I realize most of my recent posts have focused on the Los Angeles food scene, but this city has started in recent years, to offer some of the most exciting dining experiences in the country. The foodie “in-the-know” will continue to taut the diversity and excellence of New York, Chicago or even Portland, which has become another food mecca on the west coast. However, I am happy and excited to bring to the forefront some of LA’s new and exciting dining experiences.
Gjelina has been on the scene for several years now, the star of Abbot Kinney and one of the few establishments that has survived the high rents and treacherous competition. My relationship with Gjelina has been of a love hate nature. On one hand, their irritating inflexibility in making even the most minor changes to your order comes off as arrogance and and out dated. For example, I asked for my breakfast bacon to be cooked on the crispy side. The server’s response? “The chef prepares the bacon as he sees fit”…. Ok then…. Gjelina’s reputation of taking itself a little too seriously is notorious by now, but the one thing that saves it from total condemnation is the fact that the food is spectacular.
I don’t find it necessary to go over their menu in too much detail since everything is so good… But some of their highlights deserve special mention. As a pizza connoisseur, having lived in Italy for over 25 years, Gjelina’s pizza selections and ingredient combinations are second to none in this city. A couple of my favorites? Guanciale, green olives, Fresno chili and mozzarella – salty, creamy with a touch of spice. Another standout is lamb sausage, confit tomato, rapini, pecorino and asiago – hearty flavors that go perfectly with the thin, slightly burnt and bitter crust.
Breakfast As is superbly represented by dishes such as lemon buckwheat ricotta pancakes with crème fraiche and blueberries. Or if you’re in the mood for eggs (only served runny, no other options available from the kitchen), their crispy sunny eggs, cherry tomato, squash, spinach and chermoula is rich and completely satisfying.
Lunch and dinner are strewn with delightful selections – go to their website at www.gejleina.com and you will see the list of delightful options – a selection for everyone’s special tastes.
Certainly, there are the usual aggravations with this very popular foodie headliner – it’s hard to get in, reservations are limited to large parties only and the wait is always a long one. On the upside, you can kill time by strolling up and down Abbott Kinney, recently voted by Esquire Magazine as the “coolest” street in America. But despite these minor inconveniences, this place is worth waiting for– once you try it you’ll be back for more.
1429 Abbott Kinney Blvd.