• raw appetizers keep me going

    May 26th, 2008quarrygirljuliano's raw, LA restaurants

    in the midst of a los angeles heat wave, and a very inconvenient power outage on my block, i found myself in santa monica trying to pass the time and keep cool. i had dinner plans in the area at 8:30, but had to head out much earlier, because sitting around in a sweltering house just wasn’t cutting it for me. i started drinking at around noon, and at around 3pm, the alcohol and heat started to get the best of me. i knew i needed a light snack to hold me over until dinner, so i grabbed my trusty blackberry and searched for the nearest vegan spot. it lead me to the doorstep of juliano’s raw.

    spring rolls: pasta, shredded veggies & thai herbs wrapped in a scrumptious coconut curry wrapper served with a no-peanut thai sauce $8.31

    greenomole & chips: best guac ever, groovin’ salsa & flax cracks $6.47

    now, i’d read good things about juliano’s raw before…and i gotta say, it really hit the spot. don’t get me wrong, the portions were tiny, the service was slow, and it was overpriced—but on a scorching hot day, it was exactly the light, fresh, tasty food i needed.

    i’d never been to a raw restaurant before, so i was met with a completely new and unique variety of tastes and textures. my favorite discovery was the flaxseed crackers. these were awesome…so much better than the fried tortilla chips i’m accustomed to.

    they were great with the cool guac, flavorful salsa, and amazing sour cream substitute. i would definitely order this dish again, although it’s like twice the price of normal guacamole. hmmm. wonder what makes juliano think this stuff is so bloody special.

    also delicious, the modest plate of spring rolls was gone in like 2 seconds! it’s unfortunate because they were so beautifully displayed, with colorful shreds of vegetables and seedy sprinkles. i almost wish i wasn’t so hungry, so i could have looked at them a little longer. (luckily, i had my camera!)

    juliano’s atmosphere was pleasant, airy, and very santa monica. fortunately, i’m a freak and prefer to sit indoors while everyone else is crowed outside, so i got a pretty nice table with a lovely view of the cute restaurant.

    and i’m pretty sure i even saw juliano himself sitting at the bar working away on his macbook!

    while i don’t think i’ll be rushing back to juliano’s constantly to try everything on the menu, pure luck style, i definitely hope to return in the future. it was great for a change, and with the summer stretching out ahead, i predict i will have a craving for raw meals on occasion. if only it offered reasonably priced food and snappy service, i’d probably visit juliano’s A LOT more often.

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7 responses to “raw appetizers keep me going” RSS icon

  • Those spring rolls look utterly gorgeous! I must try this place one of these days.

  • I’m very happy that you enjoyed Juliano’s! The spring rolls seem to have similar components to the curry entree I had during my first visit (thank you for linking to my site in this entry, by the way). I just wish, like you, that the prices were reasonable and the service satisfactory (the hostesses are usually wonderful, though).

  • miss anthrope

    vegyogini: of course i linked to you! you are where i found out about juliano’s initially. i really thought the food was great. maybe they will improve those lacking areas someday 🙂

  • I know this is old, but I had to pop in to say this is still one of my favorite spots in L.A. They do seem to employ an excessive number of hip and lovely young things with an apres-yoga vibe instead of a professional waitstaff. The service has definitely been inattentive on some visits, but on other occasions I’ve been lucky and had a pro server. So I’ve seen small improvements in service over time.

    As for the prices, this is certainly relative considering the type of food and the labor that goes into preparing it. Any time my husband and I can have a romantic dinner, stuff ourselves like kings, ooh and aah over each bite at around $60 for two including tax and tip, it’s a bargain to us.

    We eat raw quite often, both at home and while we’re out, and I assure you that this is some of the best food around, raw, cooked, vegan or omni. It’s fresh, flavorful, exciting, exquisite, gourmet, refreshing, interesting, filling, fabulous.

    We like the nori rolls, the jalapeno poppers, the burger, the pastas, the nachos, and whatever the special is. Some of the desserts are exceptional, and better than their cooked or dairy-based counterparts at other restaurants.

  • Let me preface this by saying I LOVE raw foods. I eat about 80% raw vegan in my real life by choice. Therefore ,I was really dissappointed with Juliano’s the last 2 times I ate there .
    I had a friend visiting from out of town this past weekend and we decided to eat raw . We took a table outside at “Planet Raw”(as it is now called ) as the weather was glorious .We waited and waited for our really slow server to arrive ,who said she would be right out. Fifteen to twenty minutes later she arrived.The place was empty !.First mistake .
    We ordered 3 appetizers to start.We were really hungry- Our next mistake .
    The zucchini fries , tortellinis and the TWO nut pate’s the size of big quarters, arrived looking rather meager .
    Half to 3/4 of the plates consisted of mustard and ketchup sauces which were served in mass quantities and were interchangeable.We left most of the “sauce” on the plates .
    There were no distinct flavors to any of these appetizers.If I hadn’t read that we were eating zucchini , I would not have guessed the vegetable.
    We were hesitant to order any more lousy food.
    We settled on one entree which was reccommended by the (same) server ..a “medicinal”salad.
    No medicine here !
    The salad arrived doused in dressing (again.Notice a trend?:)) .We could barely tell that we were eating avocados as they were so drenched in the salty, over powering, “dressing”
    We couldn’t eat it.
    Thankfully, the waitress took this off the bill.
    We spent 40 dollars on 3 tiny hor d’oervres and an equally tiny glass of red wine.
    We were ready to eat and headed to “Golden Mean ” up the street..lol.
    I had some raw falafels ( with a different sauce !);) from Juliana’s at the Farmers Market on a recent Sunday in Santa Monica which were pretty tasty .
    Most of their food however is bland and tastes the same,with the same sauces .
    I am glad you had a good meal there QG but on the whole the food is really inconsistent. I have eaten well there in the past but I fear this may be over .
    I won’t be wasting my money here any time soon.

  • I find this place very hit or miss with the service, but usually a miss (we have had some really bad experiences with the service there). Luckily for them, the food is so damn good we do go back every once in a while (as our wallets allow for dropping waaaaayyyy too much money on a meal!).

    Just be aware that they do use honey in all of their desserts, smoothies and shakes, as well as the kale chips appetizer. Some smoothies and shakes can be made with agave instead.

    As for what makes Juliano think his guac is so special – I just chalk it up to the level of pretentiousness of that place. If you’ve ever seen him and Ariel in action there you’d know what I mean. Really makes you roll your eyes and gag. 😉

  • Douglas Novack

    I like Juliano’s and I don’t know why. Every time I go there I say to myself I am never coming back but something keeps dragging me back there. The food is small portions and very pricey, the service is arrogant and pretentious and the food is a hit and miss, depends who is preparing it. If you are lucky, you can see Juliano prance through the restaurant trying to look like a celebrity….

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