I first read about Anisette Brasserie in LA Magazine – it was one of their cover stories – a French brasserie in Santa Monica?! Hell why not!
(Don't ask me about this weird pose. And yes, I know…leggings are so Lindsey Lohan circa 2004. Haven't been able to raid my sister's closet recently.) So hubster and I walk in and I am immediately blown away by the decor of this place. It's literally like you just stepped out of the tourist trap of Santa Monica and into a charming, high ceiling Parisian restaurant.
Tiled floors, red banquettes, nice lighting fixtures – reminded me of Cafe Wa S but without the gaudiness. Really charming place. They have a raw seafood bar stationed right in front – little muscles and oysters waiting to be eaten!
Of course, my heart will always belong to those Maine lobsters caught right off the coast but I'm sure you taste amazing, too!
The details to this place are pretty exquisite – you have your waiters dressed in black tie, ornate damask wallpaper, and beautiful copper colored fans whirling overhead. The bar is in the middle of the restaurant with drinks stacked sky high in the background. Menus – Now if you look close enough you'll notice that all the entrees are in that 20ish dollar range, making this one of those places you go for lunch with a client so your company can foot the bill. 🙂
We first order the Heirloom Watermelon Mozzarella salad – you wouldn't think watermelon would go well with this typically speaking caprese style salad but no doubt…this salad was refreshing. Mozzarella was perfectly soft, basil gave it that nice flavorful kick. A great salad overall.
Next, we had the burger – on pancetta bread, this burger had bacon, brie, avocado and tomato. Quite large, this could easily feed two medium size people. (Note, us bigger Asians had to get 2 dishes + a soup.) The bread wasn't too thick, the meat was cooked just right, and overall it was a very satisfying burger. It wasn't Sapphire good, but it left one hungry husband happy.
Because those dishes were just not enough, we ordered the french onion soup. I love how it came out in this really bright, beautiful bowl. Deeper than you'd think, the soup came out almost tongue-burning hot. A good mix of cheese, onion, and bread inside. The broth wasn't as flavorful as I had hoped but I'd probably get it again.
Overall?: A little on the expensive side but you're definitely paying for the environment and the service. Our waitress was spot on – filling our cups, getting us our condiments quickly, getting us the check promptly. No complaints there. I was happy to find a cool spot in Santa Monica that didn't feel like a tourist trap, too. Next time I'd like to try the raw bar. Why it's getting 4 stars?: The place feels a little cramped, you're only a few feet away from the next table. My loud laugh and hand clapping noise can carry – so it's not the best place if you want some privacy. You can also hear the clinking from the kitchen – not good for people with jittery nerves. Tips: Beware the brunch – lots of mixed reviews out there on the eggs benedict. Don't expect too much from the chef who brought you Bastide and Citrus, Alan Giraud left those joints to make something a bit more casual. Remember low expectations lead to unexpected surprises! Who should go?: People who are on their first date – it's loud and there's enough people around to help in case you feel like he might be a serial killer. People who work for a company that has a nice expense account for lunch…no guilt lunches are the best. LA Times Review Anisette Brasserie (Yelp) 225 Santa Monica Blvd Santa Monica, CA 90407 (310) 395-3200