FIG Santa Monica
By Nicole Cogan, NoBread
SO HERE’S WHAT WE THINK…
Hotel restaurants are often overlooked, as they are commonly perceived as dining spots for the respective hotel’s clientele rather than a go-to destination. Well, everyone, I bet you didn’t know some of my favorite restaurants in both New York City and Los Angeles are affiliated with hotels! From Gemma at The Bowery Hotel and Margaux at The Marlton in New York City to LA Chapter at The Ace Hotel in Los Angeles, restaurants at trendy hotels are some of the best places to dine in town. FIG, located at the Fairmont in Santa Monica, is another restaurant well deserving of more attention. Under chef Yousef Ghalaini’s helm, FIG just went under a menu renovation, using bold Mediterranean flavors and incorporating Chef’s lebanese background to create a truly delicious menu that is almost entirely gluten-free…
As touched on above, the menu is 60% gluten-free as is, and every dish, except the pizzas, pasta, and bread balloon (sorry!) can be made gluten-free. The new menu is best experienced shared with a group, so we recommend ordering a few salads and apps to get the meal going. For appetizers, ordering the octopus goes without saying; it is perfectly tenderized and flavored atop a bed of butter beans. The chilies and pickled onions are a nice contrast to the char on the octopus, creating a flavor bomb in your mouth. For other snacky apps, we recommend the spicy fries which are frankly one of the most delicious items on the menu and the shishito peppers. I couldn’t keep my hands out of either of these bowls! In addition, we went with the tomato and radish salad, which is the perfect summer dish, with mint, fresh French feta and a mouth watering zinfandel vinaigrette. Let’s dive into the entrees. You truly cannot go wrong here. We went with the slow roasted savoy cabbage which is a lighter dish garnished with a rich sauce and tofu, and a great accompaniment to the heartier dishes. The Citrus and Chili Marinated Whole Fish was our protein of choice here. Beautifully garnished, the branzino was seasoned perfectly and unexpectedly filling. I would go back just for that!
We had to round out all of that savory food with some sweets, of course. We opted for the seasonal wood roasted strawberries which are served warm with a dollop of cheesecake ice cream. I typically go for the more cakey or chocolate items, but this is not to miss. That being said, we did get our chocolate fix in. The chocolate pudding cake is fudge based and dense in the most delicious way possible. Without the malted cream and cookie, this baby can be made gluten-free.
FIG has a multitude of options all so delicious, and I cannot wait to go back. We hear their chicken is amazing – a feat I find difficult to accomplish when dining out. FIG is also a great spot for breakfast, easily accommodating gluten-free guests as well. They are currently undergoing a revamp of that menu as well, so stay in touch with some new dishes coming that way!