Lo and behold, it's here. Santa Monica Place finally opens today after more than a year and a half of planning. Initially The Dining Deck at Frank Gehry’s 1980 Santa Monica Place involved two Asian inspired restaurants hailing from Northern California, XINO Restaurant + Lounge, a Chinese concept from chef Chris Yeo of Sino and Straits and Ozumo. SMP was originally set to debut in 2009, but now in August 2010 the bill has expanded to include a number of culinary delights, including four full-service restaurants in addition XINO and Ozuma, plus a number of fast casual spots.
Two restaurants from Richard Sandoval: La Sandia, and Zengo. La Sandia offers a modern, upscale take on traditional Mexican fare -- already popular in Northern Virginia and Colorado, while Zengo’s concept features Latin-Asian fusion that has won over Denver, Colorado, New York City and Washington, D.C.
Pizza Antica: With three locations in the Bay Area, tomorrow this marks the first Southern California opening for Tim Stannard (The Village Pub), Gordon Drysdale (formerly of San Francisco’s Real Restaurant Group, now known for Gordon’s House of Fine Eats), Brannin Beal (Another alum of Real Restaurant Group) and Wine Director Andrew Green. View the menu here.
Sonoma Wine Garden: headed by restauranteur Jeremy Umland (also of Ozuma, on the bill for Santa Monica Place since the beginning), this wine bar/ beer garden hybrid combines a sleek wine bar with those enomatic pour systems, and extensive patio plus a view of downtown Santa Monica. SWG will serve a small plate menu featuring fresh pastas and cheese selections in addition to their extensive wine list, think “Best of Sonoma” plus a variety of selections from around the world.
Other dining options at Santa Monica Place will include food court classics and fast-casual spos: Wetzel’s Pretzles, Sushi Itto, Stephano’s Pizza, Sarku Japan, Charlie Kebab, Chick n’ Ribs, Fatburger, Machu Wok and Pinches Tacos. Ugo Café, hailing from Culver City and inspired by the fresh food of Italy, claims the only food real estate on the first floor of SMP.
While the aforementioned debut today, that rad gourmet marketplace, The Market, doesn't opens its doors until early 2011. This high-end food center will be akin to San Francisco’s Ferry Building and New York’s Chelsea Market, “with an exceptional collection of handmade, organic, fresh and gourmet foods.”