Part of the reason why I named my blog I Have It Bookmarked is because sometimes I will discover a restaurant I want to go to, but it takes a long time for me to get a chance to go. (See previous blog post for a great example of how long it takes…) People will ask me “have you been here?” and my response is usually “I have it bookmarked.” Gjusta is one of those places that I’ve had bookmarked for quite some time.
My first visit to Gjusta was in the evening. I had this brilliant idea to make grilled cheese sandwiches with my panini press at work, so I volunteered an unsuspecting coworker and myself for Soup Monday. Good bread is key to making a great grilled cheese sandwich, so I headed to Gjusta to find us some sourdough.
You can smell the fresh bread right away. Available loaves sit on a rack, and when you order, you can ask for them to slice the bread for you. I had a short discussion about how much bread I would need, and the gentleman behind the counter was able to custom slice what I needed. I ended up with two sourdough loaves and a wonderful seeded rye sourdough. Needless to say, Grilled Cheese Soup Monday was an incredible success.
My second trip was a much longer one. I planned to go back during the daytime so that I could enjoy their courtyards while having the opportunity to sit and have a nice meal. The building is non-descript, there’s no signage anywhere indicating their name or an address, yet everyone seems to know where to go. There’s a small parking lot with accessible parking spots and street parking is free nearby. There is a small courtyard available for seating behind the restaurant as well as an area outside where you can bring your furry friends to sit and eat. There’s a very lovely garden feeling as you dine on wooden benches surrounded by string lights and succulents.
Once you enter, there are several long cases displaying the different options available on the menu. It starts with an Express bar where you’ll find their amazing bread and some pastries. Then follows the cheese, cured meats and smoked fish. The wall behind is lined with canned and pickled goods made by Gjusta.
It works very much like a deli. Pull a number and place your order when your number is called. Once you’ve ordered, you have a choice to sit inside at their bar or outside in their courtyard. The staff will come out to look for you by calling your name.
Here are some things we ordered:
I wanted to order more, but my unsuspecting coworker and the gentleman behind the deli counter insisted that we had ordered enough for 3 people.
Everything we had was wonderful. They don’t offer their charcuterie and cheese plates until 5pm, but we were still able to place an order prior to that time. The charcuterie plate came with three amazing mustards along with pickled onions and artichokes while the cheese plate had a little bit of honeycomb and preserves. It was the perfect blend of sweet, salty and tart in one bite.
The best part is, they serve all their bread warm.
My favorite was the Porchetta Melt. The blend of porchetta, pickled onions and veggies along with the fresh baquette was buttery fatty goodness. Best decision I made all day. We did manage to finish almost everything. I boxed a small portion of the bread and some of the charcuterie plate to go.
It was such a treat to spend time eating and catching up with my good friends. We were even able to make small talk with the people that sat close by. How much better can it get for a Saturday afternoon? We didn’t order dessert and coffee, but there’s always next time.
Definitely consider bookmarking Gjusta the next time you visit Venice Beach.
Photocred: some photos were taken by @mindoft (unsuspecting coworker)