Fairmont Hotel & Bungalows
101 Wilshire Boulevard
Santa Monica, CA
By Grace Hiney
When entering FIG Restaurant you go by the busy bar to wherever your table is located. Ours was overlooking the beautiful pool. But wherever you are, the restaurant is filled with voices, meaning that the place is busy, as it is now in its 10th year.
Our marble topped table was nicely set up for our dinner and both our waitress and the other helpers looked after us throughout our meal. The menu lists a number of cocktails, beers and wines. My choice was the Burgundy Chardonnay while my friend Barbara very much enjoyed the Lancaster from Alexander Valley in Sonoma.
The extensive menu includes snacks and appetizers, salads, wood oven-roasted vegetables, more than a dozen entrees, and even winter black truffle dishes, along with cheese and charcuterie.
For a starter we shared the omega blue Baja Kanpachi with its citrus, basil and spicy pickled Fresno chile ($19). We were also treated to the Kaluga caviar chips and dips composed of a Crème Fraiche onion dip with delectable tiny potato chips ($38). Our salad selection was the Garcia Farm’s citrus and avocado salad with chicories, and Santa Barbara pistachios all in a tasty citrus vinaigrette ($16).
My entrée selection was the dungeness crab Spaghetti alla Chitarra, with squid ink, Calabrian chiles, the aromatic herb Chervil and preserved lemon crumbs all for $39. It was very tasty and a generous enough serving to take some home for lunch the next day.
Mary’s chicken was my friend’s choice and I must say, it was excellent. The chicken itself was delicious and beautifully cooked. Flageolet beans, pearl onions, broccoli and fennel-garlic bread crumbs gave the entire plate a delightful flavor. All for $36.
Other selections varied from braised short rib ($46), to an Aspen Ridge prime porterhouse ($59), to Liberty Farm’s duck breast ($42), to Branzino fish ($40), a Flannery bone-in NY Strip ($56), or a cauliflower risotto with preserved Meyer lemons ($26). In other words, there is something for every appetite. Meat, fish or just vegetables.
Our shared dessert was also excellent and filled with flavor. This was a passion fruit meringue with a delicious coconut custard that was gobbled up to the last flavorful bite.
While chatting and sipping coffee I had a good look above us at all of the over-hanging plants decorating the ceiling. No wonder this restaurant is busy throughout the day and evening, Breakfast is served daily from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. and lunch is Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Brunch on Friday, Saturday and Sunday is from 11 a.m.to 2:30 p.m. Dinner is daily from 5 to 10 p.m. And, there are Happy Hours from 5 to 6 p.m. when a number of offerings are one-half off. That is a very good deal!