After opening in 2008, Gjelina has become a popular spot on the hip Abbot Kinney Boulevard in Venice Beach, known for its tasty wood-fired pizzas and charming outdoor patio. While the restaurant opened without any publicity according to LA Times, it has still managed to bring in crowds seeking an alluring ambiance and creative plates, even attracting celebrities like Taylor Swift and Beyonce. And though the trip to Venice might take a little longer the trek to Mudd, here are five reasons why Gjelina is worth the drive:
1. The Squash Blossom Pizza
The squash blossom pizza at Gjelina is the pizza of your dreams: perfectly crunchy crust, melted burrata cheese, and oven roasted tomatoes. The pizza is also topped with squash blossoms (as the name implies) and zucchini, so its kind of healthy… right?
2. The Constantly Changing Menu
While most of the classic pizzas remain, other sections of the menu receive updates regularly, meaning that you can always try something new when you visit Gjelina. Changes to the menu typically represent responses to the seasons, meaning ingredients served are usually the freshest available. For example, the five-grain breakfast porridge is served with berries during the summer but pears and persimmons during the autumn months.
3. The Many Painless Ways to Eat Vegetables
Are you one of those kids who struggled to finish that side of broccoli your mom made you eat? At Gjelina, an entire section of the menu is dedicated to vegetables. But don’t worry, these small plates and cooked and spiced in such a tasty way that you may as well be eating a plate of French fries. Try the wood roasted cauliflower with garlic, chili and vinegar to see what I mean. Can’t commit to an entire plate of one vegetable? The salads also offer a tasty way of getting your greens when these tricks aren’t working for you.
4. The Ability to Share Anything
Pretty much Gjelina’s entire menu is meant for sharing, so you can go with a crew can successfully sample the wide variety of starters, pizzas, and salads without committing to one dish. Just don’t be that person who takes the last slice.
5. Their Flexible Seating
While it can prove difficult to get a coveted weekend dinner reservation, the restaurant is open from 8 a.m to midnight, featuring menus for “late” and for “afternoon.” This means Gjelina is almost always ready for you during your time of need. And if for some reason you find yourself unable to get a table at Gjelina, there’s always GTA (Gjelina Takeaway) next door for takeout.