This is one of a full series of articles about interesting food locations along Route 66. See “related articles” or search “Route 66” for the full series.
When it comes to tony restaurants that serve celebrities and pricey (but excellent) food, the Ivy in Los Angeles is definitely on the list.
So, the Ivy at the Shore is a welcome counterpart—the more approachable, laid back sister who isn’t so concerned with celebrity, and more concerned with giving you an elegant experience—even if elegance isn’t your usual style.
Perhaps that’s because the restaurant is right across the street from the Santa Monica Pier, known internationally as the end of Route 66. It’s an intersection that greets people from all over the world and from all walks of life. And, somewhat surprisingly, walking into the Ivy at the Shore could make the end of the road experience just a little more special.
They don’t have a website, and don’t worry unduly about attracting patrons. Instead, they focus on the experience. Here are just a few of the menu items, then, to whet your appetite.
Fresh Spinach and Fresh Ricotta Ravioli with butter and fresh sage. Skillet-Cooked Calamari. Gnocchi alla Romano (a favorite—drenched in cheese). Soft Shell Crab, Skillet-Cooked. Pasta. Risotto. Fish. Steaks.
It’s definitely upscale and old school, but don’t let that stop you. After all, anyplace with pizza on the menu can’t be taking itself too seriously, can it? They come from the Ivy’s wood-burning pizza oven, topped with choices such as Lobster, Provolone and Basil . . . or Creminelli Artisan Salami with Fresh Mozzarella, Provolone, and Roasted Peppers.
If you want pasta, try the Rigatoni with Peas, Sausage and Herbs of Provence topped with the Ivy’s special Fresh Pink Sauce.
Or, go for the Ivy Fish and Chips with Rock Cod, Shrimp, Scallops and Calamari. Or Swordfish Tacos on Homemade Tortillas.
So many great dishes. So little time. At least for this visit.
But, don’t stop there. The restaurant actually started as a dessert restaurant, so, as our server said, “It’s natural they’d be good.”
Apple and Blackberry Crumble with Homemade Tahitian Vanilla Ice Cream. Peach Sorbet. Red Velvet Cake. A one pound box of Homemade Chocolate Chip Cookies, packaged up to just go ahead and take home. Our favorite, though, was the Profiterols with Pistachio, Caramel and Praline Ice Cream (yes, all three) covered with hot fudge sauce. For the record, this special dish consisted of three huge pastry puffs and would feed quite a few, if you are willing to share.
If you make it to Santa Monica—whether for Route 66 or not—check out this alternative to the Ivy, particularly if you care more about the food than celebrity sightings.
Just be sure to go outside and look across at the Pier. Someday you may want to remember—you were at the edge of Route 66. It’s a straight shot back across country from there.