Santa Monica’s newest indoor-outdoor hangout is here, and just in time for some suitable spring weather. Despite a season of below-average temperatures and rainy days, sunnier moments are now close at hand for greater Los Angeles, and that means it’s time to consider the brand-new Mon Ami, opening formally for dinner on Friday, May 5. Situated in the former 41 Ocean lounge space at 1541 Ocean Avenue, this new courtyard hangout feels a world away from the touristy bustle on the other side of the wall, making it ideal for locals and in-the-know tourists alike.
The new Mon Ami comes to life this week by way of the Pacific Coast Hospitality team, known locally for operating nearby Canary in downtown Santa Monica. This follow-up project will take the same airy, lush design approach, with plenty of rattan, wood, and textiles. Because the space is more lounge-focused and is housed in a courtyard, diners and drinkers will also find lots of colorful weatherproof tile, stucco touches, umbrellas, and stuffed, plush seating around low tables. John Sofio of Built Inc. designed the new space.
Samir Mohajer (Rustic Canyon) and Sabel Braganza (EP + LP) are on to oversee the opening menu, which moves through Mediterranean waters to hit staple flavors from France, Morocco, Italy, Greece, and Spain. There may be prosciutto-wrapped tomatoes at one table or burrata toast with gazpacho at another, while a chicken tagine with pickled carrots and a seared branzino with olive tapenade hit a third. There are takes on a Greek moussaka with oyster mushroom ragout and cauliflower shawarma for the vegan and vegetarian sets as well, plus a grilled romaine Caesar and plenty of desserts, like loukoumades with honey. Cocktails span the gamut from a mozzarella-washed vodka and clarified tomato-basil cordial to a tequila, Aperol, and elderflower mix with grapefruit called the La Gondola. The opening menus are below.
The new Mon Ami should make immediate waves when it opens on Friday in Santa Monica. A number of new tenants have hit the busy Ocean Avenue row in just the past few weeks, from the white-hot Bar Monette to the reborn Art Deco hotel destination the Georgian, while existing hangouts like Elephante and Chez Jay still play to busy weekend nights. Further south on Main Street, perhaps LA’s coolest new restaurant drag, Cobi’s, Isla, and Coucou have all captured a colorful and youthful Westside audience, something Mon Ami should be able to replicate as well. It’s a good time to be hanging out by the beach, indeed.
Mon Ami opens Friday, May 5 at 1541 Ocean Avenue, Santa Monica, 90401, keeping hours from 5 p.m. to late, Tuesday through Saturday, with weekend brunch coming in the summer.