One recent winter day, I was in Santa Monica for a consultation at The Gourmandise School on Fourth Street near Colorado Place. I’m interested in opening a business related to food so I wanted to talk to the master-owner about the “business of food.” Since I arrived early, I decided to check out the dining deck at the Santa Monica Place mall for a quick bite. That’s when I happened onto an oasis called The Curious Palate. And by oasis, I mean a literal one with palm trees, a spacious patio, and the smell of the nearby Pacific Ocean.
After driving miles from the San Fernando Valley, I felt like a guest from another city. But as soon as I walked into The Curious Palate, I felt right at home. A friendly hostess encouraged me to sit where I wanted.
The restaurant has a bar and seating area. It was not a busy time, but I can imagine how packed this restaurant gets on weekends. Since I was so close to the ocean, I just had to have the Fish n’ Chips ($24*). My drink of choice was the Arnold Palmer ($3), which was very floral. I believe their method of brewing the tea or choice of lemonade ingredients are a little unorthodox. Nevertheless, it was different. In fact, so different that I had to ask for a refill. When my father tastes something good, like cake, he’ll say, “Don’t eat this, it’s bad for you” so that he can have more of it.
When the fish and chips arrived at the table, my first thought was, how thoughtful to put a salad next to fried fried fish and chips—maybe I won’t feel so bad when I eat the fried goodness! For the fish, I was offered two dip choices. I was a little skeptical about the brownish sauce, it had a BBQ taste to it. But the tartar sauce was a crowning achievement. Now I’ve had Bob’s Big Boy tartar sauce on my salmon burgers, which tastes great. But it doesn’t compare to The Curious Palate’s tartar sauce, which was so tasty, fresh and chunky.
Other lunch fare at The Curious Palate includes “handhelds”—sandwiches with flair, like wraps with pork belly and miso slaw in a flour tortilla ($16) or the Spicy Thai Satay Sandwich ($16) on five-grain bread. They also serve burgers, tacos, salads, soups, pastas, and entrees, like grilled swordfish, steak, and beer poached peel & eat wild shrimp ($29).
Next time you’re oceanside in Santa Monica, make sure to head over to The Curious Palate on the third floor of the Santa Monica mall where they live up to their motto: Eat well. Have fun. Get curious.
*Prices at time of review; subject to change
The Curious Palate
395 Santa Monica Place
Santa Monica, CA 90401
Hours: 11am–10pm, Fri-Sat 11am–9pm, Sun-Thurs
Natalie Majidi writes a blog called The Restaurant Bum, where she explores the restaurant and food scene across the Southland. She spends her time eating and writing… And boxing, to kick some butt! When she doesn’t explore, she works at Costco Wholesale.