Photo from the Sonoma Wine Garden Facebook Page
Carli and I had the pleasure of dining at Sonoma Wine Garden in Santa Monica recently. We have had this place bookmarked on Yelp for way too long, so we were so excited to FINALLY be able to see what all the hype was about.
First of all, if you didn’t know, SWG is on the third floor of the Santa Monica Place mall. We didn’t know this upon arrival, but it turned out to be a nice surprise. We often end up ubering to dinner due to lack of parking. There is nothing worse than gorging on delicious food and then having to walk blocks and blocks to your car. You start to cramp, your cold, you contemplate ditching your leftovers (shame on you), and the night just goes downhill from there. The parking structure for the mall is 90 minutes free, and only A DOLLAR an hour after that. You wouldn’t expect those prices in SaMo would you?
When we arrived at Sonoma Wine Garden we were graciously greeted and given a brief tour. This place is breathtaking. We both fell in love with the patio area. There are three different outdoor patios, all staggered. We love this setup because each seating area has something different to offer. There was a larger patio with a fireplace, a smaller area with cozy booths, and a more modern seating area.
We sat indoors (it’s been SO COLD here in LA) in a ginormous booth. We actually could have comfortably napped in this booth you guys.
We were given the drink menu right off the bat and the server recommended the Watermelon Mojito (Bacardi, watermelon, lime, simple, mint). If you guys remember we created a Watermelon Mint Cocktail a couple months ago, so this drink was right up our alley (still don’t really get that saying BTW). Carli ordered the Sonoma Sunset (Partida Blanco, lime, orange, ginger, cranberry, passionfruit, topped with ginger ale) to change it up a bit.
Both drinks were amazing. The mojito was sweeter than expected but not too sweet. The watermelon was super fresh and there was no artificial taste whatsoever. The Sonoma Sunset was sweet as well, with a great mix of fruity flavors. The tequila was definitely prevalent so only get this drink if you love tequila!
For our appetizer we ordered the Artichoke & Spinach Dip (served with toasted crostini). This dip is always one of our go-to’s. It’s so simple: Spinach, artichokes, and cheese. And yet you can’t help but feel a little bit fancy when you eat it. Adulting at it’s finest.
The dip was really well done. We could really taste the mix of cheeses, which isn’t true of many other spinach artichoke dips we’ve come across. There is definitely more spinach in the mix than artichoke, so if you’re not a big fan of the leafy greens you may want to steer clear. The crostini was perfectly toasted and glazes in butter.
For our entree we decided to split the Pasta Primavera (seasonal vegetables, stewed san marzana tomato, gluten free penne). First of all, I didn’t realize that the pasta was gluten free until reading back the menu. Holy smokes this is a little mind blowing because I couldn’t tell AT ALL that the gluten was missing from my penne. So that’s comforting. The pasta was our favorite dish! We were expecting a cream sauce like most primavera dishes, but what we got was even better. It tasted like a spaghetti sauce with more of a kick. There were tones of garlic and other Italian spices. The only two veggies we noticed were broccoli (or broccolini, we honestly don’t really know the difference) and the marzana tomatoes. Both added just enough substance to the pasta, without taking away from the sauce.
We also split the Wild Mushroom Pizza (forest mushrooms, fresh ricotta, wild arugula, white truffle oil, mozzarella). Our closest friends know how much we love mushrooms, especially on a pizza. The crust on this pizza is perfect. Definitely has the wood fired pizza taste and texture, with maybe a touch of garlic. The mushrooms were life changing TBH. I mean, did they get these forest mushrooms from an actual forest nearby? If so, Im going scavenging tomorrow. They were so juicy and rich with flavor. The cheeses were great as well. However there was almost an overwhelming amount of arugula on the pizza. Other than that, it was perfection!
At this point in the night we were basically delirious we were so full. We tried to resist dessert (so unlike us, I KNOW), but we were told to try to the Banana Split and we said BRING IT ON. The creme brule’d (making this an adjective) bananas were the crown jewel of the meal. I still don’t know how they got such a perfect caramelized layer on top of a perfect banana. The magical bananas were paired with vanilla bean ice cream, caramel sauce, pecans, and fresh whipped cream to create a sundae that is the Leo DiCaprio of sundaes.
The service was amazing the entire night. We never ran out of water and multiple people came to clear our plates, give recommendations, or take our order. The ambience was unbeatable, and just what we needed on a random weekday night. We can’t wait to go back!
You can view the Sonoma Wine Garden menu here.