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502 Santa Monica Blvd. (5th St.) Send to Phone
Chef-owner Raphael Lunetta combines his classical French technique with international influences and local seasonal ingredients.
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Local Deals: 120 * 90

Dinner Mon.-Sat.

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Dining room at THIS RESTAURANT IS CLOSED JiRaffe, Santa Monica, CA


: With its generous windows and white linen-clad tables, JiRaffe has the comfortable feel of a modern-day bistro. Chef-owner Raphael Lunetta has established the restaurant as a Santa Monica dining destination without any unnecessary pretensions. A meticulous artisan, Lunetta shops at local farmers markets and picks the best he can find --- often at a price, of course. Specials incorporate the ingredients he has discovered, and his menu evolves seamlessly with the seasons. We see in his cuisine a strong foundation in classical French technique, but he also incorporates a diversity of influences --- from Asia to South America --- all the while respecting the seasonality of local ingredients. Appetizers are fresh, creative and attractive, and might range from sweet corn ravioli with truffled corn emulsion to purple Peruvian gnocchi to a salad composed of sautéed Pacific shrimp, baby arugula, white beans, shaved fennel and lemon vinaigrette. In fact, such starters can prove so pleasing to the palate that what follows can seem somewhat lacking. “Taste of JiRaffe” on the last Thursday of each month encourages guests to make a meal out of small plates, with four items for $28 (each additional dish $7). Signature main dishes include the caramelized pork chop with wild rice, smoked bacon, apple chutney and a cider sauce, and New Zealand rack of lamb with curried vegetable moussaka and thyme-scented lamb jus. We find that the wine list is well-conceived but wanting in value. Service is swift, efficient and friendly. Monday nights offer a bargain three-course prix-fixe menu for $38, with an always-changing menu.

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