Travis Lett is "the Mozart of Abbot Kinney," says Ciao Bob. At Lett's restaurant, Gjelina, "the consistent excellence of nearly everything I've had on so many occasions now from such a wunderkind is truly mind- and mouth-boggling," says Ciao Bob. "He gets pizza, he gets brunch, he gets lamb, he gets (especially) fish and vegetables—and he gets it all SO right!"
How could you not love Gjelina's bottarga pizza, demands Ciao Bob. "Jeez, is that good, or what?" It's not always on the menu, but if you have a reservation and call a few days in advance, you can sometimes get it anyway.
Ciao Bob's other favorites include anything with farmers' market vegetables, plus burrata dishes, crudos, pizza, and whatever involves mussels, fish, or lamb chops.
"To prove that you cannot judge a book by its cover, [Travis Lett is] the furthest thing from my mental picture of a great chef (think Prudhomme ... ): The guy looks like he was just rescued from a few years shipwrecked on a desert island or as if he has been in training for the Nairobi marathon team," says Ciao Bob. "In fact, the whole young, hypercommitted staff of Gjelina appears [as if] ... they ought to be modeling underwear, not slinging such amazing world-class chow."
Gjelina [Westside – Beaches]
1429 Abbot Kinney Boulevard, Venice