Passionate For Pasjoli…


I recently indulged in the best meal I have experienced in a very long time.

Pasjoli, the five month old restaurant in Santa Monica, California, is incredible.

The attention to detail is stunning.

Every utensil is individually polished.

Every white dish rimmed in gold is gently wiped and a black textured divider is placed between each piece of china.

The kitchen under Chef/Owner Dave Beran and Sous Chef Matthew Kim works like a well oiled machine.

The country French bistro decor, is warm and tasteful yet minimal with concrete floors and exposed brick.

Chef and owner Dave Beran hired the design firm Rugo/Raff, which also designed Chicago’s Alinea and Next, to create the 4,000-square-foot space.

Formerly home to a burger joint, Pasjoli has been transformed with a marble bar, antique mirrors, mohair-upholstered banquettes and silk, hand-painted floral wallpaper.

The French influenced  throwback music is an enticing accompaniment to the culinary experience.

The glorious food brought to mind the Blondie hit, Rapture.

None of the food on the menu is classically French.  It features French influences combined with the California driven fresh produce ingredients.

We were initially seated in the more serene second dining room.

We decided to sit at the bar in the main dining area which features the open kitchen.

The knowledgeable, friendly bartender led us through the menu and all his recommendations were spot on.

I decided on Pierre Gibmonnet & Fils champagne after being offered three separate tastings. The champagne was delightful with citrus overtones ($28).

David selected a satisfying Belgium blonde beer ($12).

We started with a caviar appetizer that was outrageous.

The presentation of Golden Osetro Caviar with horseradish cream, smoked sturgeon, cucumber and brown butter potato chips was attractive and appealing ($68).

The Ragout D’Oignons Caramelises consisting of caramelized onions, gruyere and pate brisee in a  tart had the same delicious notes as a classic French onion soup ($24).

The Turbot Meunière with sumptuous brown butter, lemon and roasted winter greens was on par with the renowned NYC restaurant Le Bernardin  ($46).

We ordered a side of heavenly Purée de Pommes de Terre ($14).

Dessert was a difficult choice. The bartender recommended both the chocolate soufflé and his personal favorite, rice pudding.

We ended up choosing the light and delectable Soufflé Au Chocolat with vanilla bean ice cream and chocolate sauce.

It was Valentine’s Day and David decided that was the most romantic way to end the meal ($22).

We were treated to the Rice Pudding and it was unbelievable…a cloud of vanilla bean rice pudding, inspired by the famous version at Paris’ L’Ami Jean, floating over candied pecans and offset with pineapple caramelized for six hours.


Pasjoli, which translates to “not pretty,” is Dave Beran’s second restaurant.

In 2017 Beran opened Dialogue, the tasting menu-only 18-seat modernist restaurant which is hidden behind a locked door on the second floor of a food court on the Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica.

Before settling in California, Beran worked in Chicago under America’s molecular gastronomy king, Grant Achatz, of Alinea and Next fame.

Beran’s goal at Pasjoli is to showcase the “lesser-known, lighter side of French cooking,  bolstered by Southern California’s seasonal produce.”

I look forward to returning and indulging in the tableside caviar service.

I do not eat duck, but the tableside whole pressed duck (only 10 available each night) looks extraordinary ($185 for 2).

The Champignons with hen of the woods, white beans, smoked date served with buckwheat crepe is purportedly a highlight ($38).

Along with the fish offerings, chicken, short rib and milk-fed pork are also on the menu.

The evening was perfection…the undeniably impressive food, the attentive service and the ambiance.


Pasjoli is pricey, but worth every penny with service included.

If an exceptional dining experience is what you crave then Pasjoli is a must.

Pasjoli 2732 Main Street Santa Monica, California. Open Sunday-Wednesday 5:30-9:30pm Thursday, Friday and-Saturday 5:30-10pm. Reservations on OpenTable.com. Metered street and lot parking available. Pasjoli is a no-tipping restaurant.

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