La Puglia (Santa Monica, CA)

Last week, while deciding to grab some comestibles to picnic at North Campus at UCLA (amongst the serenity in the sculpture garden), we were intending to head to Posh Cafe for some of their quiche and panini’s but made a detour across the street to what appears to be a new Italian/Mediterranean bakery marketplace, La Puglia.

It’s a bakery cum marketplace cum restaurant.

They offer fresh baked Italian bread (full and half loaves), various provisions for sale geared towards the hoity-toity Whole Foods/Gelson crowd (think organic EVOO, tuna conserve from Italy, organic and non-GMO pasta sauces), and a decent menu of pizzas and pastas.

We picked up a half loaf of Puccia, some pureed fava beans, a calzone, and some roasted vegetables.

The Puccia was really the standout. It had a nice crusty exterior, and a very chewy bite to it. (They should really make a sandwich out of this bread). It paired perfectly with the fava beans. The calzone was good, but not memorable. Roasted vegetables we all felt was a bit oily.

We actually went back to pick up some more of the Puccia. It was that enjoyable.

La Puglia
1621 Wilshire Blvd
Santa Monica, CA

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Good to know it’s finally open. I haven’t been able to find much (any) intel, so your report is appreciated. I never say no to bread and pizza, so I’ll be trying the Puccia soon.

Tangential question: do you like Posh Cafe? I’ve passed by many times but never stopped in… BTW, Santa Monica Pizza Kitchen (not too far away) is quite respectable, esp if you like a white slice.

I don’t like it so much as it is convenient.

We usually just drop by when/if we are the car dealer next door. If we weren’t such lazy asses we’d probably do much better just walking down a few blocks to Huckleberry.

#LivingTheSlothLife

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Ah, thanks for the info.

Tartine is also near that area. Although I prefer Huckleberry.

Tried Bagel Nosh once a few yrs ago and was surprised by how much I liked the sloppy-but-tasty diner food.

Yes, indeed.

But I try to save my Tartine excursions for when I’m up in SF. I am a total weakling when it comes to their pumpkin tart.

Hi @paranoidgarliclover,

Thanks for the comparison and reminder. Even though it’s convenient, we’re just not in a hurry to try Tartine Santa Monica (I keep forgetting), after the mediocrity that was Tartine Manufactory (their LA flagship). Even trying it 3 or 4 times, it was never as good as Tartine OG (SF), and even Tartine SF had issues. :wink: I do love some items there and depending on the timing (when it comes out of the kitchen).

Good to know Huckleberry is better than the new SM location. Thanks!

I have to admit, I don’t love Tartine SM. Croissant was only okay, the bread loaf was genuinely weird (no supposedly artisanal loaf should stay THAT soft THAT long). Strange as it may sound, I think best thing I’ve had from there was the green goddess dressing (!). Partner really likes the chocolate cake there. I find it dry tasting (but not actually dry in texture, if that makes any sense).

I would much rather go to Republique than Tartine. :slight_smile:

Huckleberry is usually good but can sometimes miss (one potato flat bread I had there was fairly burned). Milo and Olive also has perfectly respectable pastries (the pepperoni on a recent pizza was pretty charred, though… :frowning: ).

Clark St recently opened a Brentwood location (near Soom Soom). The pastries are fine, but saffron and cardamom are not my fav flavors in a pastry. Sandwich and scones were tasty. Haven’t yet had just a plain loaf from there, though! They certainly look good.

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Hi @paranoidgarliclover,

Thanks for the tasting notes. :slight_smile: Yah, definitely, I’d rather go to Republique as well. :wink:

For bread loaves, I think Gjusta’s are still my favorite, but after that Clark Street makes a tasty one (better than the ones at Republique, and better than the ones I got at Tartine Manufactory. Thanks.

So I went today. They actually have an entire section of the (very lengthy) menu dedicated to sandwiches w/ the bread. And I agree, the bread is FANTASTIC.

Pastries are good but a bit unconventional. The pasticciotto is delightful. It feels quite dense, but the pastry is fairly light and tender, and it’s got a lovely almond custard. The brioche is quite odd. The brioche itself is surprisingly bread-y, and it actually does feel like you’re eating a sweet sandwich w/ a bit of cream filling. The first few bites were bizarre, texture-wise, but now I find myself kind of wanting to finish it off.

Partner’s juice (red beet, carrot, smith apple, lemon, ginger) was quite tasty.

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Odd, when I wen there was no such option. Even when we went back and asked for a sandwich with the Puccia, no dice.

Glad you enjoyed it, though.

Will have to try the pasticciotto, am a sucker for anything custardy, or custard-y.

I got the impression that they were still trying to get their sea legs under them, so I wouldn’t surprised if things continued to shift and change. As an aside, the filling of the sandwich, while nice, wasn’t anything spectacular. So the bread really is where it’s at (and maybe the pizza, which I def want to try in the future).

Brief updates:
My partner has gone in a few more times and talks to a “Valentina” (owner?) while there. The pasticciotto has improved to the point where I find it genuinely crave-worthy now (the custard is now lighter and a touch lemon-y; the pastry is thinner and more tender). The green in the sandwiches now has some sort of dressing (I think)… A good thing, b/c the sandwiches were a touch dry our first time around. Bread remains fantastic. We got a taste of their gelato (chocolate and coffee). Both were delicious, and I thought the coffee exceptional (and I’m not normally a superfan of coffee flavored things).

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Hi @paranoidgarliclover,

This sounds great. :slight_smile: Thanks for the update.

“Food is a pretty good prism through which to view humanity.”

― Jonathan Gold

Market stall in Lima
Credit: TXMX 2