11 New and 'Coming Soon' Venice Restaurants
Pono Burger Venice
The Hawaiian burger shop that started in a Quonset hut in Santa Monica is having a moment. Pono Burger, which emphasizes organic, local ingredients on its gourmet burgers, debuted its second location in Venice at the end of June and has a West Hollywood spot on the way. Chef Makani Gerardi sources her ingredients with care (the grass-fed beef comes from Eel River Organic Beef and cheese comes from Andrew’s Cheese Shop in Santa Monica), and her burgers are crafted with an eye towards wow-factor in taste and looks. To try: The ’Alekina from the seasonal menu, which gets a flavor boost from chorizo, chimichurri, and avocado, and its good looks from a sizeable “nest” of sweet potato straws. From the signature menu, the Paniolo is a stunner thanks to a trio of organic buttermilk beer-battered onion rings. Dining is pleasant inside or out, where walls of greenery shield the sidewalk seating from the Rose Avenue hubub. Unlike in Santa Monica where it’s beer and wine only, this location has a cocktail menu, and in addition to a mushroom-based meatless burger there’s a special quinoa burger that might be a play for plant-based folks with a wandering eye.
Pono Burger Venice // 512 Rose Ave., Venice 90291
Shuhari Matcha Café
Matcha is the new black. From lattes to ice cream ... we've even enjoyed matcha in the pizza crust at Osteria Venice West. Now, there's a new café on Abbot Kinney dedicated to the authentic Japanese green tea. Shuhari offers more than 40 handcrafted tea drinks with American tastes in mind, from traditional sencha and gyokuro teas to the not-so-traditional creamy matcha lattes and bubbly sparkling matchas. The café also features an American twist on traditional Japanese grab-and-go food options including “onigirazu,” a twist on the traditional Japanese rice ball, ice cream sundaes featuring Japanese flavors such as matcha, ginger and black sesame as well as a variety of sweets imported from Japan. Want to make your own matcha at home? Shuhari's retail section has all the accoutrement you'll need from kettle to whisk.
Shuhari Matcha Café // 1522 Abbot Kinney Blvd., Venice 90291
Osteria Venice West
Sit-down restaurants with a view of the water and top-notch food are surprisingly few and far between in Venice (see our favorite cheap eats on the boardwalk here), but there’s a new one to add to the list from chef/owner Luigi Fineo, an Italian-born chef with serious chops (he worked at The French Laundry, Bouchon in Beverly Hills, and at La Botte Ristorante in Santa Monica, where he earned a Michelin Star as executive chef). With the opening of Osteria Venice West in April, you can now chow down on composed appetizers like one with grilled octopus, potato, greens, pickled onions and olives; a matcha-crust pizza topped with piles of prosciutto; housemade pastas (if you’re lucky you’ll be there on a night when truffles are available) and fancier mains like bluefin tuna or steak—all while watching the sun set over the ocean with a glass of prosecco in hand. The dining room hasn’t changed much from its previous incarnations as Bobo and Piccolo Venice, but it gets a pop of color from orange walls dotted with colorful artwork, and you can watch the chef and his team in action from the open kitchen in the center of the dining room.
Osteria Venice West // 5 Dudley Ave., Venice 90291
Knuckle & Claw
The most excellent Maine-inspired seafood shack from Silver Lake has expanded to Main Street in Santa Monica, making it that much easier for Westsiders to get quality lobster rolls (mini or full-sized), seafood-stuffed grilled cheese sandwiches, and chowder. It’s a casual spot with a couple of counter stools inside and a backyard with picnic tables. Since seafood doesn’t come cheap, take advantage of the $1 oyster (they’re normally $3) on Thursday from 5 to 10 p.m. To sample the best of the menu, try the White Dog for $25, which gets you a mini lobster roll, mini blue crab roll and mini shrimp roll, plus chips or slaw and a drink.
Knuckle & Claw // 2715 Main St., Santa Monica 90405
Wallflower on Rose has been open since October of 2015, intriguing the neighborhood with its modern Indonesian fare, and it’s recently introduced a weekend brunch menu. Like on Chef Harryson Tobing’s dinner menu, brunch has a strong Southeast Asian flair, with items ranging from an egg sandwich on a biscuit, only this one is made with a panko-crusted crispy egg and sliced charsiu pork, to a black sweet rice porridge (bubur ketan) and bone broth (bak kut teh). There are also some straight-up American breakfast items like grilled steak and eggs. Designed by architect Dustin Miles, it’s a pretty room to dine in (there’s a patio too), with touches like buttery banquette and wood beamed ceiling, along with a rotating exhibit of local art. Although you might want to start with an Equator coffee or a hot tea like white peony or Yunnan black, you’ll want to move on to one of the cocktails that continue with flavors like lemongrass and lychee.
Wallflower Venice // 609 Rose Ave., Venice 90291
Tocaya Organica Venice
Tocaya Organica landed in Venice this spring, bringing with it a menu of fast-casual but organic-when-possible tacos, burritos and other fare. Vegetarians, vegans and the gluten-free are taken care of, and there’s plenty of ways to customize your bowl, wrap, etc. In keeping with the “whole food” ethos the group established at Toca Madera, meat is free of hormones, steroids and antibiotics, and salsas and dressings are made from scratch daily. It’s the kind of Mexican food you can eat right before parading on the Boardwalk in your bikini. The interior is as clean-looking as the food with white subway tiles juxtaposed against plenty of wood for a casual rustic-chic hang just a block from the beach.
Tocaya Organica // 1715 Pacific Ave., Venice 90291
Slurping ramen near the beach was just a dream until Hideki Mochizuki opened Venice Ramen on Washington Boulevard this spring. The chef and restaurateur, who owns several places in Tokyo according to the LA Times, is making his ramen from scratch, including two kinds of noodles, a thinner one for tonkotsu and a thicker one for chuka soba. The hard-boiled egg has been getting attention as it’s a departure from the usual soft-boiled option. There’s gyoza too and it’s also made by hand. Add Venice Ramen into the mix with Charcoal and Leona nearby and this stretch of Washington is starting to look like its own restaurant row.
Venice Ramen // 515 Washington Blvd., Marina del Rey 90292
Felix Coming Soon
Though Venice is still mourning the loss of longtime Joe’s restaurant on Abbot Kinney, the forthcoming opening of Felix (now predicted for fall 2016) by pasta king Evan Funke certainly helps to soften the blow. The restaurant’s menu will likely be in much the same vein as his last place, the now shuttered Bucato in Culver City, so expect more of the delicious handmade pastas that he perfected during an apprenticeship in Bologna with fresh California produce and meats he learned to love at Rustic Canyon. Funke is serious about pasta; he’s promising a temperature-controlled pasta laboratorio within view of the dining public. There will also be a wood-fired oven for pizzas and a Tuscan grill. Restaurant group Gusto 54 is backing the project, and designing the 100-seat space is Wendy Haworth, known for her work on Winsome and Gracias Madre. We imagine that the cocktail menu and wine list won’t disappoint either.
Felix // 1023 Abbot Kinney Blvd., Venice 90291
Night + Market Sahm Coming Soon
Another expansion from whatever’s east of the 405 (kidding!), this from Kris Yenbamroong of the growing Night + Market Thai restaurant mini empire -- there’s one in West Hollywood and Silver Lake. Yenbamroong was most recently named a Best New Chef by Food and Wine, and Jonathan Gold of the L.A. Times is a fan. The opening in the former Siam Best space on Lincoln has been pushed to August, but once it’s unveiled expect dishes like nam khao tod or Thai toasted rice salad and multiple version of larb. It’s food that pairs well with alcohol, and there will be plenty of that too.
Night + Market Sahm // 2533 Lincoln Blvd, Venice 90291
Eggslut Coming Soon
What’s that sound? It’s the intake of air as all of the Westside holds its collective breath for Eggslut to open. Nobody quite knows how they do it, but Eggslut’s breakfast sandwiches can magically cure a hangover, all while reassuring you that everything’s going to be OK (they are cage-free eggs). And then there’s the Slut, a jar of layered breakfast perfection thanks to potato puree, coddled egg, salt and chives and slices of baguette. Though there’s not a firm opening date yet, the crew is aiming for a late summer opening in the former Santino’s space at 1611 Pacific Avenue. The menu will be similar to the one at Grand Central and the new location inside the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas.
Eggslut Venice // 1611 Pacific Ave., Venice 90291
Chez Tex Coming Soon
The forthcoming Chez Tex at 218 Main Street in Venice is shrouded in mystery, but for now we know that, per its basic website, it will be an “all-day eatery” serving “coffee, food and wine.” You can also follow the restaurant’s progress on Instagram. (Its last update on the state of the inside was that the ceiling is up!)
Chez Tex // 218 Main St., Venice 90291