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A dark patio with string lights, rocky ground, and a wooden table.
Wonho Frank Lee

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Santa Monica’s New Patio Hideaway Feels Like a Celebrity Backyard Party

String lights, gravel, and 300 seats with Santa Monica breezes

Farley Elliott is the Senior Editor at Eater LA and the author of Los Angeles Street Food: A History From Tamaleros to Taco Trucks. He covers restaurants in every form, from breaking news to the culture, people, and history that surrounds LA's dining landscape.

One of Southern California’s best patios is back in action, as the recently closed Wilshire reopens on Monday as Fia, complete with a whole new look and that same perfect summer feel. New owner Michael Greco and chef Brendan Collins have overhauled both the space itself and the menu, working together to craft a moody, mellow Westside hangout that looks ready to become the place to be in Santa Monica.

Fia’s legendary 1920’s-era address stood for years as a place for Santa Monica and greater Westside locals to congregate over a fine continental-turned-California meal, and it helped to define a generation of culinary talent in Los Angeles under chefs like Nyesha Arrington. Now Greco has taken over with plans to remake the restaurant in his own eye, complete with an overhaul of the artwork on the walls and a redo of the sprawling open patio. Tuscan gravel crunches underfoot, while warmth radiates from three outdoor fireplaces. Matthew Winter of M. Winter Design (Gjusta, Manuela) led the design effort for the 300-seat restaurant, with its native palms, multiple bars, and outdoor bocce ball court.

On the food side, Collins is a longtime LA chef who has spent years at places like Birch in Hollywood and Waterloo & City in Culver City before that. The Brit is cooking up seafood-forward California fare with touches of Italian influence, which means a meal could include anything from a seven-day beef shank to share or a rich lobster bolognese with ink-black noodles for one. Hamachi crudo is a classic California starter, cocktails come by way of longtime barman Vincenzo Marianella, and Tara John oversees the wine. General manager Jimmy Ornelas comes from Providence, and will oversee the floor.

Fia opens on Monday, August 19 for dinner, with cocktail hour, late-night patio hangouts, and weekend brunch to come. The plan is to also expand into live events down the line, from music to wine tasting as well. Hours run 5 p.m. to 10 p.m., Sunday through Wednesday, with an extension to 11 p.m. Thursday through Saturday. The opening menu is below.

Fia. 2454 Wilshire Blvd., Santa Monica.

A ceramic bowl holds a raw fish hamachi dish in light oil.
Deep red lobster pasta dish with light sea foam over top, in a striped blue bowl.
Lobster bolognese
Black pasta noodles from a lobster bolognese dish, held up on a fork.
A West LA spritz, served dark in a stemmed glass.
A large roasted leg of beef with side pita, in a cast iron skillet, and wine and a candle beyond.
Seven-day beef shank
Small roasted quail in light sauce with greens on a grey plate.
Stuffed Manchester quail
A slab of salmon with fork cutting through, sitting in bowl of dashi broth.
Ora king salmon belly
A bright orange cocktail, served up, at the edge of a table.
The Manhatter
A pale peach cocktail with green garnish and pebble ice in a cocktail glass.
Wild Horses
Macarons filled with icing sitting in an older wooden box.
Puffed, multi-colored cakes with a quenelle of mango sorbet on a grey plate.
Goat cheese cake with black sesame angle cake, mango sorbet
Inside Fia, with its chandelier, books, plants, and dim lighting at night.
The inside views
A long wooden bar with marble top and square stools, at night.
The bar
A fish tile art and lots of brick surround seating and plants in the dark bar.
Fun art on the walls
A small indoor fireplace rolls next to a cushioned seat.
Actual fire
A dim dinnertime room with candles on lots of wooden tables.
Rustic looks
A long wooden table set for service, with art on the wall beyond.
Room for all

Wine bottles lined up on an old farm table in a restaurant corner.
The right corner
Books and greenery and a low chandelier.
Painted artwork depicting women at various ages hangs on a restaurant wall.
String lights outline large windows on an outdoor dinner patio.
Green trees and rocky ground covered by old wooden tables and under string lights.
Under all the trees
Outdoor patio on rocky ground with old wooden tables.
The best patio
Seating at a wooden table, with candles and plates for service.
A tall shot of tables under a big tree out on a dinner patio at night.
A wraparound bench outside for seating on a patio.
Corner seating
An outdoor bar with wooden table seating at night.
The outdoor bar
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