After our wonderful journey to Bora Bora, we decided to take make a pit stop in LA. The day we flew back happened to be my birthday, and for my birthday dinner we decided to go to highly-renowned restaurant in Venice, California: Gjelina (www.gjelina.com). Gjelina is a hub to see the famous people of L.A, while also dining on some of the most divine street food you could ever hope to have in your lifetime. We traveled to Gjelina with my Uncle who lives in LA, my Mom and Dad, and my two brothers.
As we sat down in the dark but inviting restaurant, we immediately saw faces we recognized. This, along with the interesting vibe the restaurant was giving off, gave me hope that it was going to be fantastic.
To start we ordered three appetizers: a small dish of Meatballs, a heap of Roasted Cauliflower and a plate of Pears with Prosciutto and Burrata Cheese.
The serving of Meatballs was amazing. The hot, smooth tomato sauce smothered the plump, moist, juicy meatballs, as a hot steamy aroma flooded off each morsel of the dish and into the noses of the people at the table. The spongy meatballs were perfectly seasoned, and melded nicely with the vivid, bright red tomato sauce.
The Cauliflower in my mind is one of the most under appreciated vegetables, but deserves to be in more of a spotlight. This dish proved my point in every way, shape, and form. The dish contained perfectly crisped and roasted, precisely salted, beautifully presented cauliflower. The dish was sprinkled with spicy garlic and chili powder, and tossed until the dish was ready for the consumer.
Our last appetizer was the PBP (Pears, Burrata Cheese, and Prosciutto). This was probably my favorite appetizer. The creamy, silky, velvety white Burrata Cheese, overflowing over juicy, sweet roasted pears prepared with a touch of salt, covered in crispy, crunchy, salty prosciutto– what sounds better than that?!
For our main courses we ordered a variety of pizzas, and a select group of other large plates.
We ordered three pizzas: a Margherita pizza, a wild nettle pizza, and a white pizza.
Unfortunately, I will only tell you about two of the pizzas, as a result of the lack of sharing of the white pizza by my younger brother.
I sampled the Margherita pizza and the wild nettle pizza. The Margherita pizza had a crispy, toothsome crust and was covered in steaming hot pizza sauce, and shimmering, oozing, gooey cheese. The wild nettle pizza was coated in a heavy layer of dark green nettles, chunky garlic confit, and a touch of chili flakes.
In addition to the pizzas, we ordered A Crispy Duck Confit. This was perhaps the best thing I have ever eaten in my life. The duck was rich, juice-filled, and coated in a crunchy, flakey, oily layer of duck skin. In addition, the duck was served on a bed of roasted potatoes, and roasted peppers. Dynamite!!
As the dinner was wrapping up, I was bombarded by a singing waiter, who brought me two refreshing, palate cleansing bowls of chilling, flavorful, colorful sorbets (blackberry, and raspberry), and sang happy birthday to me.
In addition to the food, the service was fabulous. Our waiter continued to request delicious dishes to us throughout the meal, and accommodated to the need to each and every member of my family. He was not only helpful, but also knowledgeable about the restaurant and the menu itself.
It was the perfect birthday dinner, I would return in a heartbeat.
I would give it ZZZZXV- 4 3/4 Z’s- Amazing!