Longtime Santa Monica chef and Southern California native Raphael Lunetta just revamped Lunetta, his two-in-one restaurant on Pico Boulevard. Starting tonight, Lunetta At Night, the more sophisticated counterpart to Lunetta All Day, has a new of-the-moment menu and a separately named lounge area called Moon Bar in the back.
The chef is best known for running JiRaffe, a fine-dining restaurant that closed in 2015 after 18 years in Santa Monica. JiRaffe was starting to show its age, but when Lunetta opened a new eatery last year, he revived many of the JiRaffe hits. He wasn’t exactly tapping into the culinary zeitgeist, and the prices were on the higher side, perhaps a bit out of range for the neighborhood.
With this revamp, Lunetta lowers the dish prices and gets on board with current trends. Lunetta Dining, the food part of Lunetta at Night, now has a seasonal new California menu made up of small plates, wood-grilled fish, and steaks. Lunetta uses local ingredients straight from the Santa Monica Farmers Market that scream farm-to-table, like “Daily Market Vegetables.” There’s also ahi tuna tartare, Spanish octopus, grilled nectarine with manchego and prosciutto, and barbecue Scottish salmon. The burger, which he makes with grass-fed beef, has a slice of heirloom tomato, sharp cheddar, and avocado.
Lunetta also takes it to the next step with a wide specials menu that boasts pappardelle with New Zealand red crab, sweet white corn ravioli has a truffle corn emulsion, and a 40 oz dry-aged New York steak. Both menus are posted below.
As for the new bar at the back, that’s Moon Bar, which comes complete with a fireplace. Most of the drinks are designed to play off the produce-heavy menu, but there’s also a tiki twist with cocktails like the Gnarly Surfer — rhum agricole, pineapple syrup, Blackstrap Bitters, and a vegan “egg white.”
Lunetta Dining and Moon Bar serve from 6:30 to 11 p.m., Tuesday to Saturday and starting at 5 p.m. on Sundays.
2424 Pico Boulevard, Santa Monica, CA. 310-581-9888.