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Santa Monica Scores a Hot New Spanish Tapas and Natural Wine Bar Soon

Xuntos hits the heart of the Westside city this spring, with flavors from longtime LA chef Sandra Cordero of Gasolina Cafe

Pintxos at bar counter in the old part of the city...
An array of tapas.
Photo by Raquel Maria Carbonell Pagola/LightRocket via Getty Images
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.

Even more Spanish food is coming to LA soon, though this time from a very familiar local name. Sandra Cordero, who has been running Gasolina Cafe in Woodland Hills for years, is making a move to Santa Monica with a new tapas bar that will include lots of snacks and splashes of natural wine.

The incoming restaurant, named Xuntos, is a departure for Cordero, who has previously operated Gasolina as an all-day cafe with wine bar touches and plenty of paella. This Westside project will be a more grown-up affair, with classic tapas dishes from northern Spain spun together on a tight menu with some California Spanish specialties that Cordero is making just for this new restaurant. That may mean skewers of octopus for some, fried squid or croquettes for another, and drinks for all. Sommelier Scott Baker will oversee the Spanish and California wine list.

Xuntos takes over the closed former Heroic Italian address at 516 Santa Monica Boulevard in Santa Monica. The split-level space will host the restaurant’s bar as well as a collection of banquette seats and tables and two small mezzanines. The opening is still coming together now, says reps for Cordero, but the expectation is that Xuntos will be open by late spring of this year. That puts Cordero at the middle of LA’s current Spanish trend, though it’s not exactly unfamiliar territory for the Spaniard, who has been cooking the food of her come country in LA for years — well before the many newcomers and out-of-town outfits arrived.