Los Angeles is a city of transplants, as many of us have uprooted ourselves from where we were born and bred to create lives in the Southern California sun. We come together to share traditions from our pasts, form new ones of our own, and are lucky enough to sincerely call this City of Angels home.
With the influx of people from all over bringing with them their unique backgrounds and cultural flavors, it’s no wonder the restaurant and bar scene has such an improvisational air to it. New hot-spots pop up almost daily; and, if you ask anyone for their advice on the U.S. cities with the most dynamic food, it’s no doubt that Los Angeles ranks high. But, what better to help a new place begin to feel like home than a dependable and familiar neighborhood go-to? I recently sung the praises of one of my top-choice beachy eateries, Playa Provisions (see the post here!) Still, with so many options right outside my doorstep, my list inevitably continues. Another contender for my favorite menu is nestled comfortably on Abbott Kinney Boulevard in Venice, and it’s a perfect reminder of the melting-pot that L.A. truly is.
Gjelina Take Away
Together forming a foodie trifecta in Venice are three restaurants, Gjelina, Gjelina Take Away, and Gjusta (the latter is the youngest addition to the family – a bakery inspired by an east-coast Jewish/Italian deli). Co-owned by Shelley Kleyn, Travis Lett, and Fran Camaj (Gjelina is named after Camaj’s mother, and Gjusta, after his aunt!), this trio of restaurants seamlessly combines traditional Italian cuisine with the contemporary farm-to-table California taste. The little sister to its neighboring restaurant, Gjelina, Gjelina Take Away (affectionately known as GTA) serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner seven days a week. Offering a quicker experience than dining-in next door, GTA has all the perks of this popular establishment without the wait.
Walking into GTA in the morning never fails to intrigue me, as the eclectic mix of patrons is rarely repeated. And, those who stumble upon this hidden spot find themselves faced with a gorgeous spread of daily items displayed to entice each passerby, and all made from seasonal, local ingredients.
In my quest to find the best breakfast sandwich in LA, GTA caught – and kept – my attention. Braised kale, melted gruyere, a crisp, yet runny, fried egg, thick-cut bacon, and hot sauce (if you want it!) on a grilled English muffin…this sandwich may look small, but it’s packed with mighty flavor. And, when I decide to give-in to my need for a treat, GTA’s version of the popular granola and yogurt option beats out its competition. Served with honey and seasonal fresh fruit, the granola is made in-house and is perfectly chewy, sweet, and salty.
So, if you’re planning a trip to L.A., you’ll be able to find authentic food from all over the world, no matter your taste. But, if a reliably-delicious breakfast is what you’re after, with market-driven ingredients and beautifully delivered dishes, this eatery has everything you’d hope to experience during a treat-yourself morning out.
Travelers’ Bonus: Gjelina Take Away puts you smack in the middle of one of the hippest shopping streets in Los Angeles, Abbot Kinney Boulevard. After you clean the butter and egg yolk off your face and fingers, pop into the boutiques and art galleries for trendsetting fashion, clever gifts, and musings of all sorts. You could easily spend a couple hours taking it all in as you digest your mouthwatering morning meal.
Gjelina Take Away (GTA)
1427 Abbot Kinney Blvd. (two blocks north of Venice Blvd.)
*Shae is our guest blogger from Los Angeles. An educator whose lust for experience influences her teaching, she travels with the desire to immerse herself in diverse cultures, seeking new adventure and inspiring others to engage with compassion and expand their world view. Follow Shae on Instagram! @seekvantage