First impression: If you come across a large crowd loitering on Abbot Kinney, it’s probably in front of Gjelina. It's no wonder: This hot spot seems to top every "best of LA" restaurant list I come across. Waiting for a table is part of the deal here, but at 6:30 on a Tuesday night, we were able to waltz in and be seated right away—score!
The scene: Beautiful people, hipsters, foodies, locals and tourists collide in this small, industrial space that felt surprisingly friendly to me. Maybe it was the communal tables or the fact that my friend Lindsay and I coincidentally wore the same exact outfit to dinner, but the patrons were eager to converse with us (and openly moan with pleasure after taking a bite of food). The back patio looked especially inviting.
The food: Sharable small plates with heavy emphasis on local and seasonal veggies, nontraditional wood-oven pizzas, fresh seafood, American comfort foods with a twist (braised rabbit, anyone?), and super pricey wines.
Order the: Grilled nectarine with burrata, prosciutto and arugula. And please don’t skip dessert: the super creamy Butterscotch Pot de Crème with salted caramel and crème fraiche will knock your socks off.
Why bother? Everyone’s talking about it. Now you can, too.
1429 Abbot Kinney Blvd. | Venice, CA | 310.450.1429