Diane Pandolfini Archives - Please The Palate
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Restaurateur and interior designer Nick Mathers first opened Eveleigh on Sunset Blvd. Next he opened Elephante in Santa Monica. And now Kassi Club in West Hollywood is the newest addition in the group. Australian born Mathers was inspired by his travels to Greece and has converted the space on West 3rd Street in West Hollywood that was forrmerly Goldie's into a Greek eatery with a California flair. In some ways, the decor and vibe are similar to Elephante in Santa Monica. Influenced by the tavernas of Kastellorizo,a small Greek island near Turkey, Kassi Club has a chic vibe and a warm energy. There is oak flooring, stone accents, rattan ceilings and low lounge seating. 
It is summer. And nothing says summer in California more than the beach. So, there is nothing more perfect than sitting on a deck, looking out at the Pacific Ocean while enjoying food and drink. And that is why I have found myself dining at Elephante in Santa Monica almost every week this month. Elephante has been open for a year and yet it took me that long to experience. I had heard about it but did not know where it was. Even the first time I went, I passed by a few times before figuring out where it was. Located on Second Street, just north of Santa Monica Blvd in Santa Monica, Elephante is located on the rooftop of the Laemmle theater. Next to the theater, there is a door with a stand in front where you are checked in for your reservation (of if you are heading up to the bar for drinks) and then you are sent down the hallway to an elevator. The elevator takes you to the 3rd floor and the rear door opens. You walk out and are greeted by the host stand where they welcome you by name. (It is very well done that the front door passes the names to the host stand before you get there.) Every time I go to Elephante, no matter the day of the week, it is packed. And it is easy to understand why. The bohemian vibe is casual and comfortable while also energetic. It feels like you are in someone's super cool home and just want to sit down in one of the low, comfortable chairs and look out at the view. The first section of the restaurant, just off the elevator, is a quieter space to enjoy a meal with friends.
As good as the food is at a restaurant, what can make a meal even better is the wine selections to pair with the food. It is not about the size of the list or having the correct list of wines. It is about understanding the cuisine of the restaurant and the customer and then creating a list to appeal to both. My recent story in California Winery Advisor listed 15 of the best restaurant wine lists in Los Angeles and you can read it here. ************************************************************** Wondering who has the best restaurant wine lists in Los Angeles and why? It is not the size of the wine list. It is not because it has a list of every aspirational, expensive, highly scored wine. And it is definitely not a good list when the list consists of generic mass-produced brands that can be found on the shelves of the local grocery store. A good wine list is one that is curated by the wine director of the restaurant to pair with the food on the menu. It is a list that offers a range of price points and combines familiarity as well as uniqueness. With so many exceptional restaurants in Los Angeles, a good wine list is what can set one apart from another. Here are 15 restaurants offering some of the most interesting, exciting and appropriate wine selections for the customer.