Joe Lubitsch, bartender at Cafe Gratitude on Rose Avenue performs a yoga move on the juice bar. A large Whole Foods at the intersection of Lincoln Boulevard and Rose is among the other businesses catering to recent influx of high tech businesses.
Los Angeles – Been There

Dining with Victoria Beckham and friends

Photo by Jonathan Alcorn

Los Angeles – Been There Dining with Victoria Beckham and friends

Welcome to Gjelina – one of the hottest restaurants in Los Angeles.

Marissa Charles
Marissa Charles Travel Writer

“Whoops, sorry.”

A tall blonde, wearing skinny jeans that look as if they are painted on to her body, tries to squeeze her willowy frame through a narrow gap between the wooden tables. Thankfully, I am not the only one who cannot access her table without having her derriere hover over another diner’s plate. Her boyfriend grins and tries to break the ice by saying: “We’re going to get real familiar here.”

We’re in Gjelina – a packed restaurant in Venice, one of the trendiest parts of town. Its interior is as hip as its status – it has a popular spot on Abbot Kinney Boulevard, the street declared to be the “coolest block in America”. It is 8:30 on a Sunday night, the lights are low, old school ska is being pumped into the air and there is a loud hub of chatter.

Between the wooden ceiling and the brick-lined floor is a sea of beanie and flip-flop wearing hipsters. The dress code is smart but casual. Even my waitress looks effortlessly cool in a pair of black slacks, a white tailored shirt and a flat cap. With her good looks and flawless skin, she could easily embody the Hollywood cliché of the out-of-work actor making her way by serving tables.

Since it opened a few years ago, Gjelina has been the place to see and be seen. Through its doors has come a cast of high profile stars, from a screen heartthrob (Ryan Gosling), and the king and queen of hip-hop and R&B (Beyoncé and her rapper husband Jay-Z), to British royalty (Prince Harry). Back in 2011, a heavily pregnant Victoria Beckham reportedly caused a stir when she ordered a smoked trout salad with the dressing on the side in an establishment that has a strict “no substitutions” policy. Even her dining companion, outspoken TV chef Gordon Ramsay was stunned.

It is this caliber of visitors that represents a change in Los Angeles. Venice, L.A. used to be the best-kept secret in the world, now it’s the place where celebrities order their low-calorie salads and hipsters complain over substandard latte art in their cappuccinos. Even though I sometimes long for the old days, when I’m sitting in places such as Gjelina the new Venice seems awfully entertaining.

The coolest block in America – that's right. This Truly Wonderful hotel is just a 10-minute walk away from Gjelina. Ideal in every way!

d4gfh3

The Golden State store on Rose Avenue, which is undergoing a gentrification after Google Inc. opened a campus nearby in the Frank Gehry-designed Binoculars Building on Main Street. Microsoft has also followed more than 40 other tech startups and other media companies to the Venice Beach area which is increasingly referred to as "Silicon Beach". Photo by Jonathan Alcorn / Alamy

Jonathan Alcorn

Jonathan Alcorn

Agency
Alamy

The Golden State store on Rose Avenue, which is undergoing a gentrification after Google Inc. opened a campus nearby in the Frank Gehry-designed Binoculars Building on Main Street. Microsoft has also followed more than 40 other tech startups and other media companies to the Venice Beach area which is increasingly referred to as "Silicon Beach".

Other stories about Los Angeles