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  • Writer's pictureJose Martinez


Updated: Mar 13

It was a bold move to open a high-end restaurant and nightlife destination during the pandemic, but kudos to the folks at Twelve Twelve Santa Monica for surviving and thriving.


Located on the actual Third Street Promenade, it was outdoor dining galore at the height of Covid-19 and now it’s festive and fun indoors and outdoors at a space that boasts a sweeping 10,000 square feet.

With a menu curated by Chef Oliver Sebastian Malmsten, this ristorante aptly blends traditional Tuscan flavors with inventive twists. With a vibrant atmosphere and the introduction of Discoteca, Twelve Twelve Santa Monica has become a culinary and entertainment destination in the heart of Santa Monica.


As you approach Twelve Twelve, you’ll notice the charming outdoor space with firepit. Step inside and you’ll run into the bar area. And past that, is the lovely, cavernous dining room that’s expansive and engaging. Upstairs there’s more seating as well as a cool and charming private party space.


We started our recent visit for dinner with a round of the Okura Old Fashioned. Made with Japanese whiskey, angostura bitters, amaro Montenegro, demerara sugar cube, and luxardo maraschino cherry, this is good way to start the night.


If you’re feeling really festive, you may opt for the Gooseberry with Grey Goose Vodka, St. Germain liqueur, house-made blackberry puree, and fresh lemon. I tend to like my cocktails on the stiffer side so the Old Fashioned was right up my alley but this one works too.


I highly recommend starting with the Crostinis. Italian for “little bread”, the crostinis are small, thin slices of toasted bread deliciously topped to please the palate. The Truffle Honey with chevre, pine nuts, and rocket arugula, as well as the Sausage & Porcini with saliciccia, mushrooms, and taleggio cheese are out of this world good. Glorious!  And don’t sleep on the Tomato & Basil with red and yellow tomatoes, and the Caponata & Burrata with ratatouille and burrata as both also solid choices.

If you’re looking for heartier fare, go with the Wild Boar Tagliatelle. Slow cooked ragu with celery root cream and sweet and sour red onion, the flavors are off the charts here. It’s filling and fantastic.


Chef recommended the Parmigiana Ravioli with eggplant, zucchini pesto, toasted almonds, and sundried tomato. I was skeptical as I tend to hate eggplant but this was marvelous. The presentation is lovely and the taste is quite mighty. Maybe it was the pesto but I really enjoyed this one—much to my surprise.

For entrees, the Roasted Salmon with vegetable cous cous, broccolini, and roasted red pepper sauce is a good, healthy option. It doesn’t always have to be decadent when you dine out. Also, the Filet Mignon with celery root puree, Tuscan kale, and truffle sauce is a crowd-pleaser for any carnivore.

And if you have room for dessert, the “Amaretto” Tiramisu with Italian lady fingers, mascarpone, espresso and cocoa is very nice. The Camilla Cake—carrot cake, passionfruit, caramel—is a pleasant and less guilty dish. Or opt for liquid dessert (my favorite) and go with the Espresso Martini with Absolut Vanilla Vodka, Black Hjerte Coffee Liqueur, illy cold brew espresso, and coffee beans. If you don’t mind the combination of booze and coffee, this is a good way to finish dinner, especially if you plan to hit the Discoteca afterwards.


FYI, Happy Hour includes house wines for $8 and cocktails for $9 as well as bottomless Aperol Spritz for $19 with a 90-minute limit. And weekend brunch features bottomless mimosas so the good times always flow here.


Twelve Twelve Santa Monica is located at 1212 Third Street Promenade. Open daily from 5pm to close. Open Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 11am to close. Call (310) 576-9996.

All Photos Except 1, 2, 5 and 8 By: Ryan Tanaka


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