Stumbling Toward One-Stop Gourmet Shopping

Santa Monica Place, the mall right by the Third Street Promenade, has just opened The Market, a gourmet bazaar on its third floor. If you're hoping for something like San Francisco's beloved Ferry Building, you've got the right idea ... sort of. Hounds report: We're halfway there. The Market has a nice concentration of high-end goodies, including cured meats and some very nice restaurants, but still lacks fresh produce and a butcher.

For many Chowhounds, the highlight of the Market is a new branch of Los Angeles favorite the Curious Palate. Phurstluv loves the miso-marinated short rib wrap. "So psyched this is near my house and I can become a regular at a spot like this, not lost in a crowd of a place that seats 300." And Curious Palate's homemade ketchup is the best in the city, says Dommy. "It's like the yummiest tomato chutney." You can buy it by the jar.

There's also a Röckenwagner. And a Cast Iron Gourmet, with incredible bacon products, and pork nuts—homemade corn nuts fried in bacon fat. There's a salumeria, and a fresh pasta operation. "The gnocchi (stuffed with ricotta) I bought from him had literally just been hand made," says maudies5.

But the Market doesn't have everything. "All this place needs is a produce vendor, a fresh herb vendor, a fishmonger, and a butcher. Or a few of each. Then it'll be a market. I'm not sure what I would call it now. A half-baked market?" says foodiemahoodie. "As it is, you'd have to park in that truly awful and confusing parking facility, hike up there, buy some stuff, go back to your car, put it in there, then go to the Santa Monica Farmer's market (open two days a week), buy your produce, back to the car AND THEN GO TO ANOTHER MARKET to get the stuff neither location had."

When somebody visits the Ferry Building in SF, it's pretty much a one-stop shopping experience, says bulavinaka. This isn't yet. But bulavinaka has hope: She's seen many other places start half-baked and then fall into place. The real problem is that, of the vendors, "many are rehashes of familiar vendors and eateries located in or close to the Westside. While many have satisfactory to great reputations, I personally was sort of meh about this," says bulavinaka. "I think with some true creativity by the mall powers, regular input by consumers (both vocally and monetarily), this might have a chance."

The Market at Santa Monica Place [Westside - Beaches]
395 Santa Monica Boulevard, Santa Monica

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