Blog | Matthew Kenney Opens "Raw" Restaurant and Cooking School at Santa Monica Place

If you're into organic vegetarian food, this "raw" restaurant might be perfect for you. Plus, there's a cooking school attached.

I’m always excited to hear about new restaurants coming to town, so when I received an invite to try M.A.K.E. at Santa Monica Place, I immediately jumped on board. 

I’m not a huge fan of vegetarian restaurants, and was a bit leery hearing the word “raw.” I thought I’d leave the restaurant hungry, viewing the tasting menu like more of an appetizer meal. Boy, was I wrong.

Ever tried raw food? Don’t wince. This isn’t your leafy, tasteless stuff that sometimes graces the menus around town. This plant-based organic restaurant offers food that is simply good, healthy, and unique.

Named after Matthew Kenney, a raw food chef, restaurateur, educator and author, this eclectic restaurant is a perfect symbiosis of the hip and groovy Santa Monica.

All the foods are unprocessed, untreated, and cooked below 105 degrees to preserve the integrity of the ingredients, utilizing the bounty of staples available Santa Monica’s Farmer’s Market.

Walking in, you’re greeted with an open setting, lots of glass, industrial ceilings, and a convivial atmosphere. It’s not stuffy, but fun, and there’s even a cooking school on the premises!

This is Kenney’s second culinary school, known Matthew Kenney Culinary, providing professional chefs, students, and enthusiasts the chance to hone their skills in organic, Raw and living food preparation using Southern California’s freshest ingredients.

“Our personalized instruction and hands-on integration emphasize the use of whole, organic, unprocessed, plant-based foods to achieve healthy, aesthetically refined, and flavorful cuisine,” Kenney says. “Santa Monica provides an incredible backdrop for chefs to supplement their education at Matthew Kenney Culinary. Students will find daily inspiration beyond the school throughout the entire surrounding area.”

And the restaurant speaks for itself. 

Although there are several non-alcoholic beverages available, most of us were eager to try one of their many wine-infused cocktails. How about a Kale Cooler ($11) with cucumber, pear, white wine, lime and of course, kale?

A rainbow of starters and main courses graced the table, with big hoorays going to two of my favorites. First was their Market Tomato Lasagna ($16) with zucchini, macadamia, Santa Barbara pistachio and basil. I don’t usually order lasagna in restaurants, as I want to avoid that carbo-glut, but this was a streamlined veggie version, and easily large enough to share.

I also loved their Kimchi Dumpling ($11) with sesame foam and coriander. What a nice kick with this one! My taste buds truly did somersaults.

I was going to bypass dessert, but I’m glad I didn’t. They all made my tongue genuflect with their originality, utilizing a variety of herbs into their recipes.

On the lighter side, check out their Market Strawberries, ($9) with carrot, lemon kefir sherbet and blood orange.  No mortal sin with this one. 

Then there’s an Apple Pie ($9) with rosemary, cranberry, and a cashew cream cheese sorbet? Have you made your reservations yet? 

If you still need some convincing, then try their Honey Almond Semifreddo, with Concord grape, thyme and pollen ($8). I also loved their Chocolate Walnut Cake, with licorice pear, fennel and sassafras ($9). Who cares if the caffeine keeps me up at night?

It’s easy to indulge at this restaurant, but you won’t feel full and groggy afterwards.  Gluttony without guilt? I’m there.

I’m sure this place will be busy.



395 Santa Monica Pl

# 333

Santa Monica, CA 90401

 (310) 394-7046

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mimi October 21, 2012 at 05:38 PM
I'm happy to have a gourmet vegetarian restaurant at Santa Monica Place. I will support it. I hope others will, too. The track record for restaurant longevity in that location has not been a good one. My fingers are crossed for this restaurant to break the curse.
Mary McGrath October 21, 2012 at 09:16 PM
Hope it does well. It was a charming experience...


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