Tucked away in the Art Deco Clock Tower building, Santa Monica’s first high-rise and an official landmark, Anisette Brasserie is an exquisitely appointed restaurant with soaring ceilings from which beautiful art deco fixtures are suspended. But, this is not just another gorgeous restaurant designed as a classic brassiere, as the external beauty is more than matched by the exquisite fare created by Chef Director Alain Giraud.
Giraud, formerly the chef at the Loews Hotel where he created the recipes for its Lavende restaurant, is a great proponent of using locally grown produce and frequents the Santa Monica Farmers Market on Wednesdays and Saturdays saying, “The market is a blessing for us being just one block away.” According to Giraud the food is “traditional brassiere fare done with a twist because we are in Santa Monica.”
As in the case with many chefs, some of the award-winning recipes Giraud uses are from his childhood, including his grandmother’s recipe for a bouillabaisse. Giraud was most influenced by his dad who was the chef-owner of a restaurant in Provence. He was quick to add that, “Cooking of the brassiere is not too much the expression of the chef. It is just the chef giving a twist to the dishes and giving direction.” He added that although he is an instinctive cook, his chefs work from recipes “To keep the quality consistent.”
A most popular lunch offering is Menu du Marche, (menu of the market) a three-course meal for $16 created daily using freshly purchased ingredients from the Farmers Market wherever possible. Today we sampled the most amazing pate maison, foie gras & duck liver parfait, madeira gelee, cornichons, served with toasted country bread. Even your cardiologist will forgive you, for the taste is clearly divine. We also moaned our way through the lobster thermador, steak frittes, ribeye with pommes frites, and choice of sauce, and the succulent brasserie burger, made to perfection with angus beef, oven dried tomatoes, pickled onions, arugula, and pancetta. All the dishes were presented like still paintings. The red and wines were likewise excellent and consisted of a Viognier, La Violette 2008, and Cotes Du Rhone, Les Abeilles 2006, a smooth, velvety red. Oh yes, do try the vacherin glace, lavender ice cream, strawberries, crème chantilly.
With intimate outdoor tables to take advantage of Santa Monica’s balmy weather, dining al fresco is readily available and a lovely way to spend one of our glorious evenings. There is one caveat: The dishes are pricey, but worth every penny to just for a little while, feel like you’ve been transported to Paris.
225 Santa Monica Blvd.
Santa Monica, CA 90401
Daily L’Aperitif (Happy Hour)
2:30 – 7:00 pm