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

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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, …