Recently, I was invited by the owners to try Meditrina, a new, family-owned cafe at the somewhat neglected end of trendy Abbot Kinney near Main Street in Venice. Unlike the furniture stores that line both sides of the street, Meditrina is very affordable. They serve breakfast and lunch and offer take out and local delivery.
Meditrina offers such a wide variety of dishes that anyone in your party is likely to find an appealing option on the menu. Most of the breakfast choices are egg-based (omelets and scrambles), but they also serve Belgian waffles, granola, oatmeal, fruit, and a hearty Cuban breakfast of sausage, eggs, plantains, rice, beans, and peppers. For lunch, choose from eight salads, a variety of sandwiches and wraps (all but one meat-based), or a succulent Kobe-style beef burger.
On a Saturday at lunchtime, the indoor part of the cafe is bustling and noisy with kitchen sounds. The sunny, well-decorated outdoor patio with a view of the adjacent nursery is a much more tranquil choice.
You might find yourself groaning inwardly when you reach the Kobe-style burger section of the menu: "Not another restaurant pretending to serve the world's most famous beef!" but the Kobe-style burger with carmelized onions and Fontina cheese is one of the most rich, flavorful, and juicy burgers I have ever had the delight of eating.
The restaurant's signature spicy club sandwich with pan roasted chicken, applewood smoked bacon, roasted red peppers, avocado, jack cheese, and spicy aioli was tasty but messy. The chicken was far more moist and flavorful than any I have eaten in recent memory, but all the ingredients made the sandwich so slippery that I resigned myself to eating it with my fork before I wished I had a bib. Chopping the roasted peppers would have helped, as would leaving the toothpick in while eating the sandwich.
The side salad that accompanied both the burger and the sandwich was less appetizing. The greens were slightly soggy and the overall flavor was unpleasantly bitter. Based on that experience, I wouldn't want to order a salad as a main course.
Gelato almost as good as what you'd consume in Italy is the most interesting dessert option and comes in about fifteen different flavors, including the less commonly seen cinnamon and bacio tartufo (milk chocolate and hazelnut). Gelato is so much heavier and richer than regular ice cream that the generously portioned medium cup for $3.25 will more than fulfill your sweet tooth. It's also made from real ingredients--no green food coloring in the pistachio gelato, but plenty of tiny bits of nuts.
Service-wise, Meditrina still has a few kinks to work out (they can be slow), but they are still pretty new so there's plenty of room for things (like the salad) to improve. In the meantime, the Kobe style burgers and gelato won't let you down.
1029 Abbot Kinney Blvd.
Venice, CA 90291
Tip: When viewing the online menu at Meditrina's website, choose the "print cafe menu" option to more easily view the menu in PDF form.
Tags: Venice Abbot Kinney