Walking into the garden oasis at Fia, you’ll notice that the 300-seat indoor-outdoor space is totally romantic without being an in-your-face date night spot. Warm wooden decking, strings of Edison lightbulbs and lush landscaping throughout multiple distinct entertaining areas of the coastal Craftsman home lend an elevated patio party vibe similar to Bungalow, but for a much more seasoned clientele.
The serious bar program is in line with that elevated outlook. Vincenzo Marianella, who’s often credited with starting the modern cocktail movement in Los Angeles at his Westside bar Copa d’Oro, is overseeing the drinks at Fia. The bar itself is situated in a gorgeous space somewhat separate from the patio and dining room areas, and boasts a fireplace, Spanish tiles and a beautifully curated selection of Italian amaro. Since closing Copa, Marianella has traveled the world on his motorcycle, and the global influence is reflected in the cocktail menu, which includes iterations of spritzes and sours, with a menu of local brews that includes hard kombucha and beer from Santa Monica Brew Works.
With 40 dishes on offer, chef Brendan Collins’ menu is almost dauntingly ambitious, but thankfully there aren’t many misses.
There’s a raw section to start, with a lovely hamachi bathed in a Peruvian leche de tigre—essentially a punchy ceviche marinade with some added basil and radish. You’d be remiss to not order a dish that showcases Collins’ deft charcuterie skills, like the luxurious chicken liver mousse layered between traditional French macaron cookies, a perfect combination of savory and sweet. Another fan favorite is the lobster bucatini—a famous Amalfi Coast dish—here done with squid ink pasta, San Marzano tomatoes and lobster foam.
Fia is the quintessential coastal combo of great food, design and atmosphere: a wonderful addition to Santa Monica not just for locals, but for destination diners also looking for a taste of California living.
Photography by: Patio photo by Wonho Frank Lee; salmon crudo photo by Michael Grecco Photography