SANTA MONICA TOP FLOOR BAR IS ALMOST TOPS
It’s no secret that we’re fans of Santa Monica’s Dining Room at Hotel Shangri-La, a wonderful gem of fine, farm-fresh fare with a flair for bold and spicy flavors.
The hotel’s top floor is home to Suite 700—a swank bar with an impressive ocean view. Setting is chill with a cool Art Deco feel to it. Sit inside or outside, I really like the vibe at this rooftop bar and lounge. Once a distinct penthouse suite in the landmark hotel, Suite 700 now captures an elusive sense of Hollywood glamour at the ocean.
During our recent visit for a self-created happy hour, we enjoyed some very tasty plates but I wasn’t a fan of the cocktail program. When I asked my bartender for a Penicillin, a class whisky cocktail, he asked what was in it. That was a sign he wouldn’t be making one for me. I ordered a Ward 8 but wasn’t a fan of this interpretation, nor did I care for their Sazerac, and eventually I had to switch to beer—and if you know me then you know that’s pretty shocking. I think you’re better off keeping your drinks safe and simple here. Think beer, wine or drink your spirits neat or with just one mixer. They can’t seem to handle complicated or craft here.
But the food is tasty. We shared a bevy of dishes, including the tasty Fish Tacos with marinated white fish, crispy corn tortillas, sliced avocado, apple slaw, and chili lime aioli. Not the greatest beachside fish tacos you’ll ever have but these don’t disappoint.
The Fresh Oysters Half Dozen are a great starter item. Served with fresh oysters, scallions, chives, cayenne pepper sauce, jalapeño aioli, and lemon, it doesn’t get beachier than this. This order was so damn good I almost (I said almost) didn’t mind not having a good drink in hand.
If you’re looking for heartier items, the Fish & Chips with white fish, tempura batter, crispy herbed fries, apple cabbage slaw, lemon and tartar sauce is solid, while the Prosciutto Pizza served with prosciutto wrapped fresh mozzarella, basil, shallots, jalapeños, provolone, marinara, arugula, and lemon dressing proved to be a favorite as we devoured this one. And if you’re really hungry, you should get the Kobe Burger with grilled American Kobe, crispy bacon, butter lettuce, tomato, prickles, crispy onions, bistro sauce, pepper jack on a grilled brioche bun. This one hits the spot and will satisfy any burger craving.
While I love the laid back Santa Monica vibe, I just wish the drinks were up to snuff as that was a big letdown.
Photography Courtesy of: Hotel Shangri-La
Story by Jose Martinez