Venice is home to some of the best culinary destinations in the city-- Gjelina, Gjusta, The Rose, Scopa, to name a few. But though it's stacked with fast-casual joints and ultra-hip, crowded, upscale restaurants, it still had a major hole in its culinary scene; namely, a casual-chic spot to grab a low-key dinner and drinks with friends. Which is where Neighbor comes in. The neighborhood hangout is helmed by Venice locals and offers a focused, seasonal menu in addition to a slew of creative cocktails, providing the area with a desperately-needed cocktail bar. It definitely solves the problem of where to eat or grab cocktails on Abbot Kinney. Neighbor's design is modern and airy, with comfortable, plush lounges and long wooden communal tables that are perfect for big group celebrations. And of course, try to get a table on the back patio, the beautiful outdoor space that Venice needed.
For drinks, I ordered The Girl Next Door, a refreshing gin cocktail with blackberries, lemon, and honey. It was light, a bit minty, and a fun libation to enjoy while sitting outside. Fall may be here, but this cocktail will make it feel like Summer all year round.
To start, I ordered the Heirloom Tomato dish, a fresh appetizer with fennel, celery, and white balsamic. It was a lovely, light way to start, and the veggie-focused preparation will definitely appeal to Venice locals.
Next up was the Hamachi Sashimi, which was buttery and sliced on the thicker side accompanied by shaved daikon, avocado, and roe. Another bright bite, the sashimi was really flavorful and balanced well. A great appetizer!
My favorite dish of the night was undoubtedly the Diver Scallops, which were seared to perfection and came with a really tasty sweet yellow corn. The leek and chili were nice additions as well. Simple, well-prepared, and flavorful.
Though I'm not one to frequently order chicken, their Mary's Chicken was a tender yet flavorful take on the classic. I loved the blistered tomato, persian cucumber, and crispy kale, which added some very California-inspired flavors. I would definitely order it again.
Finally, I finished up with the Local Stone Fruit, which were grilled, topped with almond cream and some sort of crumble. It was the perfect summer dessert-- light, fruity, not too sweet, a bit creamy, and a bit crunchy. The dish hit the spot without feeling overly indulgent.
Overall, my dinner at Neighbor was really fun. All the food was quite tasty, the drinks were refreshing, and the atmosphere was exactly what Venice needs-- a laid-back yet still chic spot to enjoy a nice (but not overly pricey) dinner with a group. They're also open for brunch and happy hour, so I definitely intend to return for both!