fantastic phenomenal food, flat place, famous service, nice meal, fantastic views, great wine, rather cold environment
Santa Monica's Ocean & Vine dives into mouth-watering flavor.
With a new chef, menu and look, I decided to check out Ocean & Vine for myself. Since it has been surprisingly warm in Santa Monica, I decided to take my dinner to the outdoor patio Ocean & Vine offers, which has six fireplace-seating areas and an amazing view of the Santa Monica Pier. My husband and I treated ourselves to both dishes from the ocean and the garden. I started with the Carlsbad Agua Hedionda Lagoon Oysters, which came with chipotle cocktail, horseradish and cilantro pesto sauces. The oysters were fresh and tasty, and also scored in presentation as mist rose up from the oysters as they sat before me. My husband, who is a lifetime vegetarian, chose sushi to start from the "Sushi at Sunset" sushi bar that opened last fall as part of the restaurant. He got a tasty Farmers' Market roll that was wrapped in cucumber and had carrot-infused rice, avocado, asparagus, and roasted peppers inside. Gaut also mentioned to us not to miss out on the "6 at the Beach" happy hour where you can try out certain sushi rolls, wines, cocktails and sake for $6 each from 5 to 8pm every day.
Next, we indulged on our main courses. I went with my ocean theme of Caramelized Mano de Leon Sea Scallops with Yukon gold whipped potatoes, poached asparagus and browned-butter caper sauce. The scallops were cooked perfectly with a quick sear on top, so that the outside had a crisp, golden brown crust and the inside was succulent and tender. My husband got a vegetarian option of Gold Coast Portobello and Ravioli, which had grilled-garlic and rosemary-marinated mushrooms on top of broccolini goat cheese raviolis. He made a lot of "Mmm" noises, so I'm assuming he liked them. We were also pleasantly surprised to see a vegan dish on the menu - Vegan Tomato Fettuccini in a parsnip roast garlic sauce. My husband is already planning a next time since he found out they also serve lunch and breakfast too. We glanced at the breakfast menu, which had favorites like omelettes, buttermilk and blueberry pancakes, French toast and waffles. But, they also showcase a unique twist on breakfast with items like the breakfast pannini, Farmers' Market quiche, huevos rancheros and machaca, which is shredded beef, scrambled eggs, onions, peppers, breakfast potatoes and warm flour tortillas.
As our forks hit the plates, one of us decided we weren't yet full enough and decided I wanted to try the Makin’ Whoopie dessert. Some might know it as a moon pie or a whoopie pie, but I now know it as "yummy chocolate goodness." They bring out three red velvet cakes for you to dress up with marshmallow, chocolate mousse or Dulce de Leche - or you can spread on all three at once as I did. It was a great way to end a great meal. Both my husband and I enjoyed not only the food, but also the service and atmosphere. Ocean & Vine isn't just for the weary travelers who need a place to eat, but instead a great local spot to unwind and have some amazing food. My husband and I will definitely be back for brunch, dinner, happy hour, or even just a glass of wine as we sit by the fire on those comfy couches while we look out at the sunset.
Don't expect too much.... This is no 4 or 5 star restaurant. This is not a chef-inspired menu. Atmosphere did not work. Staff was nice, but not true professionals. Space had potential, but not pulled together by a real designer. I'm too tired to be funny right now, but I know I need to get famous for my reviews. This is a fair and honest review with no grudges. One Pico was a fabulous restaurant with fantastic views and phenomenal food. Boa was a great restaurant with a well-informed server. Ocean & Vine did not live up to either of those.
A Fall from Grace. Where does one begin? This restaurant was one of my favorite date places in all of Los Angeles. The service was personal and attentive, the food was elegant and worth the price tag, and the cocktails were inventive and note-worthy. Somehow in the past few years, the place fell flat on its face like a drunk chick on 5-inch heels. On the return visit, Ocean and Vine managed to drop from my top 5 down to "oh sweet Jesus never again." The service is better at Denny's at 3AM while "Marge" still has the fragrance of cheap whiskey and a cigarette that is dangerously close to your grand slam. The food tasted like the leftovers from an overpriced wedding with its familiar equation of rubbery protein plus vegetable medley equals matrimonial meal. The only redeeming quality to Ocean and Vine is the view of the Santa Monica Pier. However, there are plenty of cheap Douchey restaurants with spectacular views.
Million-dollar revamp at the Loews Santa Monica combines fireside vignettes, boutique wines and ocean panoramas..
The popular beach hotel has gone high-concept with a wine-focused bar and restaurant overlooking a dazzling beach view. The spacious wood, glass and tile room features an oversized fire pit and plush, circular couches. Miniature patio fire pits frame a view of the twinkling Santa Monica Pier. Small plates offer seared tuna, seasonal soups and grilled calamari. Entrees include a Muscovy duck breast and dry-aged rack of lamb.
totally misleading, total disappointment.
Living and hanging out primarily on the east side of LA (ie: los feliz) I decided I wanted to try something different. I wanted to find a really nice restaurant with an ocean view... somewhere either in Santa Monica or Malibu. When I came across the very good reviews for Ocean & Vine - and after checking out their beautiful website - I thought I had found the perfect place...... boy was I surprised!
Here's the thing: Although Ocean & Vine is by no means a terrible place to spend a couple of hours, I felt soooo mislead by all of the reviews and pictures. What I thought was going to be a dark & cozy yet clean & modern setting on the ocean - full of romantic candlelit tables and nooks and a huge selection of great wine - turned out to be a rather cold, poorly designed and almost sterile environment! YES, there is that big lovely fire pit in the middle of the room.... but it is so bright in there it really seems like a complete waste.
When you walk into the restaurant from the hotel, you barely notice the difference. It really feels as though you are dining IN the hotel lobby. The gorgeous location/ space is completely wasted. The glaring lights prevent you from even seeing the ocean, despite the huge windows. The bar was not set up well to display any of the wines they claim to have and the service was quite slow (albeit friendly). None of the tables were really set up to be in any way comfy or romantic. It felt much more like eating in a cafeteria than a lovely ocean hideaway. The service was alright, but in no way as professional as I was expecting.
And just so you know where I am coming from, I am in my late 20's and have worked in the service industry for about a decade. I am a PT bartender and have been for the past 3 years. I am not quick to judge harshly or throw a fit when it comes to dining out. BUT, I was SO DISAPPOINTED that i felt compelled to write this review to prevent others from expecting too much.
I chose this place for a 2nd date, BIG MISTAKE!
Great atmosphere, very good service, the food has good days and bad days. I've eaten at Ocean and Vine several times now as it is a convenient walk from work. Lunch has always been excellent. Sit on the patio and enjoy the beachy view. The sandwiches are delicious and you can enjoy a nice meal for $15 a person. The restaurant is also a great spot for drinks. The bartenders mix a good cocktail, though my favorite thing is to sit outside in a comfy chair by the fire pits while drinking one of their many red wines by the glass. My first dinner at Ocean and Vine was fabulous. Unfortunately, others have varied. One meal, the entire table ended up with overcooked fish. However, their poultry and steaks seem to be reliable enough. When everything goes right in the kitchen, it is truly a wonderful dining experience. I've had a couple longer waits for a hostess but never a complaint about a server. They have all been exceptionally friendly and helpful. I would not hesitate to recommend Ocean and Vine for a nice time out for drinks and desserts with friends or for a nice lunch. I hate to have to hesitate about recommending dinner but sometimes dishes aren't up to par while on other occasions everything is fabulous. Pricing is what it is. It's not cheap, but also not any more overpriced than comparable places. There are some more reasonably priced wines by the glass and menu items, which is always nice to see and especially with lunch, you?re getting what you paid for.
Indoor and Outdoor Fireplaces Galore.
I LOVE FIRE. That said we decided to try this out. Our reservation specified seating near the fireplace. We arrived to disorganized reception, who informed us that they could not accomodate us as promised, however we could wait for an available opening. Happily we resumed at the amazing bar, with friendly bar staff who makes a mean martini. I love the countertops of the bar and the tall glass vases with bamboo. We were there on a friday. Beware, friday nights are fondue nights and the place stinks of cheese. It was so objectionable, that we took our drinks outside and sat around our own firepit. There are many outside. There was a large group enjoying the evening down aways, but it didn't interfere with our intimate secluded experience. We waited outside for almost an hour, enjoying the evening and almost forgetting why we came here in the first place. It appears as though perhaps we were forgotten about, and quickly they seated us at the indoor fireplace. The food was fantastic. The service was famous. They felt so bad about our wait, that they brought us a complimentary platter of desserts. I thought they wanted us to pick 1, but they gave us 5!!! 3000 calories OMG. So we sampled all the desserts and most were out of this world!!! We took the rest home and had another chocolate affair the following day. After we ate, we sat on the comfortable radiused array of couches that surround the fireplace. This fireplace is HEAVEN. It doesn't get any better. A buffed concrete cyllinder with glass chips in the center that cast a magical glow. I could have stayed all night! We closed the place down. Not a soul around. Just love it. Parking is a bit expensive.
Cost us $17. But treat yourself to a night out, this restaurant is at the Loews Hotel on the Beach, overlooking the Santa Monica Pier and views of the ferris wheel. Can't wait to go back with some friends.....xoxo Fran
A lovely lunch and a correction. I was concerned that we wouldn't be seated outside as there's only limited patio seating and we had a 1pm reservation. (The City Search review describes this restaurant as a "busy power lunch spot".) When we arrived at the restaurant it was almost totally deserted (which we loved: no noise, no wait) - there were only three other tables occupied. We sat outside and enjoyed a wonderful view of the Santa Monica pier and a truly delicious meal. Per our waiter, the restaurant will have some busy days at lunch when an entire group staying at the hotel shows up to eat, but most days the restaurant does light to moderate business. Also, the valet parking is not free with validation - it's $3.50. (Not a big deal, but nice to know.) Overall a lovely place for lunch on a sunny day.
Typical hotel restaurant. If you're looking for something beyond your typical large corporate hotel restaurant this isn't it. The food is merely average. You won't taste anything new or exciting here, just standard, non-offensive fare. Like most hotel restaurants, they try to give the impression of a fine dining experience without putting in the effort. The result is bland food, mediocre ambiance, and something akin to a 3 star Denny's. Of course they charge fine dining prices. There are plenty of fantastic restaurants in Los Angeles to choose from, so there is little point in choosing a hotel restaurant... unless you are in on business and don't have time to leave your hotel.
A cool place to enjoy great food and wine. A friend invited me to dinner here last week and I really enjoyed myself. The views are great looking at the beach and pier. the food is served in interesting ways, some things I haven't experienced before as they serve them. We started with the hawaiian tuna, mussels, artichoke sampler. delicious and fun to share. Then i had the filet, excellent, perhaps the best I've had. My friends ordered the pork chop and shrimp, both fabulous. For dessert we shared the chocolate trio and smores with port and nivole, a sweet wine that my girlfreind loved. The waiter was very helpful explaining the wine pairings, food presentation and the concept behind the place which serves mostly organic, seasonal foods matched with wines that are from small production vineyards, many i've never heard of! I have a new place to show off to friends and visitors right on the beach.
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