Skip to main content

What's New in Santa Monica? Copa d'Oro

The big news in Santa Monica hasn't happened yet. Santa Monica Place, the southern most anchor to the Third Street Promenade, won't reopen until the end of the year.

Before it closed, the mall had been overshadowed by the success of the Promenade's mile long shopping and entertainment corridor. The mall's decline had impacted the businesses along Broadway. The sidewalks always seemed littered. The restaurants, bars, and stores had a run-down, abandoned feeling.

When Santa Monica Place reopens, the area will be reinvigorated as the mall celebrates its proximity to the beach. What was once a closed box monolith will have been transformed into an elegant, open air plaza.

Looking to that future, Jonathan Chu who already has Buddha's Belly on the block, opened an intimate bar, Copa d'Oro (217 Broadway, Santa Monica, CA 90401; 310/576-3030) across the street from Macy's (soon to be replaced by Bloomingdale's).

The food at the bar is simplicity itself, a short list of panini. The drinks are something else entirely. Vincenzo Marianella, a bartender who has mastered the classics and innovates like a master of improvisation, is the star attraction. Taking his cue from the well-known Santa Monica Farmers' Markets, Marianella relies on what's fresh, seasonal, and local. Spread along the bar is an array of vegetables and fruits more likely to be seen in Alice Waters' kitchen.

You can order from the bar menu or ask for a drink featuring any of the fruits, herbs, or vegetables displayed on the bar: strawberries, grapefruit, passion fruit, apples, pear, grape, orange, kiwi, papaya, mango, apple, lemons, mint, rosemary, basil, sage, thyme, parsley, bell pepper, cucumber, carrot, habenero, wasabi, ginger...

Pick your spirit and what comes back is uniquely blended for you. Never too sweet, the mixology at Copa d'Oro brings out the best in the ingredients.

Sitting at the bar, listening to the laughter and easy conversations around me, I enjoy a tall iced glass of passion fruit, Aperol, and vodka and imagine how nice it will be when Santa Monica Place reopens.

Comments

Tom said…
Oh sweet! It's nice that it's opening up again, I never got a chance to visit! Hey, while I'm over there, do you know if there are any travel guide services? I'd like to make the most of my experience in Santa Monica.

Popular posts from this blog

A Video Walk-Through in Tsukiji Fish Market: Fighting To Save Tokyo’s Culinary Heritage

The video tour of Tsukiji found below is also on my YouTube Channel: Secrets of Restaurant Chefs.

Located in central Tokyo, Tsukiji (pronounced "skee gee") is the largest fish market in the world with separate wholesale and retail areas. Besides being the source for most of the fresh fish served in Tokyo’s sushi bars and restaurants, Tsukiji is the best food court imaginable. On a recent trip to the market, like everyone else on the crowded sidewalk, I had come to see what wonderful ready-to-eat dishes were for sale. I didn’t know what I wanted, but I knew I would find something delicious at one of the closet-sized stalls. In those tiny spaces, chefs stand close to customers as they prepare sushi and sashimi with freshly caught ingredients. Fat oysters steam in shinny stainless steel pots. Thick braids of smoke rise up from scallops and crabs cooking on blazingly hot grills. Tempura vegetables and shrimp sizzle in hot oil before arriving crisp and tender on a paper plate. Ram…

The Los Angeles Food & Wine Festival 2016 - Up Close and Personal with Chefs, Winemakers and Mixologists at the Lexus Grand Tasting

You may have heard of the Los Angeles Food & Wine Festival but you might not have attended. The Festival celebrated food and wine in venues in and around Los Angeles for four days, August 25-28.
In its sixth year, the Festival expanded to the West Side with events at the Fairmont Hotel in Santa Monica and the Barker Hanger at the Santa Monica Airport.
If you have attended Barney’s twice-annual sale at the Barker, you know the cavernous space. A football field sized interior without character was transformed for the Festival. Off-white fabric was draped along the walls, giving the warehouse the feeling of a very large, very elegant tent.
Because the venue was sponsored by Lexus, there were half a dozen beautifully polished cars outside and inside the hanger.
People were dressed like people always dress in LA. Casual, very casual and red carpet premiere chic.

Local chefs from the Los Angeles area were joined by chefs from as far away as Miami to celebrate the Festival. Walking from…

Farm-to-Table Finds a Home in Spokane and Northern Idaho

Heading inland from Seattle, a city he knows well, our foodie adventurer, David Latt, explores Spokane and Eastern Idaho in search of restaurants that fly the flag of the farm-to-table movement. 


Like fashion, food delights the soul but is often subject to hype. "Organic," "Natural" and "Low Fat" have been co-opted by marketing campaigns, obscuring the true intent of the words.
When we think of "farm-to-table," we imagine a farmer driving a beat up 1980's Ford pick-up to the back door of a neighborhood restaurant and unloading wooden crates filled to overflowing with leafy bunches of arugula, round and firm beets, thick stalks of celery, fat leeks, freshly laid eggs, plump chickens, freshly cured bacon, ripe apples, dark red cherries and juicy peaches.

The high quality product inspires the chef who quickly writes the menu for that day's meals. 


In the ideal, a farm-to-table meal reconnects diners with the seasons and the land. Such a meal de…