Gjelina Restaurant Venice CA

Gjelina Restaurant In Venice, CA Defines Refined Rusticity By Simon Lewis, Food Critic & Professional Chef. In a city where farmers can feel like a relic of the past, Gjelina shines as the definition of refined rusticity. Chef Travis Lett has established a relationship with some of the best purveyors throughout Southern California in order to provide the highest quality ingredients and allow them to speak for themselves. The menu is made up of a variety of small plates including charcuterie and cheese platters, larger portioned “Plates” such as pastas and steak, and wood fired pizzas. Sitting on the back patio is delightful no matter the time of year.

Gjelina Restaurant Venice CA
Gjelina Restaurant Venice CA

Twinkling lights and space heaters turn even the crispest beach side evening into a comfortable oasis. The open kitchen allows glimpses into the fast-paced environment accentuated by upbeat, although at times distractingly loud, music. The trip through the dining room reveals a portrait of LA’s diverse community, from fedora-clad hipsters sharing stories over microbrew beers to neighborhood business owners grabbing a pizza with their kids. The menu, like the food, is simply presented. Grilled radichhio is dressed with reduced balsamic vinegar, olive oil and sea salt, a simple solution to counteract the inherent bitterness of the raddichio. A ‘Small Plate’ of braised pork belly offers a healthy portion of meltingly tender meat seared to a crisp accompanied by creamy yellow polenta and sauteed mustard greens.

The sauce, thick and rich, has hints of apple cider and pork and will leave you asking for extra servings of bread. A strict “no substitutions” policy earned the restaurant headlines throughout the foody blogosphere last June when Victoria Beckham’s request to alter a menu item was refused by Chef Lett. Be aware that what is printed on the menu will be what you get; you will not be disappointed. Gjelina is nestled in the cozy Abbot Kinney Boulevard neighborhood of Venice. A Friday night reservation was met with easy, close-by parking. Reservations are recommended, however there are always tables reserved for walk-in guests. (Gjelina — 1429 Abbot Kinney Boulevard — Venice, CA 90291 — (310) 450-1429 — Monday – Friday 11:30am- Midnight — Saturday – Sunday 9:00am-Midnight — www.gjelina.com)

By Jean Strauber

Entertainment Writer

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