• Restaurant Recommendation: Fia Opens its Doors in Santa Monica

    FROM THE Fall 2019 ISSUE

    An acclaimed chef is cooking at a new indoor-outdoor spot.

Cheers to a new contender for the prettiest restaurant patio in Santa Monica: Fia. The 300-seat indoor-outdoor space features a multilevel patio, lush with ferns, native palms and flowers, vintage tables and chairs, and restored French doors. An outdoor bocce ball court tells you this a social destination not just a place to grab and go. The menu is inspired by Italy’s Amalfi Coast with “refined rustic dishes” from Chef Brendan Collins (formerly of acclaimed LA restaurants that include Birch, Waterloo & City and Melisse). There’s a fresh daily selection of raw bar and crudo items, hand-cut pastas like capellini with lobster Bolognese, seasonal local vegetables and grilled seafood and meat, including a seven-day beef shank served with pomegranate molasses. There are several options for private dining, both indoor and out, for up to 25 guests.

Green salad, chicken, two veggies and a starch—that might have been a reasonable meal to serve group attendees in the last century, but it won’t cut it in 2020. Today, guests expect that a growing range of dietary needs will be accommodated, whether they’re eating keto, vegan, paleo, gluten free or some combination of all four. And, in a time when tech employees enjoy gourmet in-house commissaries on the job, it takes some serious culinary pyrotechnics to impress them.


Lots of folks claim to be adventurous eaters, but are the epicureans in your group ready for … toasted grasshoppers? If they are, send them to Cultura Comidas y Bebida, a year-old Carmel restaurant specializing in light, inventive and almost-too-pretty-to-eat traditional Mexican dishes tweaked to appeal to a California palate. Chapulines, a common bar snack in Mexico City and the southern state of Oaxaca, from where they’re imported, are salty/spicy/crunchy and taste a lot better than they sound.


Come for the view and the fine dining fare at this Redondo Beach restaurant. Stay in the hotel for luxe guest rooms and exceptional events.