Dining in Front of the Pacific | Terrazza Hotel Casa del Mar, Santa Monica, CA

By Sophie Gayot

Santa Monica, CA, March 2024

 GAYOT’s Rating14/20
 Open: Daily Breakfast 7 a.m.-11 a.m., Lunch 11 a.m.- 3 p.m., Dinner 5 p.m.-10p.m.; Brunch Sat.-Sun. 11 a.m.-3 p.m.

Terrazza is on GAYOT’s:
Best Los Angeles Restaurants for California Cuisine
– Best Los Angeles Restaurants with a View
Best Santa Monica & Malibu Romantic Restaurants
Best Santa Monica & Malibu Breakfast Restaurants
Best Santa Monica & Malibu Brunch Restaurants

Terrazza | 310-581-5533 View Website | Hotel Casa del Mar
View map: 1910 Ocean Way, Santa Monica, CA 90405

Hotel Casa del Mar is a Santa Monica landmark, listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The hotel has been lavishly restored to the opulent grandeur it exuded when it opened as Club Casa Del Mar in 1926, built for the then-incredible sum of $2 million. Reopened in the fall of 1999 after a $60-million renovation, it features 129 luxurious guest rooms, suites and penthouses, many of which offer private views of the Pacific.

Located on the second floor overlooking Santa Monica beach is Terrazza, which, if you don’t count the palms trees, has unobstructed views of the ocean and the Santa Monica Pier. Because of its location right off the sand and the California menu created by chef Chad Huff, Terrazza could well be that restaurant you bring your out-of-town guests to if they have only one day in the City of Angels, preferably at night forty-five minutes before the sun sets.

Book your room at the Hotel Casa del Mar, Santa Monica, CA

MORE on GAYOT: The Caviar Tour at Terrazza

Every day the sun goes down on the horizon. Let’s admit, we never get tired of watching this spectacle of mother nature. Here, it gracefully sinks into the waves, with boats passing and birds flying, reflecting on the sand, between an iconic blue lifeguard tower and the solar-powered Ferris Wheel. Of course, the historic hotel was built with floor-to-ceiling windows to admire the end of the day.

As you will see, the bar occupies a large area and creates the frontier between the lounge and the restaurant, making it a must to have a cocktail to commence the evening. The Barcelona “Pan de Cristal” with organic Vermont black garlic butter should be ordered alongside.

Chef Chad Huff has worked around the world, so it is easy for him to apprehend ingredients from different origins and put them together on the plate. Appetizers will satisfy the fish lovers with the Kanpachi Crudo sprinkled with pink peppercorn, caper berry in a shoyu and Jerez sherry vinaigrette. Meat eaters may indulge with no fear in the Carpaccio topped with arugula, fried capers and Parmigiano. Vegetarians can opt for the Burrata Salad, composed of arugula, pears, citrus and pistachios with balsamic.

Pasta has its own section on the menu. The evening I went, I tried the Busiate, a type of long macaroni. It was prepared with a short rib ragu and oyster mushrooms, finished with grated Parmigiano.

It was followed by a perfectly cooked Pink Snapper, seasoned with brown butter, shallot, capers and aleppo pepper. We terminated the savory part of the evening with a Lamb Loin from Sonoma, on a bed of roasted sunchokes in a pomegranate gastrique and wine demi-glace.

The wine list is simple with Champagnes & sparkling wines, about twenty whites, half-dozen rosés mainly from France, and a longer selection of reds from California, Oregon, France, Italy and Spain.

Actually, I don’t really like it as it is the signal to go home. But the Ricotta Cheesecake and the Raspberry Mousse made up for it!