“Food should be fresh from the land and sea to create healthy nourishment” -- the philosophy proudly displayed in the menu of one of Santa Monica’s tres chic dining establishments. At Ocean and Vine, the Loews Santa Monica Beach hotel’s signature restaurant, each dish is based on the simplicity of the ingredients that come from the region. What you experience at Ocean and Vine is local varieties of wild seafood and produce straight from the Santa Monica farmers market! Simple and yet so rich and flavorful, Ocean and Vine is truly treat for your body, mind and soul.
The restaurant is gorgeous inside and out – with intoxicating views of the Pacific from almost every table. The ambiance is flushed with dimmed lights and golden hues blazing from the centerpiece fire pit. Comfortable booths and oversized pillows decorate the inside and the outdoor seating offers 6 fire pit vignettes.
The fare is Californian meets contemporary American. Entrees range from $30-50. If you’re more in the mood for a cocktail and hors d'oeuvre, the retro lounge is a hip place to hang.
Ocean and Vine just changed their menu the night we were there so it was a taste testing adventure and a culinary feast of eclectic palate pleasures! While the restaurant is known for their food and wine pairing, we opted for the martinis instead.
The Caramelized Diver Sea Scallops as an appetizer was the beginning of our journey of freshness and flavor. The scallops were served with truffle scented whipped potatoes, poached asparagus and browned butter caper sauce. Sampling of salads included the Heirloom Tomatoes, Buffalo Mozzarella with minus 8 vinegar, olive oil, and yellow tomatoes gazpacho. The freshness of the produce was so apparent, hearty and sweet with a touch of tangy. We loved the Goat Cheese Terrine with roasted beets and truffle vinaigrette. If you’re a cheese lover, especially goat cheese this is your dish. Onto the entrees – I tried the Hawaiian Mero with lobster risotto, pea vines and banana chutney. Not a real fishy flavor, it was tender and flavorful – similar in texture to taste to Sea Bass. The combination of the rich lobster risotto and sweet banana chutney gave the main dish a sweetness of its own.
The description of our next entrée was so unique we had to try it. Our waitress illustrated ‘pillows of pasta that dissolve to the touch’. So naturally, we tried it and it quickly became the table favorite. We savored every bite which did feel like biting into a pillow. But don’t look for pillows anywhere on the menu – it’s the Lobster, Shitake Agnolotti Pasta and it’s not to be missed! Of the turf variety we tried the Grilled Filet Mignon with sweet corn shitake, fricassee, truffle whipped potatoes and tawny port glaze. Again, tender and pungent, full of flavor – there were no misses. The crème de la crème, which for me is always the sweet indulgence that follows an incredible meal, was the Chocolate Trio.
We swarmed over this grouping of warm chocolate cake, Guanaja tart and Manjari brulee. Being the chocolate enthusiast that I am, I discovered that Guanaja is chocolate made of 70% cacao and the Manjari chocolate is a fruity dark chocolate created from a blend of Criollo and Trinitario cocoa beans from Madagascar. A chocolate lovers dream.
The culinary master behind these delectable combinations is executive chef Gregory Foos, a native of Detroit, Michigan who has been with Loews Hotels for over six years. Prior to joining Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel, Foos held various Chef Positions at the Loews Miami Beach Hotel, The Don Cesar Beach Resort and Spa and also assisted with culinary operations at multiple Loews properties. When he's not cooking up scrumptious fare, he can be found running or cycling around the Pacific shore.
Ocean and Vine is a feast for all your senses!
Located at the Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel
1700 Ocean Avenue, Santa Monica, California
For reservations call 310-576-3180
To read my review on Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel - click here