The first time I heard about this place was in the movie Monster in Law. Of course in the movie they filmed at the LA location and this is in Santa Monica. Well in case you’re wondering I didn’t see JLo but I saw quite a bunch of other famous folks.
The Santa Monica Ivy has by far one the best decors I’ve ever seen in a restaurant. I’ve been to some Michelin places that don’t even come close to the atmosphere of this place. The gorgeous embroidered pillows, the lemon and flower arrangements make the Ivy look dreamlike.
I think that the let down for some people comes from the expectation that a restaurant like this should be serving more sophisticated cuisine. This is not the case. The food here is very traditional, almost has the quality of a home cooked meal. The portions are huge too compared to NY restaurants. I can tell you that the pasta I had was the best pasta I’ve ever had in the US and that’s saying something. Not to mention that this place is full of celebrities, film producers and directors. If the food was so bad those people wouldn’t be dinning there.
I guess at the end of the day my personal complain about the Ivy is the staff. They seem somewhat judgmental as to whether you’re a wealthy patron or not. They size you up, so to say. The reason I’m saying this is because the day of my visit I was with a friend of mine and originally they sat us at the side wing that is facing the ocean. Sounds great but we asked to be moved considering the table we got was so cramped that we had to eat with our shopping bags in our laps, not to mention the lack of view. Annoyed, they moved us inside right next to the entrance considering there were so many tables available. It was a plus and a minus given that we saw everyone who came and went but it was also uncomfortable, made us feel exposed. I have to wonder if they would have treated us this way if we were famous. I guess the fact that my friend dressed way too casually didn’t help, but still, one would expect the same service and consideration.
Despite that I would still go back as in this case I feel like the positive outweighs the negative.
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