Since moving to LA, I’ve been to Gjelina about four times. And Taylor has been even more than I have. It’s weird: In NYC, upon arrival, I was determined to try every restaurant – old and new. But here, it’s just a little different. When you find something you like, you just stick with it. I like this place so much that I even name dropped it in a recent piece I did for Angeleno Online.
So, when Taylor and I had to do an errand in Venice over the weekend, it seemed like the perfect excuse to hit up our old favorite. We sat at the bar where we were treated like celebs when given a complimentary olive tapenade and burrata starter. Wow. That salty tapenade with the creamy, stringy burrata. What an impact. This actually might be my favorite burrata in the city. I shall inquire where they source next time around.
When we ordered, we decided we had to have our very favorite dish – the cauliflower. Slowly but surely, I am investigating all the ingredients and plan to hone in on a recreation.
Dang. That cauli is good. After a beat, the salt and pepper fries arrived and then the tuna with eggplant caponata followed suit. The French fries were decidedly a portion for a family of six. They came with an underwhelming, runny aoili (some strange West coast version?) and a super yummy, tangy Romanesco sauce, which of course we both favorite to the mystery dip.
Somehow in the course of the evening, we actually managed to power through the majority of the pile. I’ve been known as a fry pusher at times. But to order these was truly a mutual decision. And so was our most substantial dish, the big eye tuna with eggplant caponata. We died! Fat slabs of rare tuna on a mountain of chunky marinated eggplant, red peppers, and pine nuts. A little crema sealed the deal up top.
We purposely saved ample room for dessert – as we known that Gjelina does sweet right. And that they did with the butterscotch pudding topped with whipped cream and salted caramel. It innocently arrived in a teacup, but it was anything but – yeah… we finished it.
All in all, another golden evening at Gjelina. Sure, we had to wait 90 minutes for a table. But it was a First Friday so stores along Abbott Kinney were hopping and we wrangled excellent drinks at the Tasting Kitchen beforehand.