Top choice californian in Venice, Marina Del Rey & Playa del Rey

Image by Andy Bender Lonely Planet

The folks behind the standard-setting Gjelina have opened this very casual, very gourmet, very Venice bakery, cafe and deli behind a nondescript storefront on a hidden side street. The menu changes regularly, but if we say lunches of chicken, cabbage and dumpling soup, house-cured charcuterie and fish (such as gravlax, smoked Wagyu brisket and leg of lamb), does that help?

Breakfasts are no slouch either, with an egg sandwich on poppy seed bialy with harissa ketchup and bacon, or a brown-rice mushroom bowl with fermented chili. All that, and it's not above selling coffees and some of the best, fresh-baked croissants, scones and tea cakes around.

Order at the counter, then go enjoy it all at a standing-room counter or on picnic tables in the backyard. It's a little chaotic, sure, but nobody minds when the food is this good.

And to answer a reasonable question…it's pronounced 'JOO-stah.'