Imagine the food child of a too cool for school Californian beach dude and a portly, Italian Nonna dressed in black and you’d call it Santa Monica Pizza & Burger Bar.
Taking over an unloved corner on the high end of Brisbane’s Ann Street, Santa Monica oozes fun beach vibes and Italian aromas to a noisy crowd. They have to be noisy because the open plan restaurant is surrounded by busy city streets, but that only adds to the buzz here.
There’s plenty of Italian love in the Santa Monica Pizza & Burger Bar, and the menu has a selection of pizza and pasta covering all the favourites. Order the Primavera and you’ll find it comes scattered with an ample amount of prosciutto and a Napoletana sauce handles gooey mozzarella oh so well.
The burgers take their lead from the Californian heritage and include everything from crispy chicken to everyone’s favourite pulled pork. We’ll forgive them for having a shrimp instead of prawn baguette because this is a slice of the good old US of A.
If you are dining with friends or people you are comfortable sharing with, obviously not always the same thing, the share tower offers a combo taste of just about everything on the menu. It costs $250 but serves six to eight hungry people and saves dividing up the bill at the end.
Dessert town is a happy place filled with a classic threesome. Your choice is between a light chocolate brownie with Nutella sauce, homemade cannoli filled with ricotta (obviously don’t tell your Nonna if they are better than her’s) and a totally authentic banana split.
Check out Santa Monica for breakfast and you’ll find your favourite smashed avo along with simple, but glammed up, toast and jam plus a range of protein fixes that will keep you going all day. This includes Italian baked eggs in Napoletana sauce and topped with melted mozzarella plus a smoked salmon option that includes poached eggs and avo.
If you dare, you can add potato rostis to any dish.
If you need it, espresso martinis are available after 10 am.
Santa Monica, Central Building, 192 Ann St, Brisbane City
Ed+bK rating: 3.5 stars. Great for a casual Friday night with friends.
Bottom line: Burgers $11 -$18, pizzas $17 to $24, desserts $12 - $16.
Best tip: Monday to Friday only, so don’t turn up here on the weekend.