Where to eat in LA: Massilia
I’m always looking for a restaurant that feels as gourmet as the food. I want to bring date night to have flower arrangements, a charming patio, and the kind of service that feels as though I’m dining somewhere warm and familiar.
Massilia, a finely-crafted Italian, French and Moroccan restaurant, has all of that.
Chris and I starting our Santa Monica evening on the patio outside. I ordered la francaise, a passion fruit cocktail with grey goose, which arrived in just a moment with a sweet flower floating on top.
I don’t think I’ve ever experienced such exceptional service, even from the moment I was greeted. Several waiters stopped to say hello and explain the menu or refill my drink. Each was so friendly and easy to chat with. I added one of the waitresses on Instagram because she was so kind and sweet. After mulling over the options, Chris ordered the spanish albondigas and roasted red peppers bruschetta. It arrived within a few minutes.
Chris thought the meatballs were juicy and spicy, absolute perfection. My bruschetta had an olive oil dressing that reminded me of tapas from Spain. We licked our plates and ordered entrees, the chicken tagine, sole meuniere, and moroccan couscous royal.
One of the reasons I was so excited about visiting Massilia is because of the reminiscing of my summer spent in Morocco. I stayed with a local family and we ate on the outdoor patio every warm night. Cooking was the most important task of the day. I spent hours alongside my friends in the kitchen, learning how to add cinnamon to rice and how to perfectly knead pastry dough. I’ve memorized the flavors of cumin, golden raisins, and tumeric. I was almost afraid that another restaurant might try to replicate Moroccan tagine and put some weird Californian spin on the recipe, but Massilia matched the tagine flavors I remember. The couscous and chicken was the perfect dish for a cool spring evening: warm, hints of spice, with cinnamon raisins to add a little something sweet.
For dessert, we sampled the baked apple with gelato and the espresso affogato. It was Chris’ first affogato, and when he poured an espresso shot over chocolate shards and vanilla gelato, his face was brimming with joy. I have a feeling there’s going to be a lot more affogatos at Massilia in our future Friday evenings.
What I ordered:
roasted red peppers bruschetta
moroccan couscous royal
1445 4th Street
Santa Monica, CA, 90401