February 23, 2024 Breaking News, Latest News, and Videos

New Wood-Fired Seafood Restaurant Isla Now Open on Santa Monica’s Main Street

Crudo e Nudo creators, Chef Brian Bornemann and Designer Leena Culhane, bring their Mediterranean-inspired dishes to Isla

Isla, the new wood-fired, seafood-focused restaurant created by chef Brian Bornemann and designer Leena Culhane, opened on Santa Monica’s Main Street on Wednesday, April 5. 

The restaurant has been developed as a side project from Crudo e Nudo, which specializes in raw seafood, and features a menu that takes influences from across the Mediterranean. Dishes include guinea hen and duck breast preparations, charcoal skewers, and classic California takes like whole roasted cauliflower and citrus salad. Isla eschews red meat but does offer some fowl, and has an extensive vegetable selection. The restaurant also features wines by the glass and bottle, and cocktails from Kent Thompson, including strong amaros, vermouths, and sherries as a nod to Spain and the booming Spanish restaurant scene in LA.

Designer Culhane has transformed the former Little Prince space to make it warm and inviting with pink and orange hues, deep woods, vibrant light pieces, gauzy curtains, and exposed rafters. Isla captures the essence of a farmhouse dinner with friends that’s been cooked on charcoal out back and served on speckled stoneware plates. The restaurant opens with lunch through dinner service from noon to 11 p.m. Wednesday to Sunday. Brunch will be added to the menu next month.

The opening of Isla comes after the restaurant’s journeyman’s approach to its development, including pop-ups and private events, to grow its menu stop by stop. The plan had been to partner with a different operator nearby to open something with fire and flash, but when that deal fell through, Culhane and Bornemann found their way to the former Little Prince space to partner with owner-operator Shane Murphy instead.

For more information, visit www.isla-la.com

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