After I dined at Local Kitchen and Wine Bar, I searched the internet for their web address to include in this post. Not remembering the exact name, I googled Local restaurant Santa Monica, Local restaurant Ocean Park, Local Restaurant, and well, I got all the best local restaurants in the area. Best local spot for pizza, best local wine bar and best local Santa Monica restaurant. And I guess all of those searches are pretty accurate when describing the new restaurant on Ocean Park Boulevard. Local Kitchen and Wine Bar is a good local spot for a neighborhood that has been sorely lacking in restaurants.
Local comes from the owners behind the one other good food spot on Ocean Park Boulevard, Thyme Cafe & Market. Thyme has great salads and prepared food, but it's more of a takeout spot than a dine in restaurant. Owner Maire Byrne took it to the next level with Local by bringing in locally sourced ingredients for a casual dining experience.
There is a pizza oven where you can grab a seat at the bar and watch the action. Or you can take a seat at the beautiful cocktail bar and enjoy some small bites. You also have the option of dining on the heated outdoor patio or inside at a booth or high top table. There were families and friends gathered in each section the night I was there.
The menu is just what you want at your local restaurant. There's some comfort food like fresh made pizzas with house sausage or truffle and mushroom, and there's also several pasta options to choose from like swiss chard and squash in sage brown butter sauce, and pappardelle in prosciutto and veal bolognese.
Of course a new restaurant can't open without small plates so you'll find some soups, salads, a must-have lamb meatball dish with a pretty array of bright cauliflower, pine nuts and pecorino gremolata.
Monterey calamari is well cooked and served with a tangy caper, preserved lemon relish with thinly sliced radish for crunch.
I appreciated simpler fare like sauteed tuscan kale, but it was lacking flavor or just a little seasoning, which is better than being over dressed - an easy problem to fix.
You can also dig into something a little meatier like a New York strip or chicken under a brick with a balsamic-chile glaze. There's also lighter options like a pan seared white fish with a potato citrus salad.
Local Kitchen and Wine Bar is just that. It's a great neighborhood spot to pop in for a small plate or a pizza and a nice glass of wine. The neighborhood has needed something like this, and judging by the crowds when I ate there, it's happy Local has arrived.
Local Kitchen & Wine Bar
1736 Ocean Park Boulevard, Santa Monica