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Venice: Fine Dining and Gourmet Culinary Experiences


Possibly one of the most charming communities in all of Los Angeles, Venice is famous for its canals, gorgeous beaches, and iconic boardwalk. It’s also become a top attraction for those who want to shop and experience some of the best dining in the country. Though there are plenty of places where you can grab a quick, satisfying bite, many gravitate toward this area for the fine dining. Whether you want to celebrate a special occasion or just indulge your inner foodie, here are some of the best luxury restaurants in Venice.

Coucou

Located on the edge of where Venice meets Santa Monica, Coucou is a French bistro with a charming vibe. Just a few blocks from the ocean, Coucou is the ideal place for a casual yet refined dining experience. Inspired by the classic bars in France, Coucou celebrates its home country's aperitif and artisanal cocktail culture with selections like the Aperol Spritz, Perfect Martini, and White Negroni. Coucou also has an excellent selection of low-intervention wine. If you’re here for the authentic French cuisine, you’ll be treated to a curated choice of starters like steak tartare, fried olives, and wood-fired prawn cocktail, and main entrees including mussels mariniere and steak frites.

Felix Trattoria

Latin for “lucky”, Felix Trattoria will certainly make you feel fortunate if you get a chance to experience its delicious food and chic, elegant atmosphere. Upon entering, you’ll enjoy watching the talented staff make pasta right before your eyes while dining on dishes rooted in regional Italian cuisine and enhanced by locally grown ingredients. Start with a selection from the antipasti menu — the squash blossoms with Bellwether Farms ricotta is a favorite — and sip on a glass of wine while perusing the dinner menu. You may have difficulty choosing between the pizzas, pasta selections, and main entrees like prime ribeye cap and whole grilled sea bass.

Gjelina

A staple on Venice’s Abbot Kinney Boulevard since it opened in 2008, Gjelina features a menu constantly developing based on the owners’ collaboration with local ranchers, farmers, fishermen, and co-ops. Named after the founder’s mother, Gjelina continues to expand and grow with the community, opening its own bakery, flower shop, takeaway counter, and grocery store. While visiting all of their locations — including their restaurant in New York — is highly recommended, you should start with a meal at their Venice location. Though it’s open for breakfast, brunch, lunch, and dinner, Gjelina provides the most upscale culinary experience in the evening. Your perfect meal may start with raw oysters or a finely crafted charcuterie before progressing to a dandelion salad or mixed mushroom pizza and culminating in saffron spaghetti, wood-roasted prawns, or crispy duck confit.

Paloma

There’s nothing like the experience of dining on the bougainvillea-lined patio at Mediterranean favorite Paloma. Though you can certainly grab a light breakfast or lunch at Paloma, you need to experience the locale’s gorgeous atmosphere and delicious dinner menu to truly have the ultimate experience. Depending on the weather, you may opt for the patio featuring a retractable roof, the sumptuous indoor seating with velveteen banquettes, or the alfresco deck framed by lush greens and featuring a corner fire pit.

The menu is a unique mixture of Greek, Italian, and French cuisine. If you’re unsure what that looks like, think octopus salad, pesto gnocchi, seabass livornese, tuna tartare, and skirt steak with soy honey sauce, fried leeks, and parsley. Complete your dinner with a Keo Greek lager, a lychee martini, or a glass or bottle of wine from Paloma’s curated list.

Wabi on Rose

You know you’ll have a wonderful experience when your chosen restaurant describes its fare as “sushi-elevated”. Wabi on Rose not only offers delectable sushi and other Japanese fare but also has a beautiful outdoor seating area lined with fresh, vibrant flowers perfect for pictures.

Wabi on Rose is popular and for a good reason. The executive chef, Thailand-born Rain Pantana, is one of the best sushi chefs in Southern California and boasts an impressive corporate management background. And with dishes like spicy wagyu dumplings, Rain’s Sashimi Garden, and Shawty Fried Rice to choose from, you really can’t go wrong. If you want the whole experience, book a reservation to try the Omakase, a specialty tasting experience rooted in authentic Japanese culture.

Make it a complete experience with a specialty drink like the She-So Sour, created with Japanese whisky, lime, organic honey, lemon, egg whites, 24 gold, and passion fruit, or the Japanese Bull, made with watermelon Red Bull, lemon, Cointreau, and Shochu, and finish it all off with some orange ricotta doughnut holes or a chocolate chunk cookie.

The Rose Venice

The Rose Venice is a culinary hotspot that’s been captivating discerning diners since 1979. This iconic SoCal establishment masterfully marries casual Venice vibes with an exquisite dining experience, making it an essential stop for locals and well-traveled gourmands alike.

Their appetizer selection effortlessly sets the tone for a transcendent meal with out-of-this-world flavors. Choices like the refined spicy tuna tartare or the sumptuous whipped eggplant not only tantalize the palate but also encapsulate California's bounty. For entrées, you can’t go wrong with the grilled whole fish or the slow-cooked lamb sandwich, both promising a sublime gastronomic journey in every bite.

Of course, no luxurious dining escapade at The Rose Venice would be complete without indulging in their decadent desserts. The rich chocolate mousse and the zesty meyer lemon pie are but two examples of their confectionary prowess, each ensuring a memorable finale. To enhance your dining experience, grab a cocktail. Elegantly crafted and beautifully presented, they embody Venice's upscale yet relaxed ethos.

Whether you live in the area or are just coming to visit, make time in your schedule to eat at some of the best luxury restaurants in Venice. From Japanese to traditional steak and everything in between, Venice has a restaurant to satisfy even the most discerning of palates.

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