For my birthday recently, "Lindyhopper" and "Bicycletta" - my bestest friends ever for among other things brushing aside their own aversion to 'gourmet' - indulged me in a choice between Cleo or Fig. We originally decided on Cleo, but since we couldn't get reservations last minute, ended up at the fanta-bulous (but a bit further away) Fairmont Hotel in Santa Monica.
I had been dying to go for a long time - but held off due to the relatively high prices for casual-sounding fare. I knew that many foodies whose opinion I respected love the place though - so I was ecstatic when Lindyhopper and Bicycletta said they would bring me!!
The Fairmont Miramar is an unexpected treat rooted just a block or so from the Pacific ocean. Though not quite beachfront, it is a lush, lovely retreat that you would never expect to find just steps away from the sea of humanity ebbing and flowing up and down Third Street Promenade. Just off of Wilshire and Ocean, the hotel's main entrance is grand, and breathtaking - with its wrought iron gates, long cobblestoned driveway and dramatic over-century-old Moreton Bay Fig tree (from which the restaurant draws its name) serving as centerpiece.
There is a cheese and charcuterie bar, but I wasn't about to abuse the goodwill of my hostesses! I did however feel compelled to order off Fig's cocktail list, which is just as mouthwatering as their menu - always seeking discoveries, I decided to go with the Rosemary & Rhubarb cocktail, which was light and refreshing and reinforced my recent preference for savory ingredients in my drinks.
Bicycletta was on a health kick and went with a Chopped Salad - which she loved. But I don't normally like raw vegetables so I didn't taste or photograph it. But I did capture all three of our desserts!
Of the three we ordered, I actually liked Bicycletta's the best: Melrose Apple Tatin with Caramel and Sea Salt Ice Cream ($9). The pastry base was served at just the right temperature - somewhere between warm and scorching hot - and was incredibly buttery and flaky. The whole thing was topped with powdered sugar, then crowned by a scoop of caramel and sea salt ice cream that showed the chef's skill in restraint with sweetness.
As for me, there are a few things that have a Pavlovian effect on me that is beyond control (e.g. black winter truffle, foie gras, bacon, Parisian macarons, champagne truffles...) and Nutella is one of them. So when I saw the Nutella and Chocolate Tart with Candied Hazelnuts, Marshmallow Cream ($9) on the menu, I went for it like a puppy going off leash on the beach for the first time.
Our friendly server brought the plate out with a candle on it - sweet! - and I loved the presentation immediately (especially the round of torched Marshmallow Cream). Unfortunately, the tart itself was way too dense and rich, which made the beautiful toasted marshmallow an overwhelming addition. The candied hazelnuts were a nice touch, adding light crunch to counterbalance the density of the tart.
Lindyhopper, a fellow chocoholic, ordered the Chocolate Pot au Creme with Market Berries, Sable Cookies ($9). This was rich and creamy, and delicious with the fresh berries.
All in all, a truly great meal and great for a special occasion splurge. Though, those who are lucky enough to live / work on the Westside can take advantage of Fig's happy hour pricing - 50% off ALL items on menu between 5-6pm Tuesday-Saturday! (Thanks to SinoSoul for the tip! Though some sites have been reporting this "Fig at Five" deal is offered daily, when I talked to the hostess recently she said the deal is only on Tuesdays through Thursdays. So I'd recommend you call the restaurant to confirm the deal before you go!)
Anyways, thanks again Lindyhopper, Bicycletta - and Fig - for an unforgettable meal - love you guys!!!!!
On a 7 point scale:
Flavor - 6 bites
Presentation - 5.5 bites
Originality - 5.5 bites
Ambience - 6 stars
Service - 6 stars
Overall experience - 6 bites
Price - $$$ (3 bite marks)
Probability of return visit - 100%___________________________________________________________
Fig Santa Monica
Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows
101 Wilshire Boulevard, Santa Monica CA, 90401
OpenTable: Look for reservations