Indulge in healthy eating at Santa Monica Restaurant Week

By Jennifer Pellerito

Chipotle-glazed carnitas tacos with persimmon salsa at El Cholo, the private balcony at Élephante Beach House, the persimmon salad at Esther’s Wine Shop & Bar, Massilia’s persimmon and kale salad, and persimmons for sale at the Santa Monica Famers’ Market

Stroll through the Santa Monica Farmers’ Market in winter and you’ll see bushels of persimmons at nearly every stand. The honey-sweet fruit offers anti-inflammatory compounds and is rich in vitamins A, B and C. With so many wellness benefits, persimmons are an inspiring ingredient for January, the month of renewed health and fitness goals.

But how many recipes do you know of that call for persimmons?

Local chefs, many of whom regularly source their produce from the market, were eager to take on the challenge of crafting innovative and surprising dishes with this nourishing fruit for the seventh annual Santa Monica Restaurant Week, sponsored by the Santa Monica Travel & Tourism board. From Jan. 7 to 13, more than 30 of the city’s top dining destinations are showcasing original dishes that feature the persimmon.
Here are just a few highlights to whet your appetite:

Instagram-Worthy Dining @ Élephante
Don’t miss the opportunity to savor the ‘nduja toast with stracciatella and persimmons at Élephante Beach House. The buzzing rooftop scene will have you opening up your phone to snap photo after photo of the surrounding seaside ambiance and the coastal Italian cuisine. Come before night falls to see spectacular sunset views.
1332 2nd St. | (424) 320-2384 |

To Europe and Back Again @ Massilia
Massilia partakes in the fun this year as one of Santa Monica’s newest hotspots, thanks to restaurateur Emmanuel Dossetti of Zinqué Cafe. European charm and romance radiates from French, Italian and Spanish influences at the new Marseille-inspired restaurant. The chef’s crunchy kale and persimmon salad features shaved fennel and toasted sunflower seeds tossed with a Comté and Jerez vinaigrette. Add on smoked salmon for irresistibly fresh texture.
1445 4th St. | (310) 319-1995 |

Tacos with a Twist @ El Cholo
The Santa Monica location of the Mexican restaurant beloved by Angelenos for generations joins Santa Monica Restaurant Week with chipotle-glazed carnitas tacos topped with persimmon salsa. Surprisingly sweet, the slow-roasted pork tastes nearly caramelized, thanks to chipotle seasoning at play with the mild persimmon salsa. Top it all off with fresh chips and guac alongside quite possibly the best classic margarita in town for a tasty experience.
1025 Wilshire Blvd. | (310) 899-1106 |

Wine All About It @ Esters
Be sure to stop by Esters Wine Shop & Bar during your Santa Monica Restaurant Week crawl, especially if you’re on a health kick. The arugula salad with persimmons, walnuts, manchego and champagne vinaigrette makes for a well-balanced, nourishing meal. Go ahead and imbibe with these greens. With a dish this healthy, it’s fair game to indulge a little — a glass of the Lambrusco Secco provides a gentle complement to the peppery arugula.
1314 7th St. | (310) 899-6900 |

For a complete list of Santa Monica Restaurant Week participants, visit