Larry's Venice: A Legit Gastropub In Venice Beach

Venice Beach is growing up... at least when it comes to foodie options. Case in point: Larry's Venice, an open-air, (nearly) beachfront joint regularly packed with locals (gasp!) and a menu filled with sophisticated fare. Don't believe me? Stop by during the day and join sun-worshippers on Larry's expansive patio, sipping craft beers and noshing on fried chicken Caesar baguettes and pork cheek "BLTs." At night, the sun-worshippers make way for hungry young professionals and Venice locals, unwinding while enjoying pizzas and house made charcuterie plates. Friendly banter takes place under the night sky, aglow from countless string bulbs and Larry's mosaic-tiled fireplace. 

Larry's Exterior (Photo Credit: LA Times)
While it might sound too good to be true for a beach boardwalk notorious for European tourists, West Coast juiceheads and hallucinating hippies, Larry's Venice was a long-time in the making. Mark and Erwin Sokol -- Hotel Erwin pioneers -- joined forces with Waterloo & City Chef Brendan Collins to bring Venice Beach a legitimate gastropub dedicated to serving more than just hot dogs and pizza slices on the boardwalk. 

Duck & Pistachio Pate | Seasonal Marmalade, House Made Pickles, Toast

Potted Chicken Liver & Foie Gras Parfait | Sweet Potato Jam, House Made Pickles, Toasted Brioche
Collins' menu, all priced from $8-$15, is affordable yet inspired, filled with the chef's signature pates, charcuterie, small plates and, dare I say, a selection of pizzas whose crust outperform those of a certain N. Silverton. At the bar, craft beers abound. Twenty six, to be exact. Even my beer snob husband would be impressed with the selection. 

Brussels Sprout Pizza | Bacon, Parmesan, Chili Vinegar

Shrimp Diablo Pizza | Roasted Poblanos, Cilantro

Bacon & Eggs | Sous Vide Pork Belly, Asparagus, Egg
While Larry's has only been opened since mid-August, Collins' menu has very few misses. His vision for the small yet satisfying menu clearly benefits from his professional chef experience just a few miles east in Culver City. Potted chicken liver and foie gras parfait comes complete with sweet potato jam, house made pickles and toasted brioche. Shrimp Diablo pizza makes good on its name, delivering a touch of heat tempered by wisps of cilantro. Brussels sprouts atop a crisp, bubbly pizza crust intermingle with bacon and chili oil, turning a traditional side course into a killer meal. 

Seared King Scallops | Pistou, Basil, Snow Pea Salad

Braised Colorado Lamb Shank | "Acini de Pepe"

Bacon-Wrapped Organic Salmon | Roast Beets, Gnocchi, Horseradish
A cleverly named bacon and eggs feature sous vide pork belly topped with asparagus and a meticulously cooked egg. And one look at the braised Colorado lamb shank and the meat practically falls off the bone into the bed of "acini de pepe" pasta below. Green curry mussels were among the best I've had, packed with ginger, Fresno chile and a sauce made for soaking charred bread. Desserts are fun and filling, from a DIY ice cream sundae with homemade maraschino whipped cream and candy toppings to Collins' tried-and-true sticky toffee pudding. 

Sticky Toffee Pudding

DIY Ice Cream Sundae | Vanilla Bean Ice Cream, Maraschino Whipped Cream, Gummy Bears, M&M Candies, Chopped Nuts

Crumble | Vanilla Bean Ice Cream
So grab some friends and an appetite and head down to the boardwalk. Sip on boutique brews and order a few pizzas, the mussels, charcuterie and perhaps an entree. A few bites of each will do. Some food for thought: while Larry's might be changing the foodie scene, it hasn't cracked the code behind Venice's terrible parking situation. Tip: Valet is available in front of the restaurant on Windward Ave. 

Larry's Venice
24 Windward Avenue
Venice, CA 90291

Larry's is open for lunch and dinner seven days a week from 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. 

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