The candles are lit and the oven is hot at Bar Monette, the long-awaited Santa Monica restaurant from star Toronto chef Sean MacDonald. Wrapped in emerald tones and keeping a distinctly moody ambiance, the new wine bar and pizza destination opens April 7 in the former Little Ruby space at 109 Santa Monica Boulevard, less than a block from the ocean views.
Bar Monette is sure to be a homing beacon for a certain type of Westside diner, thanks to its ultra-vibey and comfortable dining space, which includes worn woods, candlelit accents, plenty of marble, and touches of copper. There are deep basins to hold open bottles of wine as if at a high-end house party, and mismatched artwork in colorful frames hung throughout the restaurant. Eaters can also enjoy the coastal breezes from a small, sunny patio that faces out from the sidewalk to the palm trees beyond. Brandon Benoit is on as general manager to oversee the space.
As for food, MacDonald is continuing the fun and rustic aesthetic with pulls from across the European spectrum, with a particular focus on Italy. There are starters like jamón and manchego cheese, or a citrus salad with charred romesco and shaved fennel. Upscale touches include a truffle creamed corn with sea urchin and A5 wagyu rib cap served with shishito peppers and an anchovy agrodolce.
The centerpiece (beyond the wine) is pizza though, including a spicy calabrese and honey option, or a simple margherita, with the option to make it Monette’s way — meaning truffle and caviar, of course. Expect deeply spotty pizzas served in individual portions, with a hefty puff and fine dining flourishes. Jeff Whittaker (Hippo) will oversee the menu as chef de cuisine, alongside MacDonald. The opening menu is below.
MacDonald, one of Canada’s best young chefs of the past decade, has previously told Eater that Bar Monette is just step one in what he hopes is a long love affair with Los Angeles as a dining city. MacDonald already has other projects in the works, but for now it’s all about this special Santa Monica space, which has been in the waiting since last fall. Reservations for the restaurant can be made via Resy, with starting hours from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m., Wednesday through Sunday.