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Somona Wine Garden: A Lovely Addition to Santa Monica

For those of you who have been hiding under a rock for the last 3 weeks, Santa Monica Place has recently opened in Santa Monica to mixed reviews.  I stopped in with @meresqla to the “Dining Deck” and had my first taste of the new mall which has finally been finished after over 2 years in the making.

Somoma Wine Garden and the dining area as a whole is well done.  It its deceiving in that it does not give you the feeling of being in a mall.  The design for this restaurant was extraordinarily well done with its open air feel and sunken living room and bar.  There are built in couches at the stairs that which provide a visually interesting dining perspective and a good energy flow for people dining as well as those just stopping in for a drink.  The aesthetics of the space are very clean with an almost Asian feel, but not overdone.  In a clear attempt to offset this, the interior designer placed Santa Fe inspired throws on each couch that seem just slightly out of place, we get it, it’s not Asian.  Other than that the Garden is lovely and inviting.  The wine glass stems and flute choices are elegant, and Jennifer, the sommelier has interesting additions to the extensive wine menu.

The bar itself which is the centerpiece of the space utilizes long communal benches which are both comfortable and functional.  Above the bar custom burnt logo’d wood pieces hang like mobiles and are reflected in the mirrored glass.  Although their menu is small, Somona Wine Garden offers what you would expect from a wine driven restaurant, charcuterie, small salads and cheese plates and a few signature dishes.  The menu clearly takes advantage of the famers market with a few interesting farm to plate choices.  While I could do without the giant, brightly lit LA Times billboard that provides the backdrop to the entire raised dining area, Somona Wine Garden was calming and inviting.  You will see me there often with a glass in hand.

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