Westside Dining Scene August 20-26, 2020
By Kerry Slater
Great White cafe in Venice has expanded its menu and dinner hours while also expanding its footprint by taking over a former Subway located next door. Learn more in the latest Westside Food Scene
New Restaurant Opens in Former Spitfire Grill Space
A restaurant called The Cloverfield has opened in the former space occupied by longtime Santa Monica staple Spitfire Grill across from the Santa Monica Airport. As reported by Eater LA, The Cloverfield–specializing in thin-crust pizza, housemade pastas, burgers, craft beer and cocktails–boasts Tallula’s Mary Thompson as general manager and Alfred Salvatierra running the kitchen. The owner is Sean Martin who owns a bar in London called the Pregnant Man. The Spitfire Grill closed last December after 30 years serving hungry Santa Monica diners.
Venice’s Great White Takes Over Subway Space
Great White cafe, located on Pacific Avenue, has expanded its menu and dinner hours while also expanding its footprint by taking over a former Subway located next door. According to their website, dinner hours are from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. and feature shared plates, sustainably sourced fish and chips, chili prawn pasta and wood-fired-oven pizzas. In addition, the restaurant’s site touts a new natural wine program with offerings made by small and independent producers.
Bruce Marder’s Brentwood Restaurant and Lounge Shifts to Mexican Cuisine
Renown Los Angeles restaurateur Bruce Marder’s Brentwood Restaurant and Lounge at 148 Barrington Avenue has reopened under a new name serving “elevated” Mexican food. “Brentwood Restaurant is still a Bruce Marder restaurant, but we’ve reopened as Baja Norte!” reads a post on Facebook. Sidewalk dining or take out at Baja Norte is available Tuesday – Sunday from 5 p.m. – 10 p.m. Marder, a restaurateur since 1972, opened Venice’s West Beach Café in 1972 and is currently operating Capo and Cora’s Coffee Shoppe–both in Santa Monica–in addition to Baja Norte.
Beloved Sawtelle Coffee Shop Closes
Beloved Sawtelle craft coffee shop Balconi Coffee Company has closed after a decade of serving Westsiders. Located at 11301 Olympic Boulevard #124, Balconi was known for using a siphon to brew their coffee in a quaint and cozy shop. According to a notice posted on its door and website, the last day of service was July 31. “Dear friends, thank you all for your support over the last 10 years and especially during this unprecedented global event. Unfortunately, we will be closing the business,” reads the notice. “We stayed in operation and navigated through the challenging months. We definitely believe things will get back to normal but not before getting a little harder. So the very difficult decision was made to shut down for now and keep everybody safe and try again in 2021 at some other location.”
Culver City Tex-Mex Restaurant Closes
Popular downtown Culver City Tex-Mex restaurant Amacita is closed for the foreseeable future. The restaurant-helmed by chef Josef Centeno of Baco Mercat and Orsa & Winston–had its last day of service last Friday but indicated that the closure is only temporary. “We’re figuring out ways to adapt while the months ahead are still uncertain. We’ll miss all of you, our Culver City neighbors, but it isn’t goodbye,” the restaurant wrote in an Instagram post.
Popular Pacific Palisades Eatery No Longer
Taste–a popular Pacific Palisades Californian cuisine eatery–has closed according to food blog Toddrickallen.com. The restaurant, located at 538 Palisades Drive, has “disappeared from Pacific Palisades”, the blog reports. It is unclear if Taste–which also has a shuttered location on Melrose–will reopen, as the restaurant could not be reached for more information. We have been told by a reader via email, however, that “at least 2 parties wanted to buy the [Pacific Palisasdes] location but were unable to reach an agreement with the landlord.”