Written by Nadia Ibanez, Photos by Adam Stuckey
It’s easy to forget how lucky Southern Californians are when it comes to cuisine. Not only is there a global smorgasbord of restaurant offerings in every major city, but several eateries have fully embraced the idea of seeking seasonal ingredients and are infusing locally-grown food within their menus. This is definitely the case with the beautiful One Pico restaurant inside the Shutters on the Beach hotel in Santa Monica.
Just steps away from the beach, One Pico offers fine dining and California cuisine with a ramped up focus on local and seasonal products. With a menu inspired by offerings from the local farmers market and regional seafood, One Pico is a true indulgence. Whether you are an avid pescatarian, or just someone who appreciates a flawless meal, you will absolutely fall in love with One Pico.
We visited the restaurant on a hot Friday afternoon in the middle of a heat wave. The ocean breeze and chilled cocktails were definitely welcomed once inside. Every once in a while, the scents of salt water and Banana Boat wafted through the air, making for an even better beachfront dining experience.
I definitely suggest you take advantage of the specialty cocktail list. Belly up to the bar and go for the standard martini or check out what’s new and seasonal in terms of drinks. I sipped on a Spice Chai, a cocktail with Sailor Jerry, lime juice, falernum (a sweet syrup) and chai-infused vanilla simple syrup. I also tried the Starfish Mojito with coconut rum, muddled mint and lemon. Both were delicious, but don’t be afraid to ask your server for a wine recommendation or cocktail pairing for your meal.
I highly recommend you go to One Pico on an empty stomach so that you can revel in a few courses. We started out with a gorgeous Heirloom Tomatoes salad, which paired arugula, goat cheese and black olive crostini with local tomatoes.
I could eat the restaurant’s Pan-Seared Calamari everyday if I had the chance. The calamari is lightly sautéed and is tossed with cherry tomatoes, garlic, basil, lemon and arugula.
For entrées, we ordered the Maine Lobster “BLT” and the Lobster Fettuccine. There’s nothing ordinary about these plates. The lobster definitely stands out and is plentiful so expect a heaping portion. The BLT is a hefty portion of lobster, avocado and smoked bacon on a fresh brioche, with a market green salad on the side. I took a couple bites and have to say it’s one of the best lobster BLTs I’ve tried.
The Lobster Fettuccine at One Pico is unreal. A heaping dish of fresh fettuccine is surrounded by chunks of Maine lobster, sweet corn, asparagus shavings and wild mushrooms. By far, this is the best plate of fettuccine I’ve ever eaten – and trust me when I say that I’ve done the research. The sauce was so creamy, yet light, and the never-ending amount of lobster claws and meat blew me away. Order this dish and expect one of the best meals ever.
Somehow, we still had room for dessert and I highly suggest you leave room for some sweets and coffee to cap off your meal. The menu changes based on the seasonality of fruit so ask your server what’s ripe at the moment. We ordered the Market Peach Bread Pudding with white chocolate ice cream and a Warm Chocolate Molten Cake with a light pistachio streusel and vanilla ice cream. Desserts are large here so order a couple to share. Both were delicious and there was just enough sugar to wake us up from the food coma.
Sven Mede is the Managing Chef at One Pico and he’s doing everything right – from transforming the bounties at the weekly farmer’s market to knowing exactly how to spin the typical Californian dish. If you really want to treat your loved one to one of the most delicious meals they’ve ever had, make a reservation now.