In preparation for a recent visit to Santa Monica and Venice Beach, I asked my Facebook ‘mindhive’ for recommendations and two places came up consistently: Gjelina and Gjusta. I duly booked lunch at the former and made a mental note to visit the latter.
The problem with getting old (or maybe it’s just me), is that I can’t always remember whether I’ve read a book before, eaten at a restaurant in the past, or maybe even met someone! Perhaps it’s time for me to go for memory-testing with a doctor, but hopefully this is just a normal (and bitterly disappointing) fact of aging.
It wasn’t until I walked in the crowded doorway at Gjelina (reservations are a must, and you’d better make them way in advance) that I realized I had been here once before with Monkey, a few years ago. But no matter, as I couldn’t remember any of the details, I would be like a goldfish with its impossibly short memory span, and enjoy the whole experience like it had never happened before.
First of all, we checked the box on one of the most important ingredients of a good meal: great company. Monkey and I met up with a smart, funny friend of mine, who knew a little about the spot, and warned us that NO SUBSTITUTIONS OF ANY KIND would be considered or honored here, but as the menu stated, they would at least be “politely” declined. Okay then.
A row of pretty blankets hanging on a metal rail caught my eye, and I whipped out my camera to take an arty shot. I was immediately informed there would be NO PHOTOGRAPHY OF ANY KIND. Okay then.
I did ask if I could in fact take photographs of my meal, and it is permitted to take snaps of your friends, but not other people (probably some LA type of rule to protect celebrities). I pointed out that the blankets on the wall contained neither people or celebrities, and swiftly took my seat back at the table.
All this aside—and honestly, it was more funny for its outlandishness, than annoying—we enjoyed the most delicious, tasty meal, with flavors amped up to their highest degree due to clever combinations. The Albarino white wine helped it all go down rather smoothly, and sitting in their cozy, rickety brick patio out back, under umbrellas, I have to say, I would have happily spent most of the day here, eating and drinking, had a spa appointment not called.
Suffice to say, enjoy drooling over the photos and get there to experience this for yourself next time you’re in Venice Beach.
To make a reservation at Gjelina you can go to Resy or visit their web site here. Enjoy!