Élephante Beach House, Santa Monica

If you want to feel like you’ve been transported to the Southern Mediterranean- while enjoying “light Italian” fare, make a visit to the indoor/outdoor lounge style restaurant Élephante Beach House in Santa Monica. With three bars, an extensive wine selection, tasty cuisine and a view of the ocean that will undoubtedly take your breath away- this eatery is an obligatory sky-high and “sceney” LA experience.

The restaurant describes itself as “a place to come and relax, where a tranquil afternoon can turn into decadent dinner and flow into a lively late night scene.” It’s a fabulous balance of the laid back California lifestyle mixed with the trendy glitz and glam of LA life.

The decor and ambiance are inspired by owner and designer Nick Mathers from a trip to Pantelleria, an Italian island about 20 miles south of Sicily. Élephante Beach House is full of custom-made furniture and design touches of natural wood, stone, and copper including pieces from Northern Africa and Southern Italy.

Two blocks from Santa Monica state beach and up on the third story overlooking an endless ocean beyond- this rooftop restaurant sets the bar high for future oceanside cocktail drinking experiences. And the food is almost as pretty as the view…

For cocktails I started off with an Aperol Spritz, because it’s a summertime classic- and you can’t go wrong with a spritz paired with a sea breeze. I then moved onto the signature “Élephante”- Passionfruit, Lemon, Meletti, and Calabrian Chili paired with your choice of liquor (mine’s always vodka!).

We ordered the $35 three-course “express lunch” which came with choice of an appetizer, entree and dessert. I started with the Tuscan Kale Salad featuring flavors of green apple, pepitas, radish, and gorgonzola vinaigrette- followed by the Rigatoni alla Norma which was deliciously “al dente” and topped with a generous dollop of burrata, tomatoes, eggplant, and basil. All of this delicious food and drink was finished off with a light and fluffy slice of tiramisu.

I would 100% recommend making a reservation for your visit. And here’s an insider secret: the best view isn’t from the tables on the deck (unless you seek to take in the vista of a nice parking lot below). The best views are from the tables immediately inside behind the floor to ceiling windows, in the shade (and just removed enough from the outdoors that you can enjoy your food without having a flashback of that one time at the beach a seagull flew down and literally swooped a sandwich from out of your hands).

In addition to the food, the diversity in the selection of cocktails at Élephante is unparalleled. A few of the highlights include:

Draft cocktails like the “Marco Polo Mule”- Toki Japanese Whiskey, Top Hat Ginger Beer, and Lemon or the “Summer Slushee”- Tito’s Vodka, Limoncello di Capri, Mango, Lemon, and Honey.

Shaken cocktails like the “Winter Elephant”- Nosotros Reposado, Spiced Pear, Lime, Orgeat, and Cinnamon or the “Better Republic”- Santa Teresa 1796 Rum, Pineapple, Lime, Fernet, Bruto, and Mint.

And many, many more stirred and classic drinks.

Élephante Beach House is located at 1332 2nd Street, Rooftop Santa Monica, CA, 90401. Hours are Mon-Wed 12pm-12am, Thurs & Fri 12pm-1am, Sat 10am-1am and Sunday 10am-10pm.

Élephante offers brunch from 10am-3pm on Saturday and Sunday.

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