We visited family in Orange County, California, last year, who so kindly allowed us to take their maroon minivan to Mexico and back. Not all the way to Mexico. Just San Diego. But still, pretty close.
We toured all of LA’s most famous nooks and crannies, including Venice Beach, known for rollerskating drug addicts on the Boardwalk, for sure, but also home to some of the most charming neighborhoods, delicious eateries and hippest boutiques, all piled up on one of the best streets in California – Abbott Kinney.
A friend recommended we stroll into Gjelina and for this I shall be forever in his debt. The place was ‘oh-so-cool’ in a way that SoCal should be. I don’t want my LA restaurant to seem like the ones back home, I want it to be posh and in vogue with an atmosphere that is both relaxed and on edge. I want to admire cool fashions and find out what the next big craze to hit menus is going to be while sipping on infused organic teas and listening to the latest soon-to-be-a-big-star singer on the speakers.
Gjelina did not dissapoint. Stylish and popular, this small eatery has become a go-to for many celebrities while still remaining the neighborhood joint. Wooden furnishings and walls convey a masculine tone while an open airy feel and live plants bring a touch of femininity to the place.
Although Gjelina is known mostly for its pizzas, the entire menu is delectable.
We sat outside on the ceiling-less patio and shared briny and beautiful Kushi oysters (which I’d never seen before and I’ve eaten A LOT of different kinds of oysters) and pizza that was so perfectly thin and crispy that I still dream about it a year later.
The service was truly friendly and relaxed and helpful, and the outdoor seating was gorgeous. My only complaint was that the seats seemed very close together. I wasn’t sure if Johnny and I were alone or if we had stumbled onto a double date, one in which our eating companions were also not quite certain of. But, I’d happily brave an awkward duo for another bite of that pizza.
If you are in the Venice Beach area then do find a spot to park the car, preferably close to Abbott Kinney, and walk around for a few hours. There are uber-cute boutiques and shops filled with unique treasures like blown glass aeriums (an air terrarium) and handmade furnishings. Walk the neighborhoods behind Abbott Kinney to see some amazingly adorable homes as well as some impressive high end real estate. See the canals. See the beach. Eat the food.
PS – you should check out Gjelina’s website. It’s really fun. They’ve made an interactive game out of choosing a page.