Santa Monica, CA

Mescolata Salad assorted organic greens, roasted tomatoes, sliced almonds
Verde Salad arugula, spinach, avocado, oven-dried tomatoes, pine-nuts w/o parmesan crisp
Bellasoia Pizza
gluten free dough, tomato sauce, soy cheese, mix mushrooms, carmelized onions

We pulled up to the restaurant to meet our friends Patrick and Emily, and two of their friends. One of the girls we had never met, welcomed us with a flurry of cheerleader type jumps, kicks and whoots. It was bound to be a fun night. With no reservation we walked right in and got a table for 6. This seemed rare but we were going with it. Upon being seated we ordered some drinks and the night was kicked off. The typically unalterable specialty cocktails were all made with grain alcohols, so I was pleasantly surprised when they made an exception for this gluten-free girl and allowed a customization to incorporate tequilla. My notion that this place was suitable for just about any dietary restriction was confirmed once I opened the menu. It was flooded with icons representing vegetarian, vegan & GF items! We were in heaven. We immediately settled on individual salads and splitting a pizza. The salads were fresh, flavorful and sizeable. We were off to a good start with the food and already well into stimulating convos ranging from jewelry design and wedding rings, to rock stars and working from home. Two drinks in and our pizza arrived. Starved and just psyched about being at a hip restaurant and getting pizza, we dug in. I wouldn’t say it was one of the most flavorful pies I’ve ever had, but it was tasty. Always looking for ways to add a little heat to my meals, the waitress brought a tiny vile with a dropper labeled chili oil. It looked like something out of the chem lab but that just made it that much more appealing. A few drops of this sucker and a new world opened up. There was not an item of food on the table that wasn’t sprinkled with chili oil. It was a hit.

I’d get another salad hands down and probably try another dish from the menu. If you aren’t gluten-free then no doubt, order a pasta. They not only looked outrageous, they were homemade and highly praised by our dining companions.