At long last the marine layer has subsided, the summer sun has arrived and so have a new range of culinary delights, including several long and eagerly awaited restaurants.
Top of that list for many residents is the second ever location of famed Woodland Hills sushi restaurant Brothers Sushi, which a year after first announcing its new space at 1008 Montana Ave, has finally opened its doors. The menu is designed by Mark Okuda and features both omakase and a la carte options.
An even longer wait is ending for the French-Californian restaurant LouLou, which after first announcing its intent to take over the former Sonoma Wine Garden space on the roof of Santa Monica Place in March 2021, will finally host its grand opening on July 23.
LouLou Santa Monica Restaurant & Lounge seeks to pair the seafood restaurant scene of the French Riviera with the coastal cuisine of California. The rooftop has been redesigned to create a dreamy vacation inspired atmosphere with low seating, candlelit trees, wood furniture and plenty of greenery.
“Ten years ago, my wife Florence and I were traveling to Los Angeles and happened to visit the Santa Monica Place,” said LouLou’s owner Erik Chol. “Eight years later in July 2020, with the yearning for a new project, we had a location scout meeting and the realtor suggested that very location we visited so many years prior. The location with an ocean view, the proximity to the pier and everything about the Santa Monica atmosphere was exactly what we were looking for.”
The restaurant will be open for brunch, lunch, dinner and drinks with a farmers market driven menu. Highlights include grilled octopus with romesco sauce and avocado; galette made with a buckwheat pancake, ham, eggs, and Gruyere; and lobster linguine tossed in garlic, shallots, meyer lemon, basil and cream.
There are also several other exciting dining spots edging close towards opening.
Gourmet NYC mochi ice cream store Mochidoki is opening its first West Coast location at 1133 Montana Ave. Their creative range of flavors include jasmine boba, cake batter, salted caramel, match, lychee, black sesame, and acai cacao crunch.
Sawtelle restaurant and bar Hermanito, which features Mexican dishes with a Japanese inspired twist, will be moving into the former Swingers diner location at 802 Broadway.
Lastly, there are several longtime eateries that have received a recent reimagining.
Formerly known as Rick’s Tavern, the rebranded Tavern on Main, reopened on July 4th weekend. This building is known to many residents as the oldest bar in Santa Monica with its lineage stretching back to the late 1930s when it was called Willie T’s. The newest owners are Addie and Mark Van Gessel and their business partner Lance Sellers.
The trio want to keep the spirit of the Tavern the same with “good food, good pints, good times,” however they have greatly expanded the hours and the menu of the Tavern as they seek to create a real pub feel where people are comfortable to come dine, drink and hang all day long.
“We offer something for everyone: great music, great sports viewing, and a great place to come sit on the sidewalk or by the bay windows and watch the local color as it goes by,” said Addie.
A more upscale rebranding has taken place at the five star Casa del Mar hotel, which has revamped its oceanfront dining space with a fresh menu and even more oceanfront seats. The new Patio del Mar restaurant has a seafood forward menu with a focus on refreshing coastal dishes. Highlights include the heirloom tomato burrata salad, Main lobster roll, Dungeness crab avocado toast, and wagyu burger.
Another change is coming to the 40-year-old local restaurant Thai Dishes, albeit a minor one. This well loved local eatery will be moving up the street in the coming weeks, from 1910 Wilshire Blvd. to 2628 Wilshire Blvd., as their current building is scheduled for demolition.