While Mexican food is a ubiquitous and integral part of Los Angeles culture (indeed many are adamant the city boasts the best incarnation you’ll find north of the border), Spanish options are shamefully thin on the ground. The latest attempt to right this wrong comes in the form of Taberna Arros Y Vi from restaurateur Michael Cardenas (Lazy Ox Canteen), though the venture hasn’t been without its hiccups with the pre-launch departure of chef Perfecto Rocher, now replaced by chef Verite Mazzola. Despite that, so confident is Cardenas of his new spot’s worth that he’s chosen to lay his hat only blocks away from Santa Monica’s popular little Spanish bolthole Bar Pintxo.
The energetic Taberna Arros Y Vi bar, adorned in copper and deer antlers, serves up the obligatory rosta of sangria but with an experimental edge, like a honey and melon mix made bubbly with grapefruit and prosecco, or a Burgundy-based punch with strawberry and citrus undertones. Meanwhile, the restaurant plates up fat New Zealand mussels in a creamy, chorizo-infused broth; individual-sized pans of saffron-infused paella (boasting both a decent socarrat and bomba rice with bite), topped with seafood, morcilla blood sausage, chorizo, and fava beans; and desserts, such as a creamy but perfectly firm flan, round of the menu in traditional Iberian style. Olé!
1403 2nd St / Santa Monica / +1 310 393 3663 / 11.30am-10.30pm Mon-Wed & Sun, until 11pm Thu-Sat / tabernala.com