Located near the beach on the trendy Main Street strip in Santa Monica, Areal is the perfect destination to gather for an exceptional meal. A few weeks ago I attended SoCal Blogger Society Spring Fling Brunch hosted at the restaurant and immediately fell in love. From house-made Belgian waffles, to eggs benadict with lox, to bacon and maple infused whiskey cocktails, every single thing I tasted was great. I knew I had to go back for more.
My next visit was for dinner, and once again I was beyond pleased. Before I even get to the food, I have to mention the service. Everyone is super friendly. Our server, Matthew, even remembered me and my guest from the brunch we had attended. That's really impressive!
To start, I had the tuna tartare. It was quite good and refreshing. The tuna was tasty and the avocado was a nice touch. I liked that this dish was light so I could still enjoy my dinner without filling up beforehand.
To drink, I selected the Saints Crossing which is made of gin, basil, cucumber, elderflower, lime, and creme de violette. You can probably guess from those ingredients that it is a crisp concoction. I love a good gin drink and was in cocktail heaven.
For my main course I decided on the gnocchi. Although listed as a starter, the portion is perfect for a meal, especially since these Italian dumplings are always on the heavier side. Areal's version of the dish features pancetta which adds a nice salty crunch. It was so good that I couldn't stop eating and ignored my stomach even though it was getting pretty full.
Despite the fact I was pleasantly stuffed from previous courses, I just couldn't pass on the creme brulee and macchiato. Such a good decision! The espresso was served traditionally, strong and delicious and complemented the sweet, decadent brulee which was cooked to perfection with a delightful contrast of smooth custard and hard caramel top.
In addition to serving a plethora of wonderful food and beverage choices, Areal's ambiance is quite cozy. Decorative lighting, lush landscape surrounding the establishment, and blankets at each patio table make for a comfortable setting. The crowd is a nice mix of young, hip patrons and charming older couples who seemed to be enjoying date nights. There's a little of something for everyone at Areal.
If you live in the Santa Monica area or are planning a trip to LA, be sure to add Areal to your must-try list. The combination of delicious food, great service, and inviting atmosphere make for a wonderful dining experience. I highly recommend this restaurant!
2820 Main Street
Santa Monica, CA 90405
Parking is metered behind the restaurant in a lot and valet is also offered for $4 with validation.