Nueva is a vibrant new addition to the West LA dining scene, serving up killer modern Mexican food and cocktails. The contemporary cantina is located near Abbot Kinney on the border of Venice and Marina Del Ray. It was supposed to open April 2020, but the timing was delayed to ensure that the restaurant met COVID-19 standards. Nueva already had a good sized patio, but expanded that space into its parking lot to create a more spacious and socially distanced dining experience.
When entering Nueva, you’ll be welcomed into its shaded patio full of vibrant colors and plants. The floor is covered in dirt, which is a change up from what you traditionally expect at restaurants. I felt like I was dining in Tulum for vacation. Nueva’s second patio (the one that used to be the parking lot) is filled with palm trees, striped umbrellas, string lights, and brightly colored chairs. It had the perfect vibe for a weekend brunch.
Nueva’s menus were curated by chefs Vartan Abgaryan (who’s also the chef of Yours Truly on Abbot Kinney) and Mesraim Llanez (former chef of Guerrilla Tacos, Lucques, Everson Royce Bar, and Cliff’s Edge). Together they collaborated to create Californian fused Mexican dishes with small hints of Middle Eastern flavors. Nueva’s brunch menu features simple favorites like chilquiles and pancakes and is only offered on weekends from 10:30 AM. The daily dinner menu, though, showcases a bigger range from tacos to rib eye steak. It’s also worth noting that the former manager at the NoMad bar Adam Fournier put together the cocktails, several of which obviously feature mezcal and tequila.
My boyfriend and I came here for Sunday brunch. I was craving ceviche and ordered the Seafood Coctel which had shrimp, octopus, salsa roja, red onions, cucumbers, tomatoes, and avocados. It was very fresh and probably one of the best ceviches I’ve had. I was happy that they didn’t skimp on the shrimp and octopus. They ceviche was accompanied with crunchy tortilla chips, which I thought were baked in-house because they were so perfect. However I was surprised when the waiter told me they weren’t.
My boyfriend had the Carne Asada Quesadilla, a flour tortilla topped with thick cuts of carne asada, red peppers, carmelized onions, and queso oaxaca cheese. Being brunch, there was the unique option to add an egg for an additional $2. I never heard of egg on a quesadilla before. Due to the meat and sautéed vegetables, the quesadilla was juicier than usual quesadillas, and it added a lot of flavor. The quesadilla was delicious and is also recommended.
A Mexican brunch is not complete without a margarita! I had the strawberry margarita which was super refreshing and served in the cutest margarita glass with a cactus stem!
If you’re craving Mexican food, but want to change it a bit from the usual taquerias or taco trucks, and want a vibrant scene at the same time, Nueva is worth checking out.
Address: 822 Washington Blvd, Venice, CA 90292
Hours of Operation: Mon, Tue, Wed: 5-10 PM, Thur, Fri: 5-11 PM, Sat, Sun: 10:30 AM-10 PM
Parking: Valet for $12 and plenty of street parking available
- Nueva offers an option for contactless payment. On your receipt, you can scan a QR code to pay for your meal through your smartphone.
- The restaurants automatically adds a 18% gratuity fee to your bill
- They do not have bottomless mimosas for brunch but you can buy a bottle for $20
- Nueva is kid friendly, as they also have a kids menu for brunch and dinner!
If you’re looking to keep the fiesta going in Venice, head down Abbot Kinney to the De Buena Planta Pop Up for some more drinks.