Water Grill Santa Monica Water Grill

Water Grill

1401 Ocean Ave. (Santa Monica Blvd.)
Santa Monica, CA 90401
Cuisine: Seafood / Raw Bar
A Santa Monica branch of downtown L.A.'s iconic seafood restaurant, now with a more democratic approach to the menu.
Openings: Lunch & Dinner daily


Water Grill, Santa Monica, CA

Water Grill Restaurant Review:

About the restaurant: For around two decades, upscale seafood was the focus at downtown L.A.'s Water Grill, but the iconic restaurant has since transitioned to a more democratic approach to hook a wider audience. Parent company King’s Seafood Company cast out its net even farther by opening this sister establishment in the former Ocean Avenue Seafood space in a bustling area of Santa Monica. (They seem to have a winner on their hands as the place is packed each day from lunch to dinner.) A wall of adjustable windows brings an open-air setting to the tables along the front of the building. Meanwhile, the middle of the restaurant is dominated by the huge raw bar, liquor bar with flat-screen televisions above, and four communal tables. Towards the back is a market-style display of fresh fish on ice and live crabs and lobsters in tanks. Next to it is the glassed-in kitchen where executive chef Damon Gordon oversees a busy staff that serves 500 covers on a Saturday. Private dining for up to 16 guests is also available.

Food & Drinks: Splurge on a shellfish platter or choose from the array of crudos, such as wild Quinault River king salmon with daikon sprouts, pink pepper cream, candied lemon and Mexican crema. From time to time, you may encounter Belon oysters among the raw bar selections. The appetizers are very pleasing to the eye and palate, while the mains run more along the lines of comfort food. Pan-roasted eastern sea scallops may be accompanied by roasted vegetables and grilled Treviso. Carnivores need not despair with options like filet mignon and charcoal grilled organic chicken. Among the desserts, you may find caramel bread pudding or a pear financier with poached pears and orange basil ice cream. The wine list, which is less intimidating than in the past, features mostly American selections with a sprinkling of international offerings. There are craft beers on tap and classic cocktails like the Dark and Stormy (dark rum, ginger, lime juice), too. Also located at 544 S. Grand Ave., Los Angeles, 213-891-0900.

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