**This is part of My Travel Hats’ Restaurant Week series of select restaurants from around the world**
Go West, young man! We switch over to my former home, where I’ve left my heart. No, not San Francisco, but Santa Monica. Here we visit one of Southern California’s most exquisite restaurants, Joe’s Restaurant, where I spent many a dollar and many an evening, including my 30th birthday (photo, left, Joe’s chocolate gateau goodness). I will admit, I am ripping this from a review I wrote for Not For Tourists – Los Angeles, but only because I think I captured it so well there. (It’s not really plagarism if it’s your own, right?)
Chef Joe Miller has taken fusion cooking to a whole new plateau that few others in LA can reach. His Abbott Kinney location in Venice makes this casually hip French-Californian restaurant a hot spot in a nonpretentious manner, as local Venetians prefer. Securing a table is nearly impossible without a reservation, but the long wait for a walk-in can be filled at the glowing blue bar with a drink from his impressive and extensive wine list. Waiters might bring by not just one, but two amuse-bouches, compliments of the kitchen.
Diners can choose from either a prix-fixe tasting menu or a la carte. Joe’s accents on the very French, with truffles in almost anything (even dessert). The foie gras is mouth-melting, and delicate handling of entrees—with potatoes Anna shaped to resemble fish scales on an actual red snapper filet—illustrates the dedication and high level of detail Joe’s staff puts into its dishes. Many a celebrity has dined here, but the staff—from table host to Joe himself—makes the rounds to every table to give each customer the star treatment.
Address: 1023 Abbott Kinney, Venice, Calif. 90219. 310-399-5811
Dress code: Dressy casual
Price: $27-$30 entree (dinner), $12-$16 (lunch)
Directions: Get in your rental car, pop the address into your GPS, and you’re there! Just kidding. Take Main Street south to Abbott Kinney, then left on Abbott Kinney. Joe’s is on your left. Valet, of course, is available.