Tara’s Himalayan Cuisine Summits Santa Monica/Brentwood

Ever since we learned that longstanding healthy Mexican purveyor Kayndaves had abandoned their location at 262 26th St., across from the increasingly tony Brentwood Country Mart, I’ve been wondering who would even undertake such an upscale market.  The corner of San Vicente and 26th has proven itself a challenging location as evidenced by the revolving door of restaurants that has attempted the space that most recently held L’Ami.  (The latest gasp of hope, the ABC app that I reported on back in January has since been taken down and I think we’re back to square one.)  But now, one brave contender is giving the Kayndaves space a go…  A banner is up informing us that it will soon be the home of Tara’s Himalayan Cuisine.  With three other locations scattered across the Southland offering Nepali, Tibetan, and Indian food, we wish them the best of  luck.

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What’s Going On At The Old L’Ami Space In Santa Monica?

What’s going on behind those imposing wrought iron gates at 246 26th St. in Santa Monica that used to hide L’Ami, and before that The Little Door, and before that Villetta?  It has sat empty and idle ever since L’Ami disappeared sometime in 2017.  But a carefully tucked away ABC application reveals that there are signs of life.  The app lists the applicant as Operation Success LLC and gives no business name.  A search reveals few clues.  I guess we’ll have to wait and see what develops…

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Villetta Now Closed In Brentwood

It was slow, it was painful, and we all saw it coming:  With stories of a Chapter 11 late last year, the exodus of staff to other Italian restaurants across town, and gossip of no wine inventory, it seemed that Villetta had been doomed for a while.  And now comes the final sad news from a piece of paper propped up in the window that Villetta closed on Friday, June 13th.  Open in the old Chez Mimi space (246 26th St.) since March 2011, everyone was hopeful for a long successful run, but that, however, was not meant to be. All is not lost though, as the paper in the window does seem to hint at a reopening at some point in the future, so we’ll just have to see.  Until then, you can read my original review here.

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The scene on Friday evening…

BricoLA Now Closed On Montana Ave.

After two years of valiantly attempting to peddle artisanal pizza and pasta to the Pilates and yoga set on Montana Ave. in Santa Monica, BricoLA has finally given up the ghost.  Originally conceived by the folks at Villetta in Brentwood, it appears they’ve wasted no time clearing out the space at 1518 Montana.  No word on a replacement, but I’ll keep my eye on it…

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Villetta’s Premier Cocktail Party

Toddrickallen as well as a host of others got a glimpse into the soon to open Villetta in Brentwood.  The invitation-only cocktail party on Thursday evening (March 24th) featured a decidedly Westside crowd of foodies, press, industry players, investors, celebrities like Tom Arnold, and copious amounts of botox, restalyn, and silicon.  After being warmly greeted by Antonio and Gary, the partners behind Villetta, and Suzanne, the PR person, guests were treated to a host of over 22 nibbles, hor d’ouvres, and desserts.  Included among the nibbles were: truffled fondue, fontina, and pea arancine; a raviolini with nettles, borage and creamy walnut sauce; and a bufala ricotta with pistachios and truffle honey, all efficiently served by friendly staff (future wait staff at Villetta) who managed to gracefully bob and dodge through the thickening crowds.  Among the desserts were: olive oil cake with tangerines and candied almonds; cannoli with sheeps milk ricotta, candied oranges and pistachios; and mini sweet wine cupcakes with mascarpone crema, toasted pine nuts and candied fennel seeds.  Champagne, wine and specialty cocktails plied the impressed crowd.  If you recall the old Chez Mimi space, then you know that Villetta does not have a main dining room, but rather a series of small rooms and houses connected by corridors and courtyards.  There is a large main patio with heated concrete, as well as a smaller courtyard and a back patio.  Comfortable cushioned chairs set among the potted citrus trees, fountains, and herbs create quiet corners to enjoy a drink and food.  The rooms are decorated sparcely, with rough wood tables, stucco walls, and mediterranean accents such as bowls of lemons and artichokes, vases of lavender, and potted herbs.   A multitude of fireplaces completes the spell.  The overall feeling is bright and airy, yet cozy and homey:  an invitation to loll about on a sofa, the scent of lemon blossoms in the warm breeze enjoying sunny  Italian flavors.  Villetta promises to be an exciting addition to the LA dining scene.  Although postponed a number of times due to City of Santa Monica restrictions, the opening is set for April 4th, although they didn’t appear to be too confident of that date.  I’ll keep you posted…

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Villetta Update Updated, And Now Updated Again…

I caught up with Antonio from the much anticipated Villetta in the old Chez Mimi space near the corner of 26th and San Vicente in Santa Monica.  The Southern Italian-influenced restaurant which was scheduled to open late last year was delayed due to permit and environmental restrictions from the city of Santa Monica.   Even though the furniture is still in plastic on the patio, all should be ironed out soon.  Look for an opening on April 2nd.  Read more at https://toddrickallen.com/2010/11/24/villetta-brentwood-opening-soon/

Update: I attended the Premier Cocktail Party for Villetta that was held last night, Thursday March 24th.  The projected opening date now stands at April 4th.  But even then they weren’t completely confident they’d make it by then.  I’ll post photos and details of the interior this weekend.  Keep posted…

Latest: We’re looking at April 14th at this point.