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Gjelina on Abbot Kinney

I'm still trying to understand all the fuss for this place. Yes, great location, great design and ambiance, but decent food and mediocre service. Perhaps the problem with this experience is the occasion of a group celebration. I'm guessing the evening would have been different if venturing to the restaurant with only one other person and expecting nothing more than a casual dinner with a friend and a glass of wine. Unfortunately, I was with a few friends celebrating a birthday...without the traditional hoopla. The outside patio is a bit too casual with very low seating. Three of us sat side-by-side-by-side on a lumpy banquette. A bit too close for comfort for my blood. A few items to note - it's Venice and there's no valet parking. Even in a recession, the popular area is still difficult to find a place to park. - if you run out of your best offering of champagne, have your manager pick up something comparable before you open. - If asked about garlic allergies and the menu, don't tell me that "everything on the menu has garlic." Could someone offer to send the chef out to make some suggestions/alternatives? We ordered quite a bit from the menu. The food was tasty, but a bit too salty. The pork belly was delicious and the flank steak was good. These two were probably the most memorable from the night. Overall, go to Gjelina if you're wanting something low-key...despite it's good appearance, the restaurant is nothing more than a neighborhood spot trying to look better than it is.

Mar 04, 2009
montanezmla in Los Angeles Area