Run, don’t walk to this incredible restaurant on Abbot Kinney Boulevard in Venice, Ca. Ever since its opening two years ago Gjelina has been on my “must visit” list. I did actually attempt to go more than once, but in the beginning it was only open for dinner, and I was always in LA at lunch time. When my friend D. told me that this was her favorite restaurant and that it was indeed open for lunch, I knew it was time to take a drive up to LA.
We got there just as they were opening and this was a good thing, because before too long there wasn’t a space left inside or out on the charming patio. I hear that the inside is really noisy and not the place for an intimate conversation, and the music on the patio is really loud, but once the food comes, you won’t care about anything else!
I kept staring at the menu, being totally indecisive because everything looked that good. In the end, I just let D. decide. She ordered more food than I probably would have, but that turned out to be a good thing-every single morsel was incredible. We started with grilled mission figs with prosciutto, buratta, radicchio and arugula. What can I say-the ingredients speak for themselves. Next out was a pizza (which Gjelina is known for)-shaved asparagus, shallot, sottocenere tartufo cheese and a sunny egg. The crust was perfect-thin and yet the right amount of chewiness and the combination of the toppings made it impossible to stop eating. Yet, I had to save room for the burger (we shared all of these things)-a niman ranch pork burger with grilled radicchio, queso iberico and a mustard aioli. If I were in LA today, I would go back and order this burger again. Even the roll was delectable along with the skinny fries that were served with two dipping sauces.
I thought we were done and then D. told me we absolutely had to have dessert-butterscotch pot de creme with salted caramel and creme fraiche. I took one bite and I was smitten. I thought “why are sharing this?”. With every spoonful I was woefully thinking that we were that much closer to being done. I looked at D. and said that I would come back just to eat this dessert and nothing else. For all of you who have been to Pizzeria Mozza you probably have eaten this dessert (butterscotch budino) there. I will be attempting to recreate this at home and will let you know how it goes.
Go to Gjelina-you owe it to yourself. Just be sure to bring your appetite!
1429 Abbot Kinney Blvd.
Photos courtesy of Yelp.