A2 Rating Scale (out of 5):
WHAT: Ester’s Wine Shop & Bar
WHERE: Santa Monica
WHEN: 11AM-11PM Sun, Tues – Thurs, 11AM – 12PM Fri-Sat. Closed Mondays.
WHAT TO ORDER: The kouign amann cheese twists ($5) were the perfect combination of cheese and breadstick and with that warm, gooeyness, we could’ve used way more than 3 of them. The summer panzanella salad ($13 – house cultured yogurt, dill & sunflower) was refreshingly light and easy to share. The prosciutto with figs, almonds, arugula and shaved cheese ($14) was not only beautiful but had that salty and sweet thing going which we were all digging. The Domaine rosé from the South of France was two thumbs way up.
WHAT TO SKIP: The hummus w/ crudités ($13) was just bland. Half of the veggies were hot peppers and we were all trying to avoid those (note to our readers, they are easily confusible with sugar peas – don’t be fooled). Also, I was NOT impressed with the cheese and charcuterie selection or presentation. The baller board ($125 for all the meats/cheeses) sounds cool and might look better than what we got, but we ordered 3 cheeses (no charcuterie as we weren’t impressed with the options) and the cheeses were fine but served up with some nutty bread. It looked decent but how am I supposed to taste the full flavor of the cheese when all I can taste is the bread? Think about it! (We heard we weren’t the first people to mention this). With so many bomb.com wine and cheese restaurants and shops out there (shoutout to Venice Wines), if you’re going to claim you’re specializing in this, GET.IT.RIGHT.
WHAT TO KNOW: This hot spot is also part of The Rustic Canyon family. It’s part sit down, part grab and go marketplace. Come for a drink and a bite or pick up some wine and cheese for a hot date. Also, don’t make the same mistake we did and come hungry. We were famished and $60/person later we were still not satisfied.
PROPS TO: Our waitress was SO patient with us and knowledgeable about EVERYTHING on the menu. Not only did she walk us through everything in a very peppy way (gotta love people who love what they do), she didn’t write anything down when taking our order (which made us a little nervous) and did not forget or mess anything up. Gotta give props where it’s due.
WHERE TO SIT: Inside or outside. Both allow for great people watching while keeping it intimate. Also, the chandelier inside adds a great touch. If you’re in a large group, there’s one bigger table outside and one inside so make sure to call ahead.
WHO TO GO WITH: Date night, with friends or family.
WHAT TO WEAR: Dress up, dress down, pretty sure this place doesn’t discriminate.
WHO YOU’LL SEE: Locals grabbing a quick drink and app over a catch up sesh.
EDDR LIFE LESSON: Just because a restaurant is part of a famous big name umbrella, doesn’t mean it’s a guaranteed hit.
A2 FINAL THOUGHT: While we might give it another shot for the wine and plates the next time we’re in that area, when we’re craving a solid cheese and charcuterie board, we’ll be sticking to our go-to’s.
Does the end of Summer mean the end of Rosé season? I think not,
Esters ↔ 1314 7th St., SM, CA 90401 ↔ 310-899-6900