Right in the heart of Santa Monica, directly in front of the illuminated and iconic Santa Monica Pier sign…lies a hidden gem or, what we’d like to call a hidden hotspot that will tantalize your tastebuds. Mon Ami is LA’s best and brand new Mediterranean restaurant with a culinary and aesthetic experience like no other. This place is such an escape and is so hidden that it’s become one of the go-to places for our favorite stars, celebs and “it girls”. Kendall Jenner ring any bells? Yup, she recently brought her entire 818 Tequila team for the brands namesake holiday, 8.18. But aside from the cool girl appeal, Mon Ami’s curated selection of dishes will make you feel like you’ve been immersed into the Mediterranean’s best locales and we can’t wait to tell you why. Mon Ami is located at 1541 Ocean Ave, Santa Monica, CA 90401, and it will absolutely charm your dinner date or dinner group, but for us, it was the most perfect setting to celebrate the editors in our current creative feature, LA Media’s New Wave Power List.
Walking up to Mon Ami, you’re met with a neon pink sign and high textured walls. A tease for what’s to come inside. Pro-Tip: The restaurant is located behind Red-O Cantina, through a little alley between other restaurants. Luckily there are signs outside directing you to the restaurant. Plus there is a parking structure right next to it for ease.
The charming dimly lit ambiance blends contemporary design and coastal elements inside and out. Outdoors several lounge spaces and dining tables are nestled under pink fringed canopies. But, you can still feel the fresh air from the ocean. As you walk inside you’ll see their expansive bar with a variety of spirits on hand to concoct your favorite mixed drink. The dining room is a mix of wood and wicker furniture and comfy couches for those seeking a casual, relaxed vibe. You’ll also notice a DJ setup right in the middle of the dining room, which means the nights come alive at this place.
In fact, Mon Ami is planning a full out bash on NYE. Doors open at 8pm, and the glamorous white cocktail party features champagne, bottle service and lots of dancing to Top 40’s from the 80’s and 90’s. Makes sense, since the hospitality group who owns Mon Ami-Pacific Coast Hospitality Group – are also behind the popular Canary nightclub in Downtown Santa Monica. Owner of PCH Group , Nas Negahban, who grew up in Santa Monica and spent a lot of time in the Mediterranean region, has said he wants Mon Ami to feel like someone “…has escaped to a place off the coast of the sea with its aesthetics, music, cocktails and menu.”
Mon Ami offers both dinner and brunch menus. Brunch solely for the weekends. The variety of culinary dishes are infused with spices and inspired spirits from several countries located on or by the Mediterranean Sea such as Spain, Greece, Italy, France, Morocco, & many more. A lot of Mon Ami’s food is also curated and selected from the local Santa Monica Farmers Market and we’ve got to say that this is some of the best Mediterranean in LA.
We kicked off dinner with a few Mezze Platters, which included delicious dips like hummus and whipped feta and complimented by pita breads, fresh veggies, prosciutto wrapped tomatoes and Potato Zeppoles ( highly recommend this for big groups). We also had a few Greek Salads on the table which is a staple for any Mediterranean restaurant in which you really cant go wrong ordering it.
Our main courses included Mon Ami’s signature Lobster alla Catalana Pasta. This pasta was perfection! The photos speak for themselves. It had a saffron tomato sauce with chives and breadcrumbs, yum! Another favorite was the 7 Spice Chicken which was amazingly flavorful and the Mediterranean Branzino, a seabass, with castelvetrano olives tapenade and was cooked beautifully. For our LA vegetarians out there, Mon Ami also has a Butternut Squash dish that is decorated with toasted pine nuts, goat cheese and Fresno chiles for a little kick. Our Editors also had the pleasure of getting a visit from head Chef Daniel Ulrich, who gave us a brief history on the restaurant and told us the intent behind the space, which is all about “…good food, good drinks, and good music.”
Can’t forget about dessert! We were excited to see Loukoumades on the menu. They are classic Greek donuts. If you have never had them, you must try them here. They were paired with chantilly cream and raspberry jam on the side. There was also a delicious strawberry sorbet which was not overly tart but just the right amount of sweetness.
Mon Ami offers an impressive drink menu with flavorful, inventive cocktails that will sometimes rotate throughout the year. But their signatures are ones to look out for. We tried theLa Gondola – which is their spin on a classic margarita, but yummier. There is a drink called Count Camillo, which is a smoky euro-inspired cocktail that is made with Mezcal, Amaro Ramazzotti, and Salers Aperitif. We also recommend the Formentera. It is their take on our fav – the Espresso Martini – but has roasted coconut and is made with tequila. Their wine list is extensive and features both California and international options, which pair perfectly with Mon Ami’s Mediterranean cuisine. They’ve also just launched their new Happy Hour Menu! On Tuesday-Friday, from 5-7 pm, fans and newcomers can wind down the day or kick off the night with five Mediterranean dishes and five $11 craft cocktails, like steak frites, hummus & flatbread, and a watermelon basil margarita.
Be sure to book Mon Ami on RESY for your next dinner gathering or event (they even have a closed curtain diner space at the end of the dining room) and follow this Mediterranean restaurant in LA here on IG. For an an even better look inside our dinner at Mon Ami, check out the gallery below. Plus, cozy up on the couch and learn more about the editors in our LA Media’s New Wave Power List.