Los Angeles is a hustling and bustling city with so much to do. One of my favorite places in LA is Santa Monica; it has the beach, great shopping, amazing views and the best restaurants. One of my favorites in particular is Élephante, a coastal-casual restaurant with ocean views and a beach-house vibe.

Jill Ridens / Daily Nexus

Élephante is decked out with wicker, wood and stone, which transport guests to the Southern Mediterranean region. To be immersed into this tropical oasis, guests must take an elevator to the third floor. The patio outside is small but probably has the best view. However, every spot in the restaurant is great, as it is so bright and airy, making for great lighting for photos. 

Jill Ridens / Daily Nexus

To the good stuff: food and drinks. What makes Élephante unique is their extensive wine list. Our waitress was very knowledgeable and happy to recommend wines that would go well with our food. Their wines feature mostly Italian brands, with over 30 options. As drinks were delivered to other tables, I couldn’t help but notice the beautiful cocktails that were coming out from the bar! All the cocktails were bright and fun, incorporating that tropical beach-house vibe. 

Jill Ridens / Daily Nexus

My party of two ordered the fried calamari, vodka sauce pasta and gemelli pasta. The vodka sauce pasta was to die for! It was so creamy, perfectly cooked and definitely worth going back for. The gemelli pasta was definitely one of the most unique pastas I’ve had. The pasta has squid ink, Dungeness crab, tomato butter and chili. When the black-colored pasta came out, I was shocked and scared to try it, but it ended up being super delicious. Italian Los-Angelinan Zach DeSanto said, “The only time I have seen squid ink pasta was when I lived in Italy, and seeing it in the States was really cool. I would definitely return for the food and the upbeat vibe.”

Overall, Élephante has a great vibe. It’s definitely hard to make a reservation because it’s so popular, but you just have to plan ahead. It’s a little pricey for the average college student, as the average entree goes for about $30. Definitely check out Élephante if you are in LA or want to make the trip down from SB for a fun night out.

A version of this article appeared on p. 10 of the December 2, 2021 print edition of the Daily Nexus.