Here's how a typical visit to Gjelina goes. Drive to Venice. Spend thirty minutes trying to park. Park. Walk to Gjelina. Speak to the hostess and find out there is an hour and a half wait. Debate about whether or not to eat somewhere else...maybe Tasting Kitchen down the street. Remember that Tasting Kitchen kind of sucks. Decide to stick it out and stand on the corner with everyone else waiting for a table at Gjelina. Wonder to myself if the dude next to me is actually real, or if he is an actor playing a struggling Hollywood actor waiting to eat dinner. Decide that he is indeed a real person and then contemplate telling him I am JJ Abrams. Choose not to because he either won't believe me, or will...which would be worse. Finally get my seat inside, usually at the cramped counter seating near the bar. Feel annoyed because my chair is wobbly. Get a drink in me to counteract wobbly chair. Then eat food and decide that all events leading up to the food were unequivocally worth it.
The conclusion you should be drawing from this neat little journal in my mind is that despite all of the really annoying baggage that comes along with a meal at Gjelina, you should go to Gjelina. There aren't many other places in LA or anywhere that satisfy like this restaurant does, and I say that with full knowledge that there are people eating there at this very moment with their sunglasses on inside. The cuisine is what most would probably categorize as "New American," which loosely translates to "has pork chop," but two of our favorite things at Gjelina are a Neapolitan style pizza and gnocchi dish. Go figure. We love this place for brunch, and have had so many good meals here that it's hard to decide what from the massive menu to tackle on each visit. Our suggestion - order much and sit outside if you can. We find the best of the menu to be the things that are served while the sun is still up, and we're also more forgiving about the sunglass thing during those hours. So there's that.
I don't know if you paid attention to the title of this dish, but you shouldn't need me to tell you it's f*cking awesome after an ingredient list like that. It's like French toast for people who French toast is too healthy for. God bless those people and this dish. Available on the brunch menu only.
If this is available, you should get it. It's a delicious combination of squash blossoms (obviously), burrata, cherry tomatoes, and green olive oil. The crust is perfect, and this place does pizza like we do in New York, but with healthy sh*t on it. Neat.
OK so much for the healthy LA sh*t, this pizza with pork jowl and chiles is slammin'. Don't worry, you definitely had egg whites for breakfast. You're good.
Cheese, grilled fruit, and cured meat. Don't look at me. I'm eating.
The best salad at Gjelina, and also maybe at any restaurant within a few hundred miles. This is a must order on every visit.
An incredible sandwich from the lunch menu. The salmon pastrami is light yet punchy like a smack to the face. So good.
A killer from the brunch options, these soft eggs have some fried crispiness to them, and the romesco sauce is excellent. Get them with a side of bacon and then high five yourself for being a genius
These ricotta pancakes are perfect, and we've seen them sell out. Get there early and you'll have a shot.
Vegetarians rejoice, you are alive and eating well. This plate of tender garbanzo beans with other Mediterranean things is real awesome. Meat eaters take notice too.
Mushrooms and truffle oil are a match made in heaven. In related news, so is truffle oil and a pencil eraser. That stuff makes everything taste amazing. Either way, this is one of our favorite pizzas at Gjelina.