Rustic Canyon Wine Bar & Seasonal Kitchen

Restaurants, Californian Santa Monica
Recommended
4 out of 5 stars
4 out of 5 stars
(1user review)
 (Photograph: Courtesy Rustic Canyon/Rick Poon)
1/10
Photograph: Courtesy Rustic Canyon/Rick PoonPeas and pecorino at Rustic Canyon
 (Photograph: Courtesy Rustic Canyon/Rick Poon)
2/10
Photograph: Courtesy Rustic Canyon/Rick PoonWhite yams at Rustic Canyon
 (Photograph: Jakob N. Layman)
3/10
Photograph: Jakob N. LaymanRustic Canyon
 (Photograph: Courtesy Rustic Canyon/Rick Poon)
4/10
Photograph: Courtesy Rustic Canyon/Rick PoonBeets and berries at Rustic Canyon
 (Photograph: Emily Hart Roth)
5/10
Photograph: Emily Hart RothRoasted chicken at Rustic Canyon
 (Photograph: Jakob N. Layman)
6/10
Photograph: Jakob N. LaymanRustic Canyon
 (Photograph: Emily Hart Roth)
7/10
Photograph: Emily Hart Roth Grilled homemade morcilla with peas and fava bean pesto at Rustic Canyon
 (Photograph: Jakob N. Layman)
8/10
Photograph: Jakob N. LaymanRustic Canyon
 (Photograph: Emily Hart Roth)
9/10
Photograph: Emily Hart RothWeiser's pee wee potatoes at Rustic Canyon
 (Photograph: Emily Hart Roth)
10/10
Photograph: Emily Hart RothCrispy beggars purse with beet greens, raisins, mint and pine nut pudding at Rustic Canyon

Rustic Canyon, Santa Monica's unpretentious neighborhood favorite for over half a decade is flexing its cooking muscle in all the right ways and is now the best it’s ever been. With the onset of new chef Jeremy Fox (he, of Napa’s famed vegetarian Ubuntu), Rustic Canyon channels an inspired new edge without straying too far from its hyper-seasonal roots.

The seasonally changing menu of high quality, farmers market bounty sees new additions such as pozole. Fox himself wasn't sure anyone would order this traditional Mexican stew, but, in fact, it is the one dish not to miss. Wonderfully light, green garlic and cilantro broth is brightened with citrus that highlights clams, mussels, hominy and fresh beans, while crispy fried tortilla sticks add texture and absorb the liquid gold.

For those that love a sweet and salty tango, the lavender sugar and sea salt almonds ($7) are a great way to begin a meal as is Fox’s version of the ubiquitous kale salad, sweetened with slices of chewy Zahidi dates and tossed with toasted almonds, lemon and Parmesan. Halibut, one of the handful of larger plates on offer, celebrates the season with fresh favas and peas in a richly flavored kohlrabi broth.

There’s not much to be said about the restaurant’s simple dining room, whose minimalist, wood outfitting hasn’t much changed over the years. And service is friendly as always.

 

Vitals

What to eat: Focus on other small plates to share such as clam and mussel pozole which is not to be missed. Desserts are equally strong and change on the regular some of the best around. Try the mini banana cream pie ($10)—not overly sweet, it's served in a thick oat crust that's filled with butterscotch, banana cream and topped with sliced caramelized banana slices and vanilla bean-flecked whipped cream on the side.

What to drink: The selection of boutique local and international wines by the glass, bottle, half bottle and craft beer is top notch as are the cocktails. The new cocktail program designed by Chris Hewes—he cut his teeth working with lauded barman Matthew Biancaniello, formerly of the Library Bar—also showcase the seasons. For spring, try the Corazon de Fresas ($15), which calls for mescal, lime, basil and Gaviota-grown strawberries.

Where to sit: For a quick meal, grab a seat in the lounge; otherwise, reserve a booth in the dining room far enough in advance.

By: Olive Ashmore

Posted:

Venue name: Rustic Canyon Wine Bar & Seasonal Kitchen
Contact:
Address: 1119 Wilshire Blvd
Los Angeles
90401
Opening hours: Sun-Thu 5:30-10:30pm; Fri, Sat 5:30-11:30pm
Do you own this business?
Static map showing venue location

Average User Rating

4 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:0
  • 4 star:1
  • 3 star:0
  • 2 star:0
  • 1 star:0
LiveReviews|1
1 person listening
moderator

Rustic Canyon is my ideal date night spot on the Westside, where you can come for an excellent glass of wine or a full-on meal. It's dark and sexy, but unlike a lot of similar spots, the music isn't so loud that you can't hear your dinner partner. I really loved the bartender's choice cocktail I had on my last visit, along with a steak and cauliflower puree.