The g is silent. Don't be like me and pronounce it GUH-jel-ina. Weird name pronunciations aside, I had heard of Gjelina many times through various food blogs, but never had an opportunity to make it out to the area. When my high school friend Cynthia wanted a meet up, I immediately suggested it, though she had to drive out from Temple City to Venice. It's a far drive, but the girl loves food, so she was down for the journey.
The restaurant is famous (or is it infamous) for a hard "no substitution/modification" rule. So much, that when Gordon Ramsey and Victoria Beckham dined there, they refused to either take out the smoked trout off a salad or put the dressing on the side for her. I forget which. But I do remember that she was eight months preggo at the time, so maybe it was the trout and she was worried the smoked fish would harm the unborn baby? In any case, Gordon Ramsey was livid that they would deny "Lady Victoria" her request. Is it unreasonable for the chef to keep his dishes intact, not modifying the way he had conceptualized them?
grilled peach, burrata, proscuitto, arugula, balsamic
miatake mushroom toast, crème fraiche, truffle oil
braised pork meatballs, tomato, grilled bread
wood roasted cauliflower, garlic, chili, vinegar
butterscotch pot de crème, salted caramel, crème fraiche
Lookit those big delicious flakes of salt on the pudding - I'm such a sucker for any sort of salted caramel/chocolate desserts. There were so many more items I wanted to try! Though Cynthia and I are both good eaters, we were surprisingly full off these few dishes. Maybe they were a bit heavy with butter/oil? But it didn't taste like it. Do you know butter has 113% of your daily allotement of Vitamin A? If you eat one cup of it, that is. Hey, vitamin A is essential so you don't go blind!
It was a little hard to get reservations even one week out, but they have a communal table that is first come first serve. If there's too much of a wait time, they also have Gjelina Next Door, which is a to-go shop. Or just wander around Abbot Kinney and go to Intelligentsia or The Tasting Kitchen (which I heard is fabulous, but have yet to try).
1429 Abbot Kinney Blvd, Venice, CA 90291