Elephante is singlehandedly the best restaurant you can go to in Santa Monica. Here's why:
- It's beyond beautiful. The atmosphere is phenomenal, it's gorgeous, and they have two separate dining rooms. The cactus room is when you first enter, and it's decorated well and looks like you're in Cabo. Then, there's the Sunset room where you have a view of the ocean.
- The drinks are incredible and beautiful.
- The food is outstanding, while the menu is small, they make everything with care.
- It's a rooftop bar facing the ocean.
The problem is that it does unfortunately have a few caveats.
- Service isn't always great.
- It's nearly impossible to get a reservation. Book far in advance, like 1-2 months.
- Getting a spot in the sunset room is hard.
- Calling them requires patience because you will be on hold forever.
- The menu is GREAT but it could use a few more items to make it more hearty. There aren't many protein items.
I hope it doesn't discourage you from coming to this establishment because it's well worth it. They just know everybody wants to come to their restaurant so they have no incentive to be nicer.
Here are a few things you should start with:
The elephant is my favorite. You can pick your own spirit and it's made with passionfruit, lemon, orgeat, meletti, and Calabrian chili. I love it with mezcal.
Little Oaxacan is next, it's amazing and incredibly refreshing. It's made with mezcal, lime, orgeat, cucumber, and sales aperitif.
The drink selection is actually excellent but those are my top two.
For appetizers, start with the whipped eggplant, literally the greatest thing you will ever have. It's basically an inflated flatbread with whipped eggplant hummus and you will want 10 of these.
The gulf shrimp is pretty good as well, and the meatballs are made with pork and beef.
I usually stick to pizza here because it's phenomenal. The soppressata made with cured pork, crushed tomato, mozzarella, chili oil, and honey is delicious. The roasted mushroom one sounds divine and I'll be trying that next.
If you're in the mood for pasta, try the Gemelli with squid ink pasta, Dungeness crab, tomato butter, and chili. The cacio e pepe with pecorino romano and black pepper is delicious, and the truffle pasta with tagliatelle, shaved black truffle, pecorino, and butter is beyond delicious.
The vodka sauce pasta is incredibly popular as well, I have yet to try it. It's made with canestri pasta, Calabrian chili, basil, and Parmigiano.
For mains, try the polenta and mushrooms. It's made with a slow-egg, mascarpone, and black truffles. It's impeccable.
End your meal off with something sweet, they offer tiramisu, chocolate torta, mango and pineapple sorbet, and affogato.
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