Ranked #21 in the nation for its pizza and one of the top restaurants in Los Angeles, I was lucky enough to get to try Gjelina while I was staying with my friend in Santa Monica this week. Gjelina is a darklit modern ‘Venice style’ restaurant located on Abbot Kinney Boulevard. Not only do they offer tables for reservation – including a great garden patio and bar service, but for people like me who didn’t even think to make reservations, they offer community tables for walk-ins – about 20 seats total. We got there right about 6 pm, so we didn’t have any trouble getting a table, but the closer you get to 730/8, the longer the wait in the small, cozy restaurant. Since there were three of us (which I always recommend three or more people when you want to really experience being a foodie), we got to spoil ourselves with a variety of different plates. We started with a variety of oysters, kale salad with radishes, ricotta and breadcrumbs, sweet potatoes paired with a jalapeno yogurt, salt and pepper frites, and wood roasted sunchokes. The kale salad and sunchokes were incredible and I highly recommend them.
After our long list of starters, we ordered meatballs, the mushroom pizza with fontina and goat cheese and the raved about lamb sausage pizza. I actually liked the mushroom pizza a lot more and would definitely head back again for more pizza and sunchokes!
Overall, great service, amazing ambiance (check out the wheel to turn on the water in the bathroom), and incredible food. I’ve never been much of a California foodie, but this place proved me wrong!