April 13, 2010 was a bright, warm, deliciously breezy day in Los Angeles. It couldn’t have been a more perfect¬†afternoon for birthday lunch at Gjelina with my very favorite date. Our outing started with a leisurely stroll up and down Abbot Kinney (of First Friday fame), continued with a delectable lunch on the patio at Gjelina, and ended with a drive up the coast.

The food was fresh, carefully prepared, well-conceptualized, and abundant (a polite way to describe the gluttonous amount we ordered).¬†I won’t even try to improve upon Jonathan’s description of each dish, which you can¬†read here. I will say that the Artisan Cheese Plate with toasts, honey, and fruit, and the Fried Egg Sandwich with roasted red peppers and Prosciutto were the stars of the show for me, as well as Alesmith Nautical Nut Brown Ale on tap.

In addition to the large and diverse menu and obvious freshness of the ingredients, the space at Gjelina is also notable. Inside, brick, wood, naked bulbs, and recycled materials give the space a comfortable but industrial atmosphere – really refreshing as opposed to plain white tablecloths and walls. The patio features a mismatch of rustic furniture, which feels more like your chef-friend’s backyard than anything else. Bottom line: I’m going back to Gjelina. Soon.

Enjoy an afternoon on the patio: 1429 Abbot Kinney Blvd, Venice.

Thanks to Tam for the rec and Jonathan for the stellar birthday lunch.

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