Today is: Monday, July 15, 2024

La Serenata De Garibaldi Restaurant Review

La Serenata started on March of 1985 when Jose and Aurora Rodriguez decided to open a small establishment. It became one of the few area restaurants able to simultaneously offer two of life's greatest pleasures: exquisite cuisine coupled
with a picturesque location. The original idea was to introduce his style of
cooking to the Los Angeles community, never imagining that the
restaurant would reach the heights it has.

Creating a variety of dishes and sauces to better satisfy the taste buds of their
clientele became the emphasis. Throughout the years Jose has been able to
conjure up an interesting menu which has helped further develop his style
in cooking. This in turn has given him a positive response from their
regular loyal clientele. Their goal is to continue giving their best in
maintaining to prime quality of food and excellent service.

As fame was growing the Rodriguez family branched out to two
more restaurants: West Los Angeles and Santa Monica.

The Serenata restaurants take pride in their Mexican style seafood. There is no compromise on freshness of the food and health consciousness, well prepared
with the best ingredients and olive oil, and absolutely no lard. On-site,
homemade tortillas and desserts are baked daily by our
pastry chef Marco Rodriguez (Jose's son).

The fish tacos are embellished with avocado and cilantro, the gorditas are stuffed with delicious shrimp, and the salmon enchiladas are fragrant with fresh oregano. The mouth-watering Mexican sea bass Veracruzana strewn with olives, capers,
roasted tomato, white wine, in a clear, spicy and delicate sauce, giant
shrimps with a brilliant, green cilantro sauce or the
halibut with smoldering chipotle sauce.

Jose Rodriguez is a man with an exquisite taste memory. He has been called the "Maestro de Salsas" in Los Angeles, particularly of sauces for seafood. Currently, there are more than 30 salsas in his repertory. His exquisite slightly sweet
mole (best with chicken) is so delicious it is almost like dessert.

Jose clearly has a soft spot for his four-chile alarm salsa molcajete, studded with diced avocado, which electrifies his salmon. In fact Mr. Rodriguez believes it is the oldest sauce in Mexican cooking. He is also known for his excellent sopas. Except for a
kick of chile and a little cream, his soups sing of the essence of carrots or turnips
or garbanzo beans (see photo), or portabella mushrooms. And the broth for
his full-meal caldos, broths bobbing with shrimp, fish, and vegetables
is an alchemist's potion of water, olive oil, and a squirt of lime,
perfumed with strands of epazote and cilantro.

La Serenata di Garibaldi, in Santa Monica is just steps from the Santa Monica pier.
It is easily accessible, and is backed by a parking lot with ample parking
although convenience is hardly the restaurant's most attractive feature.

The space consists of an interior dining room and bar/lounge, plus a second
floor ideal for parties and celebrations. The interior design,
ensures that every seat in the house has a view.

And what a view it is. We're seated in one of many tables lining the wall of glass,
and find ourselves faced with a prime view of the boardwalk in front of us. It
may be one of the most picturesque vantage points in all of Santa Monica.

While the lunch menu contains elegant renditions of familiar Mexican staples tacos, ceviche, tosdadas, the dinner menu seems to depart from traditional Mexican
cuisine. While the country's influence is certainly present, there is
no street food here. Instead, we find a refined cuisine that
draws on the flavors and traditions of Mexico but
simultaneously breaks away from tradition.

Cadillac Margarita

We did not have to order anything, since
they prepared a tray of some of their specialties.
We order their signature Margaritas, which were great!

Garbanzo Bean Soup

We each also sampled a steaming bowl of
their signature Garbanzo Bean soup. This richly
dense concoction is a cream of garbanzo bean soup
made with chicken stock. We savored the first spoonful and quickly
understood why this particular soup had come so highly recommended.

Although La Serenata also features a wide range of wonderful dishes featuring veal, lamb, duck and Angus beef, my guest and I decided to stay with the seafood theme that had already been established, and ended up being extremely impressed with
the entrées that our server eventually brought to the table with a flourish.

Filete de Tomate con Queso y Chiles Asados , was a
light salad, that I thought was pretty good.

The we had 2 dishes featuring a variety of their most wanted dishes: We do
not know their real sizes, since ours was just to try. Here they are:

Flautas de Carne Deshebrada; Dos Enchiladas de Queso; Carne Asada,
Bistecitos Rancheros and their Enchiladas de Pollo. All these
entrees had a great home made taste.

Next we sampled their Camarones, (Shimps), Picadillo Mexicano, Exquisit Pollo Deshuesado en Mole, and their Mahi Mahi. I wanted to try their famous Halibut, which never made to our table… but I will certainly return and try it next time!

Refried beans with their mole sauce

We also got a sample of their refried beans with
their mole sauce, which was very good!

Assorted Desserts

We had little room for dessert, but they all seemed to be very good. The special
Tres Leches dulce we were served was covered in a wonderful sauce
made with rich goat's milk and had a resonant caramel richness
that was the perfect topper to our fine meal.
If anyone should ever need a good reason to venture off the beaten track in search
of a great, 'undiscovered' restaurant in the Santa Monica area, I can
certainly assure them that La Senerata di Garibaldi is it!

For map and location click Here!

For more information please visit their website at

Article By: Mary Adams
Photos By: Chris Marx

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