The Full Skinny On Bar Monette, Downtown Santa Monica’s Newest “Refined Tapas” Spot

Remember a few weeks ago when I told you about a new restaurant landing in the old Red Ruby space at 109 Santa Monica Blvd?  At the time, I had little information about Bar Monette except that it would be a pizza and wine bar. Since then, the good people over at Bar Monette were kind enough to reach out to me with more information.   Bar Monette is described as a “Neapolitan pizza concept” with Chef Sean MacDonald at the helm.  This is his first US restaurant.  Chef MacDonald was previously chef/owner of Biga Pies and ēst Restaurant in Toronto, which recently made Canada’s 100 Best Restaurants List.  (Incidentally, Bar Monette is named after MacDonald’s wife Monette.)  Expect a “refined tapas” and wine bar menu with Spanish/Italian influences.  I’ll let them describe the menu themselves:

“The menu will be split into five categories; Pizza (eg Pesto Dungeness Crab, Pine Nut, Basil, Aged Cheese)Piccoli Piatti (small plates designed to pair with the pizza eg. Butterleaf with Basil, Pine Nut and Passionfruit)Sugo (a selection of sauces and dips for the crusts (eg Burnt Romanesco and Jalapeño Tonnato) and a small selection of Addizionale (eg Shaved Truffle and Caviar). Desserts will be changed daily depending on seasonality and chef preference (eg Black Cacao, Reishi Mushroom and Mint). The menu will change seasonally and offer vegan and vegetarian options. The drinks menu will offer unique selection of natural wines and beers alongside a water menu highlighting a choice of carbonation level and mineral content.” 

They are planning on opening any day now, pending liquor license approval.  Bar Monette will be open for walk-ins only from Noon to Midnight, closed Sundays, and will be cashless.  We wish them the best of luck.

Lucky Tocoshi Now Serving Sushi Tacos In Century City

There’s an intriguing new option in the Food Court of the Westfield Century City Shopping CenterLucky Tacoshi is now open and in full swing, serving “Asian Fusion” sushi tacos made with seaweed shells.  Also on the menu are chicken karage tacos, various skewers, snacks, and desserts.  But you can see for yourself here.

Wrapstar Replacing Make Out In Culver City

A very sharp-eyed reader spotted a banner hanging over the former Make Out spot at 9426 Washington Blvd, behind The Culver Hotel.  The banner lets us know that Wrapstar is setting up housekeeping at this address.  Wrapstar has a location in Beverly Hills and offers a menu of fast/casual “signature and build-your-own wraps” and salads.  They are also opening another location at 8593 Santa Monica Blvd. in West Hollywood.

(Thanks Andrew!)

Hokey Pokey LA Bringing “Cloud Bowls” To Century City

It was only just two months ago when I told you about the disappearance of short-lived pudding concept Pudu Pudu from their second-floor location in the Westfield Century City Shopping Center.  Now, if you’re a regular reader of this site, you know I keep a close eye on the food scene in the shopping center.   So, it took me by surprise that a new confectionary spot is already up and running in Pudu‘s old location.  Hokey Pokey LA is now open and pushing “cloud bowls”.  And what are those?  Cloud bowls, which the window display claims are “New Zealand’s favorite dessert”, are soft-served ice cream (dairy and non-dairy) with pavlova (meringue), berries, and whipped cream.  We wish them the best of luck.

Kye’s Quits Montana Ave, Opening In Colony And Venice’s New Colony

Kye’s opened at 1518 Montana Ave. in November of 2014 and has maintained a solid fanbase ever since.  Their signature “KyeRito” (essentially a wrap that they describe as a “handheld bowl or salad”) was popular among the carb-conscious crowds of NoMa.  So I was quite surprised when readers began messaging me to let me know that Kye’s has closed at this location.  But don’t panic, they are moving the operation to West LA’s “smart kitchen” Colony at 11419 Santa Monica Blvd.  Their website also says that they will be opening in a new Colony at 411 Lincoln in Venice as well.

(Thanks Casey!)

True Food Kitchen Increasing Longevity In Century City Soon

It appears that the Westfield Century City Shopping Center is getting a healthy new dining option.  True Food Kitchen is moving into the ground floor space at the back of the mall and most recently occupied by The Crack Shack.  With locations across the US, TFK offers a healthy menu based on the principles of natural health guru Dr. Andrew Weil and designed to increase longevity.

Bar Monette Bringing Pizza And Wine To Downtown Santa Monica

It looks like something new is coming to 109 Santa Monica Blvd. in Downtown Santa Monica, formerly home to Little Ruby.  Construction is underway, and there is a small piece of paper taped to a front window that exposes the new eatery as Bar Monette.  There’s not much information out there on Bar Monette, just an under-construction website that lists the new establishment as a pizzeria & wine bar.  The website says they are aiming for a January 2023 opening.

Pudu Pudu Done Pushing Pudding In Century City And Everywhere Else In LA…

I must confess, I never entirely understood the concept of Pudu Pudu, the pudding specialists brought to you by German megabrand Dr. Oetker.  Apparently, I wasn’t alone.  After opening only in February of this year, they have thrown in the towel at their second-floor location inside the Westfield Century City Shopping Center.  And that’s not all.  They have closed all of their LA locations, as indicated by this sad good-bye notice on their website.

Ardi’s Organics Now Open In Century City

If you follow this blog, you know that I watch the food scene in the Westfield Century City Shopping Center very carefully. So you can imagine my surprise that without warning, a new eatery popped up overnight in the Food Court.  Ardi’sOrganics is now open and is self-described as, “environmentally conscious, organic fast food made to order”.  They offer a focused menu of burgers and “frys” (veg and nonveg), bowls, breakfast, and a rather tempting-looking “turkey nugg”.

Impasta Expanding To Downtown Santa Monica

With one location in Beverly Hills, it appears that the “no regretti spaghetti” folks at Impasta are expanding their operation westward.  There’s window paper up at 413 Santa Monica Blvd. announcing the impending arrival.  You may recall that this particular block was nearly destroyed in May of 2020, but has been slowly reviving with the arrival of Blue Bottle, MIXT, and now ImpastaImpasta offers a menu designed for low-carb and gluten-free diets with items such as “classic pasta and pizza recipes made with zero to low carb noodle options, cauliflower crusts”, and no red meat.

Truxton’s Quits Santa Monica

I’ve been hearing from startled readers that Truxton’s American Bistro has unceremoniously disappeared from the corner spot at 14th and Santa Monica Blvd in Santa Monica.  Truxton’s opened this location in 2013, and was a solid neighborhood lifeline on an otherwise desolate stretch of Santa Monica Blvd.  It was able to survive The Pandemic with take-away and outdoor seating, so it’s a bit shocking that it pulled up stakes so abruptly.  It appears that the Westchester and Torrance locations remain open.

Please Enjoy Coffee Bar Coming To Santa Monica?

Originally I reported that the small space at 3008 Santa Monica Blvd. was going to be something called Kohi Cafe.  That never happened.  Then it was going to be a Japanese-themed lounge/cafe named Kissaten Coffee/Wine Cafe.  That never developed either.  Now a new sign is promising us Please Enjoy Coffee Bar.  Construction is well underway so it shouldn’t be long now to find out exactly what is going on…

Update: Eater has more on this story here.  

Mixt Coming To Downtown Santa Monica

You may recall the corner spot at Fourth and Santa Monica Blvd. from the nightly news after an arsonist torched the place in May of 2020.  Back then, it was the home to Sake House by Hikari which decided not to return to the location at 401 Santa Monica Blvd.  The space had been undergoing renovation since then, and now window paper lets us know the new occupant: MIXTMIXT has locations throughout California and in Scottsdale and Dallas. They offer a menu of chef-crafted salads, market plates, sandwiches, and bowls, as well as a “design your own” concept featuring “whole, honest, pure foods”.

Ample Hills Creamery Coming To Beverly Hills?

Beverly Hills lost its branch of international gelato brand Amorino during the Pandemic.  Now it looks like another icy treat company is moving to the space at 9605 Santa Monica Blvd.  The address was recently rented, but no signs have appeared.  There is, however, a small legal notice taped to the front door.  It lists the new tenant at Ample Hills Sub LLC, the company behind Ample Hills CreameryAmple Hills make their ice cream from scratch in their Brooklyn “plant” where they actually pasteurize their own dairy and bake their own mix-ins.  They have locations in New York, New Jersey, and in Long Beach CA.

Note: I do not yet have confirmation on this story.

Shake Shack Comes To Beverly Hills

For a while now, I’ve been watching the former home of Panini Kabob Grill at 9601 N Santa Monica Blvd.  Construction has been fierce since the Mediterranean eatery closed its doors during the Pandemic, but there was no signage to indicate what was replacing it.  Recently a now hiring banner went up on the front that lets us know that this will be a branch of the ever-popular chain Shake Shack, which as you know, began life around 22 years ago as a pet project of legendary New York restaurateur Danny Meyer and has ever since embarked on an inexorable march toward world domination fueled mostly by the cultish devotion of fans.

Bok Bok Mediterranean Flies The Coop In Century City

The Westfield Century City Shopping Center continues to hemorrhage eateries.  A reader (Thanks Jerry!) reached out to let me know that Bok Bok Mediterranean has disappeared from the food court.  Bok Bok only opened back in 2020.  This leaves another conspicuous hole in the sputtering food court.

Forty Carrots Now In Century City

If you’ve been missing Forty Carrots‘ peanut butter yogurt you’re in luck.  There hasn’t been an outpost on the Westside of the Bloomingdale’s house brand since the store closed in Santa Monica.  But there is now an location on the third floor of the Bloomindale’s in The Westfield Century City Shopping Center.  Expect a menu of frozen yogurt, sandwiches, and salads.

Cha Cha Matcha Dances Into Century City

Compartes Chocolates closed down fairly early into the Pandemic, leaving their first floor Westfield Century City Shopping Center location vacant for months.  But a new tenant is on the way.  A reader (Thanks M!) wrote to tell me that this will soon be a branch of Cha Cha MatchaCCM currently has two other LA locations and four NYC outposts and “specializes in all things matcha” using only ceremonial-grade powder from Uji, Japan.  Looks like they’re shooting for a Spring opening.

Brique French Toastery Comes To Century City

While no one was looking, a new confectionary spot has arrived to the Westfield Century City Shopping Center.  Almost overnight, Brique French Toastery has appeared on the ground floor, directly underneath Del Frisco’s.  And what is that?  Their menu appears to be singular: “Rock Toast” which is thick cut brioche French toast topped with proprietary peanut butter coconut maple syrup, toasted coconut chips, and vanilla whipped cream.  If they’re not open by the time you read this, they will be very soon…

Kaido Closes In Westwood

Kaido Japanese Cuisine has had a difficult time of it.  They were forced to relocate to 1049 Gayley in Westwood when their original location in a strip mall in Santa Monica was cleared to make room for another big development.  And now, sadly, it appears they are done at their current location.  There’s a large “available” sign on the front announcing the news.