I'm behind. On many things. So I was excited to knock a couple things off the list with one swing this week. First, there's so many great Los Angeles restaurants opening that I can't keep up. Not a bad problem, right? It could be worse. I'm also behind on Game of Thrones. No spoiler alerts please! How I managed to not know about the Red Wedding while watching 2 years later is perhaps a note that I should step outside more, or maybe not. So my friend Aimee and I finally decided on a Game of Thrones marathon watching session since we realized that winter isn't in fact coming to LA so we'd just have to close the drapes and watch. And of course we were going to need much sustenance to get us through all the guts and gore. That's where new restaurant Gjusta came in.
It's sort of embarrassing that's Gjusta has been opened since last November and I'm just now getting there. It's in walking distance from my place AND, Bon Appetit just put it in the plum spot of number two best new restaurant in the country. Sheesh. What have I been doing? Not watching Game of Thrones!
You can't call Gjusta a restaurant, but not sure another name fits. It's part bakery, rotisserie, deli, coffee counter, pizzeria and general cool place to hang. Though you can't really hang here. There's no waiters or waitresses. You take a number and wait while perusing the many tiered glass displays, while planning your breakfast, lunch and dinner for the next week. Many people get their food to go, but there is also now a back patio with picnic tables if you want to eat there with your dog by your side.
Gjusta comes from Travis Lett, the Gj....god of Gjelina and Gjelina Takeaway/GTA. Lett is dominating the hipster food scene in Venice. There's currently no signage outside Gjusta and you could walk right past it, along with the homeless community nearby. Once you step in though, you're transported, and slightly overwhelmed.
You could get tripped up in the bakery alone, with the huge fresh loaves on display along with croissants, focaccia and sweet treats. If you want to grab a bagel, there's a myriad of smoked fish, lox, sardines and cheese toppings. We went with a baguette that we deemed much too big for our viewing needs, but one scoop into the walnut garlic beet spread, and we couldn't be stopped.
The next set of counters down from the bakery is the cold fish section with sardines, smoked salmon, spiced octopus and pickled herring. One note, is to get there on the earlier side if you have a favorite item because we were down to 2 lone pieces of herring when we arrived, but of course we made our server scoop every last bit of it out and we were so happy with the sweet dill medley.
Then there's the prepared salads where you'll find combinations of beans, vegetables, lettuces and unique greens. Below are pizzas by the slice or you can order a whole one for yourself.
Behind the counters you'll see chicken spinning on the rotisserie and smoked meats, roast turkey and brisket at the ready. Of course there are soups and sandwiches, and even pot pies.
So don't come too hungry or you will leave with most of what's left in Gjusta's deli counters, and a decent size bill to boot. Unique, freshly prepared ingredients served in a hip environment doesn't come cheap, but plan accordingly for a few choice meals or a killer picnic. And don't tell me what happens to Jon Snow. I'm still catching up!
320 Sunset Ave., Venice