The opening of the new Santa Monica Place mall has been exciting for those of us who knew the old, tired mall that stood in its place years ago. Perhaps some of the most exciting parts have been the new food options, some of which are entirely new to Los Angeles. La Sandia and Zengo from chef Richard Sandoval are two of those new restaurants.
I was invited to try out the food and drink at both places last week, and I came away from the experience pleasantly surprised. These restaurants — the Mexican La Sandia and the Latin-Asian fusion Zengo — are nicer than your usual mall joints, with some pretty respectable cocktails, too.
We started out with cocktails and appetizers at La Sandia. My favorite drink was the cucumber-serrano martini made with mezcal, cucumber, serrano chili, citrus and chili piquin salt on the rim. I love spicy hotness as well as cucumber in my drinks, so this was the prefect combination. I also really enjoyed the shrimp quesadillas made with shrimp, Mexican cheeses, black bean puree, chipotle aioli and topped with crema and avocado. So tasty!