Free Pizzas in L.A.

    Pizza is something that invariably inspires heated debate.  Lately, it seems only one other thing invites such passionate argument: gluten. The gluten protein is what gives wheat dough its structure, loft and elasticity.  Which is why trying to find a really good gluten-free pizza has always been like looking for unicorns...
  • Stone Fruit from Trader Joe's, Costco, Sam's Club and Walmart Recalled for Listeria

    Peaches, nectarines, plums and pluots sold at Costco, Trader Joe's, Sam’s Club and Walmart stores are being recalled for potential listeria contamination. The fruit was processed by Wawona Packing Co. at its Cutler, Calif. warehouses between June 1 and July 12. The recall is nationwide, according to the U.S. Food and...


  • Malibu Pier Restaurant and Bar
    Malibu Pier Restaurant and Bar, with chef Jason Fullilove at the helm, is in the two buildings at the pier’s entrance that used to be Beachcomber Cafe and Ruby’s Diner. Those buildings, which have been overhauled completely, reflect both the pier’s 109-year-old history and the cultural import of Malibu itself.
  • The Tasting Menu Trend
    In Los Angeles especially, but increasingly across the country, restaurants are either switching to tasting menus, putting a greater focus on a tasting-menu option (while offering à la carte items as well), or opening as tasting-menu operations from day one. The format that used to be the calling card of only the fanciest of restaurants is becoming ubiquitous, even at places where the waiter calls you “dude” and there isn’t a white tablecloth in sight.
  • Milo's Kitchen: A Treat Truck for Dogs
    Milo's Kitchen, a part of California-based Big Heart Pet Brands, is taking its homestyle dog treats on the road this summer with the "Treat Truck." The dogified food truck is making stops all over the country, ending up in New York early September. The truck stopped at Redondo Beach Dog Park Friday morning entertaining the pups with treats, a photo-booth and play zone. Milo's Kitchen Treat Truck offered samples of the line's six flavors, all with chicken or beef as the first ingredient, and all made in the U.S.A. with no artificial colors or preservatives. All photos by Nanette Gonzales.